11th December 2019

Driving Excellence in Procurement

Procurement’s regular focus and tasks are traditionally ordering, sourcing, contracting and in simplified terms – providing the right goods/services at the right time in the right place for the right price. What if we replace all those roles with only one singular mission – to support organizational goals and objectives? Then we are on the right track in driving excellence in Procurement. 

The foundation for excellent internal customer service is superb inter-departmental communication, collaboration and cooperation. In this article our focus is providing tips on how Procurement can support the organisation effectively.

 Tips for Procurement 

Always know your customers’ expectations and be a part of their expectation setting.

Understanding the objective of the customer from the onset will assist Procurement to set priorities. Procurement can assist with planning and timelines to ensure that they are not unrealistic. 

To help your customers utilize your services better, explain how they can be ‘good customers.’

Be explicit about what you need from them in order to meet their needs. Define timelines and quality levels. Let them know what they can expect from you, honour your commitments and communicate delays or changes early. 

Always keep customers informed on project progress. 

Simply put, nobody likes to be blindsided by delays or request for additional information at the last minute. 

Get out of your ‘silo’.

Dedicate time to visit your internal customers to better understand their needs and expectations. Visit Project sites, understand their priorities and challenges. 

Open your vision to the big picture.

When talking to co-workers from other departments, develop an understanding of how the whole organization works. How does your contribution fit into the big picture? What do other departments need from you to meet their goals? Think outside your function and department, and think holistically. 

 Tips for Internal Customers 

 Discuss your expectations with Procurement.

Make sure your expectations regarding timelines and quality levels are realistic. Understand the procurement process. Build procurement timelines into your plan. 

Use effective time management practices.

Develop your timeline for delivering the request. Certainly ’emergencies’ happen, and Procurement will endeavor to meet tight deadlines. However, customers who consistently expect Procurement to ‘bend the rules’ to meet emergency deadlines strain Procurement services and disrupt everyone else’s priorities. 

“Make sure your expectations regarding timelines and quality levels are realistic” 

Provide all information needed to fill your request.

In your original request, include sufficient information to allow Procurement to include all relevant information in the Request for Quotation (RFQ) to vendors. This will minimize the back and forth questions and clarification. 

Always be professional.

Honor Procurement processes. Do not expect ‘exceptions’ to the rule, especially if poor planning has created your urgency. If your work were delayed due to another department’s ‘crisis’, how would it impact your goals?