3 ways being pro-active will see you through tough procurement times

When the going gets tough, economically speaking, procurement teams tend to want to batten down the hatches and let the storm die down. But is this really the best course of action? Or should companes be using this opportunity to seize the moment and take a risk?
3 ways being pro-active will see you through tough procurement times

Procurement teams and supply chain management can tend to get a bit safety conscious during times of economical trouble. Traditional business strategy seems to suggest that the best idea to get through tricky times is to hide and wait for the storm to pass. But is this really a good idea? Or instead, is this the perfect opportunity to be brave and pro-actively take risks?

According to Emma Brooks, senior procurement specialist at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply in times of economic turbulence, “smarter organisations will seize opportunities and formulate strategies that will better equip them to come out the other side on top."

So how does a business become more pro-active in its approach? Here are three ways procurement teams and supply management can get through tough times

1. Don’t skimp on R&D

When budgets are tight Research and Development is usually one of the first areas where costs are slashed. But this may not always be the wisest choice. In periods of difficulty, R&D is a great place to invest in optimising branding and increasing market share.

During hard times it’s vital to be different to competition, invest in new product development and be stronger than the opposition.

3 top tips to be more pro-active:

1. Optimise every opportunity and service your market top to bottom

2. Drive out cost and drive in innovation

3. Never get complacent about your market position

2. There’s power in people

For businesses to survive they need to invest in people. Talented employees will steer a company through troubled times, so making sure you are continually developing your employees’ skills is key.

Many businesses see training and development as a place to cut costs. But just like products and services, people are your brand and reputation. Talent can make the difference between a business just getting by, and a business actually thriving.

3 top tips to be more pro-active:

1. Invest in people without being overly concerned about ROI – this will come in time.

2. See your employees as the faces of your business and ask yourself: who do you want fronting your company?

3. Put together a plan for training and development. Stick to it and watch your business thrive.

3. Get your procurement team seen

With budgets constantly being cut left, right and centre, purchasing and supply management professionals need to build strong relationships with other internal departments to make sure that they demonstrate their value to the wider company.

Raising the profile of P&SM teams starts with building awareness. Strike up conversations with other teams, keep on top of all the latest company developments, and make sure others are aware of what your department is up to.

3 top tips to be more pro-active:

1. Business intelligence data is a powerful tool and will help to build your understanding of the company and the market, customers and competition.

2. Make sure your department is forward thinking. Use horizon scanning to pre-empt problems before they occur.

3. Use the data you gather to create scenario plans to ensure you can provide solutions or alternative courses of action when the company comes across trouble.

Want more tips from a CIPS professional on being proactive in turbulent times? Interested in getting more details and reading some case studies? Become an IMPA member and you’ll be able to access our library and resources section, which contains a wealth of advice on working in marine procurement and supply chain management.


by Laura Stackhouse

readmt.com Editor

Laura Stackhouse is the Web Editor of readmt.com, an official publication of the International Marine Purchasing Association (IMPA). To discuss news, features or contributing to readmt.com please get in touch.

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