We hear all the time about all of the latest and greatest trends in procurement and how your Procurement team needs to stay up on these hot topics to maintain a competitive edge. I think something that gets lost in all of that hype is the fact that a significant percentage of Procurement organizations are not even familiar with the basics of procurement. So many organizations are struggling to even support an effective Procurement function let alone be able to prepare for the digitalization of it.

There are certainly many reasons that we could speculate as to why this is the case, but one in particular is that many organizations do not dedicate enough time or budget to training efforts. We often cite that Procurement is left in the dust when it comes to allocating funds for new technologies and headcount for top talent so the lack of attention to training is not a surprise. There are many ways that an organization can work a training program into any budget, it just takes some creativity.

Of course, the first (and most costly) choice is comprehensive external training through an expert third party. If the budget allows this it is certainly an excellent choice when looking into trainings like total cost of ownership (TCO) or project management for example. But again, these trainings can be expensive, especially when you are training a large group of individuals.

Another choice you have is to subscribe to online resources like free webinars and top industry related newsfeeds. This option is certainly the lowest cost and should be paired with any formal training program. Subscriptions can provide your team with the latest trends and access to an excellent network of education and resources.

A third option is to custom build a training program that will meet your needs and budget. This process starts by facilitating an assessment of the team’s skills and capabilities. The results of the assessment should then be compared to a role specific matrix in order to appropriately score the individual’s results against what is expected of that role. This assessment will act as a baseline for determining what training is needed on an individual basis. The training program’s foundation is built based on leveraging the results of all responses to determine the weakest skill areas. Those areas should be focused on first and then additional courses created to add layers for growth. A comprehensive training program can easily be folded into a retention program as well, as training works very effectively to motivate and encourage people to grow.

One last thing to remember when deciding on your training program is to not silo the training to one function. Procurement processes for example impact all business units, some more than others. Even if the training is designed slightly different for the business unit audience versus Procurement, it is important to ensure that everyone understands how Procurement operates, even at a basic level. In order to effectively evoke a collaborative environment knowledge sharing and communication is critical.
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Jennifer Ulrich

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