A Checklist for New Procurement Managers


By Jeremy Kirsten

I put together this checklist for procurement managers starting a new position based on some pointers I shared with a LinkedIn colleague.

As a procurement professional, there are a few fundamentals that I endeavor to stick to from the beginning of any job.

Here are my 8 tips to help get you started off right:

  1. Get to know your stakeholders

Having stakeholder buy-in is critical because without it, trying to carry projects or initiatives to a meaningful resolution can become very frustrating. While many stakeholders may be aware of your new position, some may fear that you may be encroaching on their territory while others have simply not been told in any great amount of detail just what it is that you do. After a bit of a “hard sell,” they will begin to see you can help them attain their objectives and they will become more open as a result.

  1. Stay out of office politics

It is my experience from everywhere I have worked that there are always office politics in any business, regardless of whether they’re state-owned or private. I try and be as neutral as possible on this score because, by taking sides, there is a potential risk you’ll alienate yourself from stakeholders. Procurement is a change-centric profession, and as such, it impacts all areas of the business. Therefore, when I say politics, I am not referring to networking or engaging with stakeholders. These activities must take place so that you are totally in sync with your stakeholders and, by extension, the business when it comes to understanding specific needs and wants.

  1. Develop a category plan that aligns with your stakeholders’ needs

In my opinion, major sourcing events should not take place when they clash with seasonal peaks or major maintenance, for example, since some of the stakeholders will need to be involved in the sourcing event. It is prudent to reduce the level of interference in any customer time-sensitive projects.

  1. Say what you mean and mean what you say

Experience has shown me that when we do not deliver on projects when we’ve said we will, we run the risk of alienating ourselves from our stakeholders. This is not something we want.

  1. Insist on crystal clear KPIsand performance deliverables

Clear objectives ensure both you and your manager are on the same page. There is an old saying: “If you don’t aim at anything, you won’t hit anything”. The added benefit of clear key performance indicators is that when it comes to showing or demonstrating your value to the business, it is clear and unambiguous. For example, the percentage of EBITDA and the criteria for its reporting need to be clear. There are a few ways such as cost avoidance (e.g. putting off a purchase until a time closer to its use) and cost out (e.g. previously paying $400 but getting the same now for $390).

  1. Get your team on the same page right from the start

Develop a clear, robust mission statement for your department and get their buy in. There should be very clear indicators to deliver on. Objectives should be clear to the team, and they should each understand the part they play in attaining them.

  1. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself

Bring your team’s value proposition to the attention of the business at large; as I mentioned previously, the broader organisation may not always be aware of what value you bring. You can do this by sending direct reports to some of your stakeholders or those in executive management with whom you may not have a great deal of interaction. You could also hold formal inter-team and interdepartmental meetings, develop performance dashboards, or send newsletters and company-wide emails. Careful with the last one, though, as it may get viewed as spam and ignored.

  1. Have a sense of humor 

Show your sense of humor on your very first day; it’s a great ice breaker. Show it off with sensitivity, though, so you don’t risk being taken as irresponsible.

This article was originally published in January 2015 and has been updated to reflect current industry trends Courtesy http://blog.deltabid.com