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Friday, 9 August 2013

Too busy doing my day job

I was interested in one response to Remko Van Hoek's blog 'the problem with procurement'. The respondent suggested that many functions were understaffed and too busy on day to day activities to act strategically. Since for me a large part of the blog was about communicating with stakeholders I'm assuming that the comment also applies to this communication.

I blogged earlier in the week about the need for effective communication and stakeholder engagement. In this blog I'd like to discuss why I think it is part of the day job.

As personal development and communication manager for group procurement at HBOS eight years ago communication was my day to day activity. The reason I was put in place, in addition to helping with the development of a fully functioning and collaborative team after merger, was to help category managers manage their stakeholders.  

The reason for this was simple. Without effective communication and stakeholder engagement then the day to day activities of the category managers and buyers had the potential to deliver contacts that:
  • the business refused to sign off
  • stakeholders refused to use
  • delivered savings on paper only that never materialised in practice 
  • didn't meet the needs to the organisation
  • failed to take account of innovations that could deliver more value to customers or significantly take cost out
  • took no account of new product development
  • increased likelihood of risks not being sufficiently mitigated and managed
If day to day activities means not talking to your stakeholders you're increasing the potential for all that effort to have been wasted. You might meet your KPIs for savings (on paper) and contracts let but that's not what the business needs. The business needs contracts they can use, and that will deliver value for the duration of the contract with risks minimised.

I'd suggest once let many contracts also fail because of lack of continued communication within the business. I'm sure every one of the examples in my Pinterest board of procurement gone wrong were contributed to by lack of effective communication.

You can't afford not to communicate. Unfortunately many only learn the lesson when, like the examples on Pinterest, something goes drastically wrong. At that point, in addition to having to pick up the contractual pieces, personal and departmental reputations are lost for ever. 
 
Alison Smith
Inspiring change inside and out

I use the meerkat picture because those meerkats' job is to keep guard and communicate danger. Without one of them undertaking that role they know that the whole group is in danger. They know they can't afford to let the basics be left uncovered.

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