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Do you have the right tools to enable creativity?

By  Ginny Warr, Head of Procurement – British Land  on  16 Sep 2020

Rosslyn Blog

Is Procurement a Science or an Art?  It is commonly felt that Procurement is a blend of art and science, combining business, category, and supply expertise with leading technology, data analytics, and associated value-based decision support.

With a wealth of powerful procurement analytics tools at our disposal there is no time like the present for procurement leaders to ask, does my toolkit give me enough data and insights to free up more time to be creative? 

So, let’s unpick the practicalities of this approach which start with the simple question of, do I have the fundamental building blocks in place to support a creative approach. 

In an ideal world, you will need a suite of tools to manage the cradle to grave procurement journey to include:-

  • Onboarding suppliers and managing their data
  • Tender analysis
  • Supplier performance management
  • Risk monitoring
  • Spend analytic
  • Procure to pay transactions

Once you have these tools in place and working reliably, you will then be able to find time to be creative with your approaches and thus driving different and innovative outcomes and creating new opportunities.

Voilet

SHARING IDEAS TO ENABLE CREATIVITY

Follow Ginny’s lead at British Land, for handy hints, tips and tricks on:

  • Taking your spend visibility to the next level
  • Engaging the wider business
  • Supply chain resilience
Download Now

For some procurement teams, this is not an obvious evolution, with many lacking the creative skills and experience to see the art of procurement. However, for those that embark on this creative approach, the rewards can far outweigh the ever-diminishing savings that you may have been chasing for years.

The start of this journey to creative procurement starts with the move from reactive responses to proactive proposals by taking time to step back.  You need to rearticulate the value-added services that you and your team can offer. The best and most powerful way to do this is to create and showcase success stories relating to how Procurement has influenced change in the business and the associated benefits. 

When I think about some of my career stories, they are often simple

Why are we making that widget when others can do it more cost-effectively and quicker than us?  It’s their core business.

Why don’t we put together a joint procurement team with a competitor on a non-competitive category to create even greater scale leverage?

Why don’t we agree on some standard design guidelines for our building materials to enable us to reuse surplus materials on other jobs?

The ability of the team to see things differently and turn a standard cost reduction tender into something more creative is far more rewarding for all parties.  Often this approach will also lead you to discover that there is a new set of suppliers that years of traditional sourcing has overlooked and to be frank missed out on. Allowing suppliers to be more creative bringing their ideas and then being brave enough to trial new ideas can reap great returns.

“If you want to have a seat at the board and attract the best talent you need to be able to share an exciting vision of being an agent of business transformation and change and not governance and policing function.”

Sorry to be boring but the reality is that if you want to be a valuable source of creative thinking you need to get the basics right first.  Invest and sort out your toolkit to deliver a reliable source of data and knowledge to support your creative exploration.   Without good quality insights, your team will continue to be the engine room and production line of data and procurement analytics.  This is useful but not valuable and can be done much more efficiently by tried and tested technology solutions. 

Very few Procurement professionals like to be referred to as the ‘Procurement Police’ so by taking a more creative approach we can change that perception and start to generate sustainable value through creative innovative procurement.

Ginny Warr 
Head of Procurement – British Land

Voilet

SHARING IDEAS TO ENABLE CREATIVITY

Follow Ginny’s lead at British Land, for handy hints, tips and tricks on:

  • Taking your spend visibility to the next level
  • Engaging the wider business
  • Supply chain resilience
Download Now