Part Five of continuing looks at specific procurement goals and resolutions for the New Year.

January 9th, 2009

In yesterday?s blog post

In yesterday?s blog post, we looked at the procurement resolution or goal of taking a close look at your supplier chain, where you can find ways to save money by reevaluating what suppliers are charging. Today we are going to discuss goal number three. Make training a priority because talented workers want to be challenged. Keep them happy by helping them develop new skills.

This author began his career as a teacher. In fact, a history teacher. One of my favorite quotes comes from Aristotle who lived from 384 BC to 322 BC and nearly 2500 years later this quote it is still appropriate. ?Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.?

The challenge with the above quote for all leaders of procurement knowledge workers is to provide an ongoing educational environment as part of the daily routine so that what was discussed during yesterdays post where we see coworkers every day that just like to come to work, do what they perceive to be their job and then head home. One reason this happens is because there is no challenge or fun it what they are doing. Repetitive tasks become boring. Training and education can provide the spark necessary to open a world of creativity that will benefit the entire company going forward.

The following are some creative ways to create a procurement departmental educational program without spending a lot of time or money.

1. Nominate a weekly rotating team educational leader
a. Responsible for a one hour weekly department training update
2. Assign the task of locating great education content on the web
a. Websites
i. Application Providers
ii. Trade Magazines
iii. Trade Organizations
iv. White Papers
b. Blogs
i. Spend Matters
ii. Sourcing Innovation
iii. SafeSourcing
c. Wiki?s
i. Wikipedia
ii. SafeSourcing Wiki
d. Collaborative Professional social communities
3. Select a different procurement subject for each weeks leader
a. The weekly team leader presents the weekly content gained from the above free locations in a one hour team meeting
4. Hold a monthly open web test for the entire department
a. The test can be taken at their own desk with use of their PC
b. Award prizes for a team test average of above 80%
i. Team Lunch
ii. Leave an hour early on Friday
iii. Be creative

If education is perceived to be fun and the entire team is involved in developing and participating in the program, the quality of the team will improve as will team communication and moral. It is however important not to rank individual team members or publish individual scores. This is not a competition. This exercise is about the team.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

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