Maintaining your procurement responsibilities through the busy holiday season
Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Vice President of Sales and Services at SafeSourcing, Inc.
There is no denying that there is a period of time that lasts from mid-October through sometime around the Super Bowl. This is certainly not a new phenomenon. Over the years, I have taken to considering this period of time as a season all of its own. In this way, the “holiday season” falls outside of the normal bounds of seasons. While most seasons can be characterized by the weather, the holiday season is best characterized by its negative impact on productivity. There are clear reminders that the season is upon us. There are more candies in the aisles. There are costumes everywhere, and there is a pumpkin spice version of nearly anything readily available. If you intend to deliver positive results during this season, read on for some words of warning and advice.
What is the impact of the holiday season on productivity and how can we take steps to mitigate that impact? In the US, as the holiday season reaches its peak around Thanksgiving, we’ll start to feel the full weight of the season. One of the positive aspects of this time of year is that many people make the time to visit with their families and loved ones. This is great, but often requires travel time spent away from one’s responsibilities, including procurement. While you are likely well aware of your own travel plans and how to make sure that they don’t have a negative effect on your responsibilities at work, it’s more difficult to account for the travel plans of your colleagues and vendors. This is an unknown and will leave you open to unforeseen delays if left unchecked. All of this very often means that while we have the best intentions to remain productive and accomplish the projects that we have planned, we often fall short of achieving the results we desired in the holiday season.
So, how do we avoid this failure? Just like any other challenge, we have taken a huge step toward a solution by identifying that we are facing a challenge in the first place. In this case, open communication and an increased focus on teamwork will help us prepare for and reduce the effect of the holiday season on our goals. If you are in a position where you will require assistance or cooperation from others during this time, it is best to be upfront about your requirements. When working internally, have frank conversations with your colleagues about your own planned out of office time. If your colleagues aren’t offering their own such plans in response, consider how best to ask them to draw out any potential obstacles that you will need to overcome. When working with vendor partners, be explicit about project timelines and milestones. Beginning this process early will achieve the best results by setting expectations and providing ample time for the vendor to react appropriately.
At SafeSourcing, Inc., we remain incredibly focused on our customers’ needs during this time of year. Having seen the pitfalls that come with the season, we’re here as a guide to ensure that you achieve your procurement goals.