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Procurement Transformation: A Modern Road Trip, Part 1

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As we all look back at an excellent summer you might find yourself sitting outside the dressing room while your teenager searches for school clothes patiently waiting to pay, the only reason they agreed to allow you on this outing.  As you swipe through photos of the summer you reflect on the memories you’ll cherish for years to come and think about the Shutterfly photo book you should really put together the next time the 50% off coupon hits your SPAM folder.  Swiping towards the early days of summer you come across the memories of that first, well planned, highly anticipated, start of summer vacation, The Memorial Day Road Trip.

With a heavy heart you sigh at what a disaster the trip was for your family and you long for the nostalgic road trip of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s they write about in parenting blogs… this isn’t that kind of blog post for the record, not entirely.  Rather than nurturing everyone’s sense of adventure when the detour took you past ‘The World’s Largest Collection of Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum and Gift Shop,’ there was a full-on crisis due to lack of WiFi causing a Snapchat outage and an interruption of Mikey Mouse Club House viewing.

Getting to the point, what does any of this have to do with Procurement?  I’ve come to realize how closely a procurement software implementation reflects a modern-day road trip.  Let us first break down the composition of the modern road trip:

  1. Research and select your destination (recommendations from friends and co-workers, travel blogs, bucket lists and vision boards)
  2. Paperwork (hotel reservations, passports, vaccinations, advanced Disney tickets, a Groupon maybe)
  3. Outline a vision for the experience you’d like to have at your destination
  4. Hop in the car, turn on the GPS and hit the road.

Now we look at the composition of Procurement Transformation:

  1. Research and select your tools (RFI’s, trade shows, conference exhibit halls, procurement networking events, a Phone call from Brian Shuey)
  2. Paperwork (RFx, contracts etc.)
  3. Outline a vision for your future state
  4. Pack the team in a conference room (likely a Zoom call) and kick off your initiative

They’re very similar right? Mind-blowing I know!  But why write a blog about a family who kicked off their summer with a terrible road trip, that’s not going to encourage anyone to take a road trip.

Your procurement transformation doesn’t have to be a road trip fail, but it’s important to set expectations based on the role everyone plays in the journey.  Below you’ll find a breakdown of the roles to help you understand where this metaphor originated. 

  1. Velocity Procurement is your driver, it’s our job to have the knowledge (GPS), wisdom, and instinct to ensure the project reaches the destination on the quickest (efficient) and most cost-effective (tolls, if required) route.
  2. Software Partner (S2P solution) is your vehicle.  Selecting the right vehicle (station wagon, sedan, SUV, RV…) for the road trip is just as important as the driver. 
  3. Client Partners are the weather. You know what season it is, and you get the forecast in advance, but sometimes things can get unpredictable.
  4. Stakeholders can be alike to the road.  Sometimes it’s a slowdown (construction), other times it can be a full detour or even the HOV lane and you can’t always predict or control these variables, so your driver needs to be instinctive about what to do in each situation.  And heaven forbid, don’t lose the WiFi!

So, before you head out on your Transformation road trip, it’s best to arm yourself with the wisdom of yore.  Select a seasoned driver who will bring along the latest GPS and as a backup – good ole AAA triptik (am I dating myself here?) to get you and your company to the Instagram worthy destination of your procurement dreams.  We’ll talk more about the importance of the driver and how to ensure you’re selecting the right vehicle so it’s a comfortable, cost-effective ride on our next Blog!

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