Reflections and Milestones

June 9th, 2014

Are you measuring your progress against procurement goals? How are you doing?”

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President and COO at SafeSourcing.

As I celebrated my 44th birthday yesterday, it occurred to me that birthdays and other life events like, weddings, funerals, graduations all seem to be common checkpoints to evaluate the project we call “life.”  We evaluate how far we’ve come, remember certain successes and look forward to what is still yet to come.  In so many ways the evaluation of the long term processes and projects run in the procurement world need those same types of checkpoints to evaluate the progress and to make adjustments where needed.  Today we will look at some of the things that should be done during these times.

Sweating the small stuff – I can honestly say yesterday, when reflecting back on 44 years of life, that I could not remember one time when I stressed over a little mistake or some perceived problem I had at work.  Oh they happened, many of them, but my brain decided to filter out and store only the important pieces of experience.  If only we could employ this same mentality on our procurement projects.  There is a goal and that goal has milestones and tasks that need to be accomplished but there will be challenges.   Specifications that change and need to be updated, suppliers that choose to be difficult, business owners that change direction for the spend are all things that happen but that need to be overcome quickly and with as little stress as possible so that the eventual goal, the value add, the savings, the new supplier, the one piece that WILL be remembered can be achieved.

Enjoy and recognize the progress – Business moves fast and business practices, especially in the United States, come with high expectations.  As much as we sometimes try to act like it in our business and personal lives, we are NOT machines!   We need gratification and confirmation that what we do and who we are is important.  Build it into your business processes and projects to recognize when your teams do well.  Your owners, suppliers, internal customers and peers will have no problem letting you know when you haven’t succeeded so take some time and enjoy when you do.

Evaluate and Adjust goals – When I was 10 years old I wanted to be a train conductor because that was what my dad was, an engineer.  Many people were amused when I told them my Mechanical Engineer dad drove trains.  When I was 16 I thought I wanted to be a doctor and by the time I graduated from college I was a journalist who knew how to write software.  The point is that my goals changed.  I planned accordingly and set out to meet the goals I set but periodically I had to checkpoint my life to see if there were any factors that were influencing the success of those goals, and decide if changes to those factors need to be changed or did the end result I was reaching need adjusted.  Purchasing Standard Operating Procedures need this same type of review.  Factors will influence the expected outcome that either must be changed themselves or the expected outcome or timeframe adjusted to accommodate the new factors.  This can only be done if the checkpoints are used to honestly evaluate the progress rather than plowing forward with blinders on coming to the end saying “What happened?”

Time and the world will change and it will change your SOPs and projects and require points to evaluate where you came from and where you are heading.  For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you with these changes or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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