Welcome back to another installment of Whitepaper Wednesday here on the Purchasing Certification Blog. This week, I’ll be discussing a whitepaper entitled “Separating A Procurement Department Into Tactical & Strategic Teams: Is It Right For Your Organization?” from Next Level Purchasing.
If I’ve heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times over my nearly two decades in procurement: “We can’t get things done! We have an insanely busy procurement department!”
Historically, this has always been an excuse for ineptitude. Lately, however, I have a little sympathy. Not a lot. Just a little.
Because the recent recession has decimated the employment bases of many companies. Heck, the US has been hovering around 10% unemployment for quite some time. And, if you’ve been watching the stock market, you know that the economy is starting to thaw and companies are getting busier.
But they aren’t hiring. Which places an ever-increasing workload on those who survived the too-deep cuts of the past two years.
Yet, understaffing is not an excuse for not being able to accomplish anything strategic if your procurement department is not structured optimally. One of the alternatives for restructuring a procurement department is to separate it into two teams: a tactical team and a strategic team.
You see, one of the reasons why procurement departments do not accomplish much strategically is that their top people are pulled into tactical crises. While that may be necessary once in a while, it is certainly not the way to go over the long haul.
Many procurement departments that do make continual strategic improvements do so because they let a tactical team handle the tactical duties (even the major ones) and dedicate a strategic team to only strategic projects. This approach doesn’t work for every organization. And there are ways to make this structure work and make this structure fail.
The whitepaper assails some of these common mistakes that procurement departments make when adopting this structure. It says: “[D]on’t think in terms of strategic being important and tactical being unimportant. Think in terms of strategic being long-term and tactical being short-term. And don’t commit the common organizational error of having your top talent devoted to strategic procurement and your bottom-feeders devoted to tactical procurement. “
It also goes into some detail regarding rotational programs to keep your top talent from getting displeased with a tactical assignment.
If you are a procurement leader who is struggling to get anything strategic accomplished, this whitepaper is for you. You can download it from the Next Level Purchasing Web site (registration required).
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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