Procurement’s success depends heavily on its ability to engage with its stakeholders. To understand how much you really know about your stakeholders, we recommended you go out and ask your suppliers, sponsors and internal business users what their view of the procurement function is. Almost always the responses are quite different than expected.
A client from a UK financial services company told us that after running an internal research exercise, their organisation fed back to them that they view procurement as an inconvenient and possibly unnecessary step in the process of securing the goods or services required. After receiving such an answer there are two things you can do – develop a better direction and improve communications.
The degree to which engagement with stakeholders is successful is based on two things:
Stakeholders need to hear a message from procurement that is clear and consistent. Thinking and talking about value will open other possibilities for reducing costs as well as providing other advantages such as quality improvement, increased cash flow and risk reduction.
Having a strong procurement ‘brand’ inside your organisation can help with the long-term perception from the stakeholders and from the rest of the users inside the company. The important behavior here is having a growth mindset. This will ultimately lead to achieving greater goals.
We always advise our clients to try and spend more time communicating with the stakeholders in their environment. The best-in-class procurement leaders we work with try to include stakeholders with supplier visits and are well versed in displaying a high amount of empathy. The empathy allows them to understand what makes their stakeholders tick and this helps them to provide real value to them, more than just cutting costs.
When implementing a purchase to pay solution, it is important to keep all the significant parties involved. And that, of course, includes the stakeholders. When used properly, these types of tools can provide an excellent base for business transformation and ongoing improvements. But only if users and suppliers use it properly and continuously.
Many of our purchase to pay implementation consultants witness a variety of customer behaviors. Usually the project team’s focus is on realising the business case and delivering the most ‘economical’ solution. Once the project has gone live, the project teams is often re-assigned to the next digital transformation project, leaving the new P2P solution in the hands of the ‘business as usual’ team to continue to drive the transformation piece.
Sadly, with the implementation team goes all the knowledge of the new solution as well as the creative and innovative side that is needed in order to continue realising the value of the platform.
Change is hard and it requires constant care and when working with different types of people and platforms things can get stuck or become uncertain.
Without positive engagement that comes from above and without the positive implication from the senior stakeholders, the purchase to pay implementation project can turn up to be a failure. A change program without a mandated business case, is just some objectives and tasks which will never take off. Change needs to come from the very top and it needs to be accepted and embraced by everyone from the CEO to the intern.
Finding out as much as you can about the stakeholders’ requirements, objectives and strategy is one of the most important and helpful tasks during a purchase to pay implementation project. By having an ability to understand stakeholder needs, a procurement function will be able to put together a plan that delivers for the business as a whole and it will also be able to evolve as situations and arrangements change.
Get in touch with one of our purchase to pay implementation consultants and find out more on this topic!
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