When I joined my first Procurement department in the big international company I was shocked. There were so many routines, policies and procedures for making my job right. There were literally dozens of documents with more than 100 pages to read and understand. I had a difficult time during the first meetings to understand the meaning of the KPI’s, abbreviations, tools and processes…
“It was not a disaster… It was a great learning!”
But after few months of being rookie and learning from more experienced colleagues – I have learned a lot. And I really felt more and more confident on those meetings, with those KPI’s. Moreover I even started explaining the procedures and routines to my fellow colleagues (because apparently I was the only one who read them)!
My confidence level was above the roof until… I had my first meeting with supplier. I was blown away and that time I understood that I am only a beginner. Was it a disaster? No, it was the great learning! This price discussion with supplier gave me a new motivation to develop negotiation skills, fast analytical skills and understanding my products better.
Same things happened to the Procurement departments where I was working. We were constantly improving ourselves in order to adapt to new reality on the market, to execute new approaches and practices, to implement modern ERP systems and electronic quotation systems… Each of these changes required new mind-set for individuals and new ways of working for the teams and organizations.
I remember when we introduced the e-Sourcing using IBX as the software provider we were almost collapsed. Our 3 big quotation processes were failed because the system constantly had some bugs and errors. So instead of improved and smooth electronic quotation system we ended with huge overwork and manual analysis of hundreds of Excel sheets. Was it a disaster? No, it was the great learning!
After these first quotations we have improved the systems together with IBX, fixed all the errors and made the education for all Procurement colleagues. And we became the first company in our industry to run such online quotations. That became our competitive advantage!
Constant improvement is a mindset, not a process
The best Procurement practices require constant improvements. You should always go out from your comfort zone. Both as an individual, and as an Organization! And these improvements will be very difficult in the beginning. So next time you will fail in something – remember it is not a disaster! It is another great learning!
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Article by Robert Freeman
Procurement expert at Future Procurement
You can learn more about Procurement and Supply Chain Management at our web-site www.futureprocurement.net