The only guarantee that comes with a transformation journey is that there will be ‘twists and turns’ along the way. And since no organization can escape the unexpected, how procurement leaders makers handle those twists and turns becomes a critical differentiator and success factor.
While I was at ProcureCon Indirect East, I interviewed Dave Quillin, Manager of Procurement at Alliant Credit Union in Chicago. I last interviewed Dave in early 2017, when he was at the end of his first year of procurement transformation. This conversation gave us an opportunity to get caught up on the progress his team and organization have made over the last two years and hear about what he has discovered along the way.
The Alliant procurement organization is small, which forces them to prioritize strategically, leverage every resource available to them, and distribute some of the activities that would be centralized in a larger company. But does that make them completely different from big procurement organizations? Absolutely not, says Quillin. As he points out, even a 50 or 100 person procurement team will eventually tap out on resources or be asked to act on category expertise they do not possess.
Perhaps his greatest lesson learned of all from his transformation journey to date is that those ‘twists and turns’ are the status quo. Adjusting to them, and designing every process with flexibility in mind, even governance, and compliance, will likely make all the difference in the journey forward from this point.
In this conversation, Dave Quillin discusses:
- How small procurement teams can build (or access) specific category expertise
- The talent requirements, particularly in the area of soft skills, that are absolutely mandatory in a smaller organization, and why Dave sees that as an advantage
- Why implementing all P2P modules at once – even in response to stakeholder demand – may not be the best approach.
- A key piece of management advice from a former colleague that has made all the difference on the Alliant Credit Union transformation journey.