"What do you mean improve procurement – surely you just have to save more money, don't you?"
The arrival of PIU's Procurement GPS tool is a timely portal through this wall of procurement ignorance that persists in both public and private sectors. True, the wall is slowly breaking down, but that's what makes GPS even more relevant now. GPS provides a don't-shoot-me-I'm-just-the-piano-player moment to procurement because of its inescapable logic, which is so clear that disbelievers, nay-sayers and even snake oil salesmen cannot deny its truth.
The tool was created not only to indicate where an enterprise is on the procurement maturity scale, but also to provide information and learning for everyone about what the enterprise is not yet doing. GPS helps you chart your way to Procurement 2.0 – joined up procurement, where the enterprise leverages its combined strength in supplier markets and where the department or function of the same name isn't left out there alone to get the best it can.
It was developed in business to answer business problems and proudly has never had a Big Five consultant's hand upon it. I've practised using the tool in two global businesses over a period of ten years and the beauty of it is that whenever I've invited apparently non-active functions in a procurement sense (e.g. operations, development, engineering, finance etc.) to participate in the 'procurement status assessment', they’ve discovered that they actually have a real role to play, which makes them either villains or heroes depending on how they react from now on.
GPS also gave me a level playing field on which to discuss supplier market-related business impacts and avoidance or improvement options which could be available. All of the conditions and levels in the tool relate to business activities and not just the narrow procurement stories we all know about.
Of course, anyone can haul in a consultant to give their brand of procurement organisational and structure solutions, but you'll pay for years if you want any more from them about what to do to get there (even if they knew).
GPS gives you a road map and it's a great tool for planning process and skills improvements in my experience. GPS let's you do it yourself and take others with you. It's a real progression tool in the engineering sense, in that it guides you to new process outputs each time you move forward a level. And when a business unit or plant finds out where they are today and what's next (I favour self-assessment, with an over-the-shoulder sanity check), they generally want what's next and the business benefit attached, and they become truly competitive with other units to be the best.
But, for me, the truly revelatory (and revolutionary) aspect of GPS and the piece that I really appreciate most is the clarity which it gives to dependencies. "You can't do this until you're good at that and that, and this process is working effectively." How many process crashes have we seen because we overlooked or short cut some underpinning? Of course this won't stop fools rushing in, but at least everyone will know the risks.
It may not be long until every consultant clones or reinvents their version of GPS. In the meantime, I suggest we get the edge without them. Click here to visit the Procurement GPS website.