Learning & Development Transformation Journey

112: How a Procurement Outsider Powered Transformation at AEP w/ Matt Curtis & Marcia Ayacaba

Matt Curtis had never worked in procurement, but was enjoying a successful career across U.S. utility company American Electric Power (AEP).  The procurement department at AEP was considered a largely transactional organization, and suffered from a challenging reputation among Matt and his peers.

AEP leadership realized that they needed to think differently about how they levered procurement, and set about building a strategic organization to drive out cost and increase the value achieved from their supply base.  Matt – a procurement outsider – was asked to help lead the transformation.

Today’s show charts AEP’s transformation journey.

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“Our executives realized there was a lot of value being left on the table by not strategically addressing our contract relationships so we started thinking about how to bring more value through the procurement organization.”

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The benefits and drawbacks of being a procurement outsider, and how Matt built trust with his team.
  • Why transformation has to happen “20 square feet at a time”
  • Matt’s keys to success, and what he wishes he had known at the start of their journey
  • Why their initial focus on cost savings led to a more difficult change journey.
  • Why the decision was made to make training a strategic part of transformation
  • The importance of competency assessments
  • How AEP measures the success of their investment in external training
  • AEP’s approach to enabling their procurement team to implement learnings once the training is over.

Links and Resources:

About the author

Philip Ideson

Philip Ideson is passionate about the role that procurement professionals and leaders can plan in creating competitive advantage for their organizations in ways that go beyond the traditional value proposition.

Philip founded Art of Procurement as a way for the procurement community to learn from each other, increasing the impact they have on their organizations. In 2017, he co-founded Palambridge, a virtual platform of procurement experts, technology, and intelligence. Palambridge provides a broad range of flexible procurement solutions, available on-demand.

Prior to Art of Procurement and Palambridge, Philip enjoyed a career that spanned the procurement value chain, working across three continents for organizations such as Accenture, Procurian, Ally Financial, Pfizer and Ford Motor Company.