Procurement Ponderable response
Last month’s Procurement Ponderable described a local government, XYZ Urban County, with a “long-standing and well-deserved reputation for corruption and poor business practices.” It challenged readers to imagine they had been brought in to implement a world-class procurement program and to explain how they would proceed. Here is a response from Steve Demel, CPPO, Purchasing, Contracts and Warehouse Manager, Tacoma (Wash.) School District:
Why take on this challenge? Because you are not ready to “settle” and are always looking for new challenges.
What is your time frame for institutionalizing a world-class procurement program? We are talking about a total cultural change for XYZ; therefore, three to five years.
What are the principal elements of your strategy for creating, implementing, and institutionalizing the world class program? Here are seven steps to success:
People are the most important elements for success. Lead change. [Evaluate the people (stakeholders) you have on your team. Identify who will buy-in, who will stand on the side-lines, and who will resist. Get rid of resisters (convert them or marginalize them). Promote teamwork and an environment that encourages constructive risk taking. Provide ethics training and make it clear there will be zero tolerance for unethical conduct. Promote and encourage professional development, especially to help staff learn the skills that will be needed to become a world-class program. Make professional certification a factor in job advancement and salary.]
Do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis relative to where the organization has been and where it needs to go in the future. Use it.
Map existing processes and measure current outcomes.
Fix the simplest processes first and build on success.
Always measure what happens after changes are implemented and tweak processes as needed and re-measure.
Inform your senior leadership as you progress. Keeping them informed is a good way to get support for the new direction.
Celebrate successes along the way, but go back to 1. (People) and keep repeating the steps until you are ready for another challenge.
For another response, see “Welcome aboard … Now hear this“.
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