Why Your Non-Procurement Staff Need Procurement Training the Most
Procurement training for your procurement teams. Sure, that makes sense, right?
But procurement training for your non-procurement staff?
It might sound crazy, but the truth is that the parts of your business that don’t do procurement every day are the parts that need procurement training the most. Here’s why…
How procurement (really) works
One of the biggest challenges I see organisations facing is the fact that a lot of the procurement process is actually taken care of outside of your procurement team.
Think about it for a moment, and you’ll probably recognise this pattern in your own organisation.
It could be the initial scoping. This is usually done by the respective business area. Depending on the business, it may be done often, or every few years. But this scope’s quality and thoroughness (or lack thereof) will affect every other aspect of your procurement process. And your procurement team isn’t even involved.
Or perhaps it’s tender evaluation. Who is defining what a “win” looks like in your organisation? At this stage of the process, your procurement team probably plays a coordination role, consulting with subject matter experts and searching for a consensus. But even then, they don’t have full control over what goes down.
Then again, maybe it’s contract management. Many organisations have more or less devolved contract management processes. But once the initial procurement activity is done by your team, there’s usually a degree of handover of responsibility to the underlying, non-procurement team.
Even if the examples above don’t apply to your organisation, chances are you can see how aspects of your procurement process are taken care of outside your dedicated procurement team.
In other words, while procurement may be run by a central procurement team, it’s still a “team sport” across your organisation.
And just like you wouldn’t send your bowlers out to bowl in cricket without ensuring your fielders were trained to field, you should ensure everyone involved in procurement is trained to support your procurement team.
In particular, this training should cover three key areas:
Basic purchasing induction
Your procurement team (hopefully) knows purchasing better than the backs of their respective hands. But as we discussed, they’re not the only ones involved in the purchasing game. So it’s important that your non-procurement teams are trained and receive a basic purchasing induction.
While the particulars will depend upon your organisation, a basic purchasing induction should include:
- An overview of the purchasing process
- A clear explanation of what is expected
- Direction on what and where the tools and templates are
- Training on using these tools and templates
Armed with this information, your team members should be able to better support your procurement team in the purchasing process, ensuring you get things right the first time and make better purchasing decisions.
Business commercials & purchasing strategy overview
I’ve written many times before about the importance of identifying and understanding your business’s fundamental drivers and values. (You can read up on that in the procurement strategy blog here). Your procurement team should be all over that. But it’s also important that any non-procurement people involved in purchasing understand how your purchasing strategy fits in with your business’s commercials.
This is about showing how purchasing and procurement can support your business, its drivers and its goals. When your non-procurement people understand the “why” in this way, they’re more likely to be committed to following your processes and helping to achieve your business’s goals.
Whichever way you choose to present this information, be it PowerPoint slides, an animated video or a simple booklet, be sure to provide an opportunity for questions so everyone ends up on the same metaphorical page.
Simple probity overview
Probity is an important aspect of the procurement process and one your procurement people are no doubt familiar with. However, anyone involved in contractor interactions or purchasing needs to understand how it works.
To share this information, I suggest putting together a simple, plain language procurement manual (no 300-page tomes!) that provides an overview of the procurement process and tells everyone what the rules are. This should include templates and instructions for declaring and managing contractor interactions and any conflicts of interest.
So there you have it.
Not only do you understand why the parts of your business that don’t do procurement every day are the parts that need procurement training the most – you also know what training to deliver, and how.
If your business is already taking care of this training, then you’re all set to go.
If not, there’s not time like the present. Start today!
If you’d like additional help and support with incorporating these basic internal purchasing controls and training for your organisation, we’d love to help. Contact Stennett Consulting today.
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