Business & Technology Nexus

Dave Stephens on technology and business trends

Talent & Your Procurement Organization

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It can be tough staffing your organization with the right kind of people. You want smart, disciplined, well-educated individuals committed to winning while upholding the highest ethical standards.

So how do you get them? And how can you keep them?

Your first choice in evaluating candidates is how to balance direct work experience against a person's capacity for learning quickly and raw growth potential. In product development I always errored on the side of growth potential figuring technology moved so fast a person's capacity to keep pace was more important than their immediate ability to contribute.

Now making this kind of choice might be unwise in Procurement. After all, you are being measured on savings now, not a year or two from now – and so the margin of error for mistakes in judgment due to lack of experience is far smaller. But you might be surprised how quickly a sharp MBA-grad might come up to speed on the markets you care most about.

The Hackett Group has done some benchmarking of Procurement human resource patterns. And while many of the findings are straightforward (e.g. world class firms spend more time on training), one factoid might surprise you: turnover is actually higher at the some of the best companies.

When you're world class, you grow your people quickly in many best practices. As they grow so do their opportunities – both at your firm and via jumping ship. After all, what's the best talent pool for a hungry Procurement group in turnaround mode with the desire to become world-class? Yep, your world-class firm!

So what's to be done? Of course retention programs are 1st priority. But assuming your talented organization will face higher turnover, your systems had better adapt. They must make it easy to collect, aggregate, and convey the body of knowledge your company has built up over the years.

A 1st class knowledge management system can be a great insurance policy to keep your Procurement organization's world-class status.

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Written by Dave Stephens

04/12/06 10:26 PM at 10:26 pm

Posted in Opinion

One Response

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  1. On Talent & Your Procurement Organization

    I myself holding a Masters in Logistics and Supply Chain Management from a school ranked in US News, I can say these programs can do better in teaching domain knowledge. These programs do a good job in attracting excellent students with very good analytic


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