The challenges you face and the skills that you need while improving your procurement function

Part two of our interview with experts on Middle East procurement.

 

 

The next-generation procurement professionals are building their procurement proficiency to handle the dynamic and volatile market. They are now taking data-driven decisions and are building sustainable business models engaging in deeper collaboration with suppliers with the help of technology, making these collaborations profitable to both the organization and its suppliers. The 6th Procurement Strategy Summit is the annual gathering of leading procurement professionals in the GCC to discuss next-gen methodologies and innovations in procurement.

 

The 6th Procurement Strategy Summit |10.-11. October 2018 |Dubai, UAE

The Fleming team sits down with Wissam Nasr (Head of Supply Chain Management MEA| Siemens, UAE), Hesman Elabd (Senior Director Procurement | King Abdullah Economic City, KSA) and Andrew Spafford (Head of Systems and Process | Serco Middle East, UAE) to discuss:

1> What are the 3 main challenges faced while digitally transforming the procurement function?
2> What are the top 3 skills that a next-generation procurement professional needs?
3> How can the importance of the procurement function be improved as a critical part of a business plan?

  • Wissam Nasr
  • Head of Supply Chain Management MEA
  • Siemens, United Arab Emirates

What are the 3 main challenges faced while digitally transforming the procurement function?

The acceptance of the new digital platforms by the stake-holders. People tend to be slow or hesitant in accepting new methods of doing business. Ensuring a user-friendly and streamlined process helps speed up the acceptance by the user community.

  • Commitment from management to support the transformation and providing adequate budgets to sustain the transformation.
  • To not be attached to any existing digital tools, as the digital world is fast changing; therefore, we must be willing to adopt new technologies and drop the existing ones as they may become obsolete.

What are the top 3 skills that a next-generation procurement professional needs?

  • Be able to adapt fast and embrace the new digital age, and use new technologies to make better-informed decisions.
  • Even in the new digital age, it remains critical that a procurement professional maintains  fundamental procurement skills. No technology can replace that.
  • Understand the business’ needs and never lose focus of what is important to that business.

How can the importance of the procurement function be improved as a critical part of a business plan?

The procurement function is already a very important part of the business. The job of the procurement managers to show the business how critical procurement is to its success. In addition to contributing to the bottom line, procurement can provide access to new technologies and ideas from its supply base that may not be available or are too costly to develop internally. Procurement must understand the business needs and align itself in a manner to become an integral part of its strategy.

  • Andrew Spafford
  • Head of Systems and Process
  • Serco Middle East, United Arab Emirates

What are the 3 main challenges faced while digitally transforming the procurement function?

  • Allocation of resources including budget and people
  • Cleansing of data & Central depository of data
  • Being too focused on immediate savings and short term goals

 

 

What are the top 3 skills that a next-generation procurement professional needs?

  • Ability to deliver when faced with different priorities
  • Transformation and change management
  • Understanding of technology and innovation

 

How can the importance of the procurement function be improved as a critical part of a business plan?

  • Deliver what the business needs in the short and long term
  • Develop a strategy with buy-in from key stakeholders
  • Improve communication

  • Hesham Elabd
  • Senior Director Procurement
  • King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia

What are the 3 main challenges faced while digitally transforming the procurement function?

There are many challenges that face procurement while transforming its functionalities digitally. Some are traditional, which happen with every change, e.g. resistance to change both internally (employees) and externally (vendors). In addition, some are related to the specific technology used and how easy it is, e.g. would you use a standard Oracle or SAP system or develop your own specific one? Here below are some common challenges:

  • Resistance from internal customers to accepting the new online processes. This starts from the initiator of the transaction and ends with the approver.
  • Resistance from vendors, insufficient technological skills among the vendors to upload the quotations in the system.
  • Lack of IT infrastructure, raging from hardware capabilities to IT human resource capabilities and skills.
  • In some cases, you need to cut corners to save on budget during implementation of such a system.
  • Integration with another system's platforms, e.g. finance or even vendor systems used.

What are the top 3 skills that a next-generation procurement professional needs?

In this new era, procurement managers need to be well rounded. It is no longer a bargaining and negotiation game. We as procurement leaders need to be involved in business decisions. This requires knowledge in finance, marketing, legal, sales, PNL, etc. Just to name a few prerequities:

  • Finance, technical and legal background
  • Ability to actively communicate internally and externally
  • Creativity and pro-activity
  • Sharp negotiation skills
  • Strong communication skills, including marketing & social skills
  • Transactional analysis skills
  • Readiness to accept and handle new technologies

How can the importance of the procurement function be improved as a critical part of a business plan?

Day by day, leadership in large corporate organizations have realized the importance of procurement. The ability to link what the organization needs (business needs) with the availability in the outside market is key in such a transformation.

For example:

  • Adapt skills and change guidelines as business changes
  • Focus and improve vendor relations and management to gain more cost effectiveness as well as quality in services and products
  • Set a procurement masterplan throughout the year after alignment with top management and BU to tie the procurement plan with business to achieve and fulfill their expectations and needs
  • In a large organization, by introducing more savings (through centralizing the sourcing function) to enjoy economies of scale
  • By introducing re-engineered efficient solutions, contributing to time and cost savings
  • Having expert knowledge of the sourcing basket and lead, the sourcing decisions at the time of awards
  • By signing partnership deals with the vendors
  • By introducing a strong reporting system, that generates various analyses and graphical presentations that ensures the role played by the procurement function in bringing down the cost of the sales and increasing the bottom line profits of the organization

Join us at 6th Procurement Strategy Summit and use special promo code PROCURE200 and get more insights from professionals. *

* Promo code is valid until 28.9.2018