“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it's less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you've lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that's good.” – Elizabeth Edwards
When I was a kid, we never said the word resilience, but we did use the word tough. Being tough is just what we need right now; toughness is our ability to spring back, even when the world around us crumbles (think COVID-19). Our resiliency grows every time we flex – just like a muscle in our body. Developing a resilient procurement team likely means you are “starting over” – or creating a fresh start in some areas of your procurement ecosystem. If you’re feeling stuck or unsure where to start, you aren’t alone. Below are five ways that Procurement can help improve business resiliency:
Pivot Your Sourcing Projects
In a recent poll during a webinar, the top three priorities for companies over the next 3-6 months included: immediate cost savings, spend visibility and securing PPE supply. This is likely different than what your Procurement strategy had in store for 2020. The survival of your company might depend on your ability to pivot a project, a supplier or a cost savings approach. Aim to become more agile and flexible when responding to new business demands. For example, one of our grocery store clients recently pivoted sourcing projects to securing personal protective equipment (PPE), so they could keep the stores open while ensuring employee and customer safety. As a result of this successful project pivot, sales grew by 43%, and they outperformed their competitors by 12%. If you are being asked to source new categories and are unsure where to start, check out our SME series on YouTube.
Revisit Your Points of Purpose
Your strategy is rooted in your points of purpose for Procurement, which likely changed as the demands of your business have evolved. Jonathan Gardner, former CPO of Albertsons and Starbucks Procurement Executive, recently talked about this concept of points of purpose on a webinar with WNS-Denali and Xeeva. To redefine these points, ask yourself what problem you’re trying to solve right now. For example, is your point of purpose to reduce costs and improve margins? Or, is your point to assure certainty of supply? Bouncing back from hard times requires everyone to stay aligned with a shared mission and these points of purpose light the way.
Focus on Process Excellence
In our latest benchmark study, we found that 83% of CPOS prioritize digitalization as a key objective. Yet, only 28% of those CPOs are seeing great adoption and positive ROI from their investments. If you are speeding up your technology implementations, make sure you improve your processes first to ensure high adoption of any solutions. Technology is only as good as the processes it enables, and most complex business problems are best tackled with simplicity in mind.
Find Common Business Constraints
Albert Einstein inspired us to consider that, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you want to become more resilient, step back and look at what keeps tripping you up. Ask your team and stakeholders about the constraints they frequently encounter. Then collaborate with the right people to address the constraints, create new processes and develop an effective change management strategy. Alpar Kamber walks you through this concept of overcoming constraints in his procurement pro-tip video.
Celebrate the Wins
To keep everyone motivated during hard times, it’s important to celebrate the accomplishments. From the pivots and shifting strategies to the changing processes. Consider sharing monthly updates through an email or video message that highlights big wins, new milestones and future plans to keep everyone aligned and excited.
The resilience of your team is what enables you to recover quickly from difficulties. Now is the time to dig deep within yourself and the company – look at everything you’ve had to overcome just within the past few months alone. Keep flexing this muscle of resiliency and solving problems that improve your procurement ecosystem.
How is your team flexing the muscle of resiliency? I’d love to hear what has changed for you and how you’re making the most of this “next normal” for all of us.
Greg Anderson is Senior Vice President of Sales in North America at WNS-Denali. He is a proven expert in Supply Chain and Procurement Managed Services and Technology solutions. Greg has over two decades of cross-industry sales and marketing leadership experience. Prior to WNS, Greg held leadership positions at Ivalua, Pensiamo, Directworks, Tenzing Consulting, SmartOps, Ariba, FreeMarkets, GE, and PPG.