East Coast Forum 2016: The search for agility

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All procurement chiefs, and indeed all business chiefs, want to make their teams more agile. They want to be faster, better and stronger. However, that journey is fraught with challenges that have to be overcome if the function wants to be able to adapt to opportunities and risks as they emerge.


Attendees at a roundtable discussion entitled ‘redesigning procurement for agility’ debated this at length and came to some very interesting conclusions about how the function can get to where it wants to go and also how it can overcome those hurdles along the way.


One of the most important factors, they said, was understanding the environment of both your company and your team. Here you need to understand the structure in which your team works best and as well as the culture that prevails in your team whether they are based centrally or are based out of offices elsewhere in the world. If you can understand that then you will have a much better run at implementing agile practices and making the stick.


The second factor was having the right talent within the team and putting them in the right positions. There was, attendees said, a need to identify the skills that existed within a team and make sure they were positioned in the right roles across the team. There was no point in having people who were good at tactical buying in more strategic positions where a different skill set is needed. That will only act as a block on agility.


The third factor was implement the right systems in place and analysing the right data. The right systems depend once again on the culture of the business while the right analytics depends on the shape and size of the supply chain as well as where the businesses priorities lie in terms of reducing risk, increasing speed or improving product quality.


All attendees agreed that the function had to become more agile if it wanted to keep up with the fast-paced nature of business today and deliver the value and savings that is required of it. Identify these factors and implement them and you’ll be on the path to agility.


Though it was one of several hot topics under discussion over the course of the event, it stood out to me as an area where teams with the right approach could progress quickly.


To find out more about the East Coast Forum click here.


This article is a piece of independent writing by a member of Procurement Leaders’ content team.


Tim Burt
Posted by Tim Burt

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