Think about the word 'procurement'. What adjectives come to mind? Smart, capable, mighty, heroic...yes, that's exactly right! Keeping in line with the mood inspired by these adjectives, this blog will review The 12 Labours of Procurement as inspired by the Greek myth The 12 Labours of Hercules. If a divine Greek hero can't motivate your purchasing department, no one can.
Backstory: After being provoked by the Goddess Hera, Hercules murders his wife and children in a confused rage. As penance, the King (conveniently Hercules' cousin) tells Hercules to complete a series of tasks over 12 years, to be rewarded with immortality. These tasks rely heavily on killing, capturing, and cleaning - no worse than suffering through a difficult negotiation with a supplier. Originally Hercules was made to fulfill only 10 tasks, but just like a grumpy purchasing manager, the King refused to recognize two of these accomplishments for reasons that only made sense to him.
In The Next 12 Years Procurement Teams Must...
- ...re-examine risk for all sourcing decisions by reviewing historical data. This guarantees that poor purchasing decisions won't be repeated and reduces the likelihood that money will be left on the table.
- ...ensure your suppliers are environmentally and ethically respectable. No exploitation of resources should be permitted. The next generation must be warrior-like in their rejection of the linear economy in favour of a circular economy (based on use and reuse).
- ...gain a better understanding of customer and/or employee needs. Think about the long-term value of a purchase before sending a PO. Are 50 crates of pens necessary when the company uses laptops and computers? Minimize hasty orders - it didn't do Hercules any good.
- ...gather info about internal and external costs that would affect the TCO and share it throughout the organization. Feel free to carry a shield and sword if it bolsters the cause.
- ...strengthen their financial expertise. The relationship between the finance and procurement departments must be tighter than Hercules' grip on snakes.
- ...be more responsible for creating value throughout the supply chain. This includes engaging in new product development, design, engineering, and more.
- ...orchestrate increasingly complex arrangements with multiple vendors while eliminating purchasing models that produce win-lose scenarios. Remember, Hercules only supports winning, and a win-win outcome is the goal.
- ...heighten procurement as a corporate function. We're taking procurement to Mount Olympus heights. To complete this task efficiency is critical. Implement an ordering model that frees employees from monotonous, mindless duties.
- ...analyze data to generate useful reports. Assess, manage, and maintain all quantitative feedback. Applying data in day-to-day business operations keeps a company relevant in their given industry. In following with the myth, continue for a duration of approximately 12 years.
- ...recruit employees with eclectic backgrounds to support the diversifying industry. Hercules has friends that can be solicited, that's a good place to start.
- ...develop confidence in procurement's ability to manage company spend. It might help to wear a laurel wreath and toga, but no one's making any promises.
- ...and lastly, use the best available tool to conquer your purchasing process. According to the legend, technology is the ideal weapon for wrestling with a three-headed guard dog of the underworld, if you should ever find yourself in such a position...