Five tips to create an award-winning procurement team

Lorna Blackwood  | 31 January 2013 | Supply Management

Develop soft skills, understand different cultures and take big risks to make big changes are among the recommendations of how to develop an award-winning procurement team.

Close to 100 procurement professionals attended a free event hosted by CIPS at the Cranfield Management Development Centre yesterday, where they heard advice from previous winners of the CIPS Supply Management Awards. Winners explained how innovative approaches, investing in people and creating a sustainable supply chain helped them achieve success in 2012.

Among the ideas and tips presented by the winners included:

● Invest in your team. Develop your own team with in-house training, mentoring and CIPS qualifications. Surrey County Council, winners of the 2012 ‘best people development initiative’ award, carried out a full service review, where they created new job descriptions, started a trainee scheme as well as delivering training across the council by their procurement staff.

 Develop softer skills. This is increasingly important and helps to engage other sectors of the business. Many speakers mentioned it is easy to teach procurement disciplines, but it is the softer skills which are harder to attain.

 Understand different cultures. Working in a global market means you need to understand the way different cultures work. Royal Mail Group, which won ‘best international project’ last year for their work in China, offered cultural training to their staff, as well as employing a general manager of Chinese origin and huge ground presence to help bridge the cultural divide.

● Be innovative and creative. Take risks and approach challenges from a new direction. Winners of the ‘most improved purchasing operation – start-up’ A&N Media wanted to challenge the creativity of its staff so took them into a studio to create a piece of music. It took them out of their comfort zone, and helped them to look at things from a different angle.

● Be brave – take big risks to make big changes. Surrey County Council, who also won ‘best public procurement project’, completed a total overhaul of their children and young people’s services. They imagined there were no services and built a whole new service, with the help from the most important people, the young people who used it.