If you have not taken the time to grease the sides of your procurement team’s everyday processes, you will probably pull back the curtain to find that your staff faces three very real issues on a regular basis. They are increasing costs, challenges over profitability, and how to answer questions from suppliers when they don’t feel they have the training or knowledge to communicate at that level.
If your staff has issues with sourcing parts, that is a separate problem that can be traced to your approach to BOM and BOM software (for options, follow the link to electronic parts from over 3,000 suppliers). Today, we’re going to sidestep any issues with your ordering procedures and look at the warning signs your procurement team is overwhelmed – an overwhelmed team means errors, and when you have errors in your supply chain, products and sales suffer.
Scattergun approach (lack of training)
The very first warning sign that your procurement team may be overwhelmed is a scattergun approach to daily tasks. Where one member of staff is leveraging offline tools and another member of staff appears to complete tasks via complicated software that is not fit for purpose, there is likely an issue with training.
Where training is not provided, staff can be overwhelmed. But there is a hidden issue with training that must not be overlooked: is the training relevant? Many employers throw resources at irrelevant training that does not prepare staff to meet deadlines. Always ensure the training equips staff for specific tasks (generalized and irrelevant training is a waste of time and money).
High rate of staff turnover
If your recruitment process feels less like an annual drive to seek out any emerging top talent and more like a revolving door (or clown car) of staff that stays for five minutes and leave before anyone knew their surname, you have a problem.
Issues with staff retention in procurement roles usually come down to two things. First, does the new staff member have the correct support to hit the ground running? Second, once up and running, does the staff member feel that they can continue to complete tasks in the manner set out (or are there issues with procurement processes that lead to stress?).
Issues with demands from internal stakeholders (that you didn’t know about)
Procurement teams work for their manager and their manager alone, correct? Not always. Companies are complicated beasts that require quick fixes throughout the working week. From one-off favors for lower staff members to regular assistance given to other managers and team leaders upon request, your procurement team can find that they are pulled from pillar to post on a daily basis (leaving little time for their main tasks).
If your culture allows for internal stakeholders to communicate freely with your procurement staff and make demands on their time, you must provide your staff with a means to report the shortcuts and workarounds that are demonstrably part of your wider team’s needs. In this way, solutions can be found that can alleviate any stressful time demands.