Some years ago, when we embarked on our quest to help organisations transform their strategic procurement programs we staunchly held to what we called our seven-pillar approach. These seemingly simple steps, if implemented rigorously, promised to release more value, position procurement as a leading function, and open the path to greater external innovation.
They were robust enough to be credible at board level, yet simple enough to be understood and applied. These steps were firmly rooted in our experience and had stood the real-world test of actually working, and working very well.
However, even the best models need reshaping over time. Ours did; in light of new experience, (our clients), in light of new technology (digitalisation and big data), and in light of new understanding (the need for intrapreneurialism), and we have thusly added to our original 7.
So, some weeks ago when we were preparing to lead yet another transformation process, we recognised that our seven pillars had morphed into 10. Easy enough we thought, and what better to call them than the “Ten Commandments of Procurement”. Well, leave it to the back office team to do their research and soon they announced that our ten commandments, sort of, kind of, stretch it just a bit, more or less, aligned with the official ten commandments. Relentlessly they hounded us to write a blog series that would not only tongue-in-cheek align our commandments to THE COMMANDMENTS but also would tell our story of how we think these elements when brought together really do have the ability to supercharge procurement.
In this blog series we intend to interpret THE TEN COMMANDMENTS in a way that affixes those tenets to our ten in a way that is at once, entertaining, provides real insight, and sparks a conversation with our readers that will help crystallise the meaning and impact of what we propose. We hope that you will join us on this journey.
So to start this conversation off, why choose the banner of The Ten Commandments for Procurement; we could have just as easily named our list something perfectly corporate like the 10 critical success factors. Furthermore, why does Procurement need something so ominous as commandments? Well, as the commandments were handed down to create order amongst society, so too our list underlies a framework for procurement that opens the possibility of achieving the benefits I enumerated in the first paragraph. But like all systems of order (and much like the real ten commandments), you cannot obey just one or two of the things on the list. In order to stay virtuous, you must follow all ten.
Simply put, all of our commandments are interdependent and the whole is truly greater than just the parts. What we are proposing throughout this series of blogs is a collection of processes, and frameworks that when taken as a whole will create an armour-plated procurement performance machine that will not only generate benefit beyond expectations but will help the organisation to be recognised for the contribution it does and can make.
The second question does need some additional thought: Why does Procurement need 10 commandments? The answer is simple. As there was great power in the Ten Commandments, so too it is true for our list. Our direct experience is that when these concepts are implemented, adhered to and zealously applied we have seen organisations be able to transform from back office functions that are considered simply to be business enablers to one where they are sought out for their business advice and are a target organisation for those wanting to enhance their careers.
And for now, this is where we leave the story. In our next blog we will start our journey through the Ten Commandments and begin at the beginning with the premier commandment “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” and how we have interpreted its application for Procurement.