Before any meaningful change can be made your procurement organization, an evaluation must be performed to understand the current state. This sort of assessment will provide you with a base from which you can learn, grow, and implement new procurement strategies and operations. In particular, it is critical to assess the existing processes – these are the core of your operation. Having efficient and effective sourcing processes is critical to the long-term success of your corporation. Therefore, to bolster your sourcing operation and foster continuous improvement, it is imperative to evaluate your procurement procedures.
Every sourcing department will use unique systems and methods to meet their individual requirements. At a basic level, you need to get a deep understanding of the specific procedures that are used by your procurement department on a day-to-day basis. Once you have a grip on the procedures themselves, you can dive deeper into your evaluation. Two points of scrutiny should be 1) Documentation and 2) Adherence. To be effective, your procurement procedures need to be thoroughly recorded and routinely followed. These two qualities go hand in hand: On the one hand, lack of documentation will make it very difficult to follow processes and repeat them in a consistent manner. On the other hand, even the most detailed and specific procedures are useless if they are not followed.
Furthermore, this sort of evaluation will allow for improvement over time as you gain insight into your processes. In particular, the documentation of your procedures should be detailed enough to allow for constant monitoring and adaptation. When reviewing the processes, make sure that all stages of each system are captured, from the very first task (possibly a requirement or request), through the end of the lifecycle (including continuous monitoring). On top of this, determine if there is enough cross-training being carried out. Relying solely on one person to complete a process is risky, and can also lead to stagnation or bottlenecks. Therefore, procedural monitoring and teaching are critical to the long-term adaptability and improvement of your procurement operations.
For more information on conducting a current state assessment of not only your procurement procedures but also your people, metrics, and technology read, Source One’s White Paper - Is it Time to Transform Your Procurement Operations? The white paper provides a guides for evaluating strategic sourcing and procurement departments in preparation for a Procurement Transformation Initiative.