But how can we realise this without the right building blocks? You wouldn’t build a house without foundations for fear of collapse, so why would you build up a procurement strategy without a robust set of policies and procedures?
For success in business, we can’t go around with our fingers in our ears pretending that all is well because we have something in place. This ‘tick in the box’ attitude will never reap the rewards of success.
As stated earlier, the foundations need to be robust and well communicated – they should not just be dusted off at times of audit or business change.
Although it may seem a monotonous task to some, it really is important. So here are a few steps to keep your roof above your head and not on the floor:
1. Have a matrix detailing all of the procurement policies, and so on, and how they inter-relate
2. Make sure each policy has an owner
3. Use version control so that you can track changes
4. Store them in a secure location and make sure they are published so everyone is clear of what they need to comply with
5. Review them regularly, ensuring that they continue to support both procurement and the business
6. Provide a simple summary of each so they can be quickly and clearly understood
7. Communication is key. Make sure that your message is understood: compliance will not happen as a result of just having documents in place.
Tools of the trade
Picture the scene: you’ve been at work all day, you’re tired and hungry and you have to do the dreaded supermarket run for a few items.
The shop is busy and the checkouts full. So what do you do? Most people will dash straight to the self-service checkout, perceiving that this is the quickest option to get through the checkout, out of the door and home. Others will choose this option as they enjoy helping themselves.
At a recent visit, I experienced this first hand and it made me think about the work that my team and I are currently in the process of rolling out. Appreciating the importance of providing people with the tools, training and guidance required to ‘buy right’ and having felt the pain of endless queries, desk visits and emails, we kicked off a plan of activities with the business.
This included a re-launch of the intranet content (frequently asked questions and screen shot guidance), classroom training, e-training, a review of procurement policy and procedure and a communications’ plan, to name a few.
By giving people the tools to be able to carry out their job, and a point of reference so that they can self-serve, it is hoped that not only will we see a reduction in the amount of time spent dealing with queries, but also we will see an improvement in our brand image and a reduction in non-compliant procurement activities.
☛ Nicola Bromby is head of procurement, e-enablement at Heathrow Airport