Agile in Procurement

Operate with a start-up mindset

Having landed in the new normal – a more volatile economy and more fragile supply chains – procurement organisations are looking for ways to evolve and meet their targets. In order to thrive, a new approach to organising and managing work in an adaptable manner is crucial. Is your organisation agile enough to adapt?

The world is changing

Recently, supply and demand have been disrupted increasingly. Technology has changed demand and the consumer behaviour and environmental and political factors have made supply more volatile.

On the demand side, customer expectations are greater than ever, requiring higher standards for quality, speed and services, and provoking big shifts towards consumer-centric operating models. On the supply side, changing political backdrops and policies such as trade restrictions have created unforeseen risks in strategic sourcing and product cost and availability. Covid-19, a Black Swan, has been changing business priorities, furthering the disruption and highlighting the trade-off between resilience and agility on one side, and process efficiency on the other.

We see opportunities to generate value from reskilling and repurposing the procurement function. Establishing an agile procurement organisation will enable businesses to increase the leverage from technology and innovation and adopt a start-up mindset in the execution of projects, all while tapping into the diversity of skills across the organisation’s ranks.

Agile in Procurement

The challenge that emerges is to identify all the activities that your procurement organisation currently performs and assess the current level of maturity and nature of the activity (e.g., strategic vs. transactional, efficiency vs. agility). This determines where higher efficiency and reduced effort are required, and where agile, progressive and iterative development can create and add value.

Designing the organisation of the future

Solving today’s complex procurement challenges can seem formidable. Moving to a more agile organisation does not stop at delivering customer-focused solutions or operational excellence; it is rather a step towards improving your organisation’s chances of discovering innovative solutions by purposefully creating a dynamic relationship between all procurement members and their stakeholders. Below are considerations to kick-start your journey:

  1. Set up your organisation for success
  2. Review roles and adapt ways of working according to the type of work
  3. Enable value from dormant potential

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