How Agility contributes to Procurement

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Agile methods prevail in procurement. They help to take advantage of new technologies and bring fast results in complex projects.

Agility is the buzzword when it comes to new ways of working and cooperation. Indeed, flexibility and speed are increased by agile working methods. For example, Scrum, Design Thinking and Kanban are established methods. Interdisciplinary teams work on a common goal and thus deliver useful results, so-called increments, as quickly as possible.

Quickly solving complex Problems

Customer projects show us that timelines for projects, for example, the introduction of an eSolution, are getting shorter and shorter. At the same time, the scope of the required functionalities is increasing. Classical project management methods based on the waterfall model quickly reach their limits. In addition, new technologies make it possible to increase efficiency even with few resources and increased economic pressure. The working methods and organizational structures in purchasing must adapt to these framework conditions.

Agile does not immediately mean perfect

Working in agile organizations is characterized by rapid design, feedback loops, trial and error and team involvement. Effectiveness takes precedence over perfectionism. Control and policy instruments are unnecessary, as teams organize themselves through transparency and an open discussion culture.

Leadership through control and delegation changes to service in the sense of enabling and empowering employees. Common values form the basis of agile work. This includes the commitment of everyone to work with full focus on the achievement of objectives. To have the openness and courage to ask for help, to give constructive feedback and to accept it.

Ideal for strategic Procurement

Operational procurement is becoming increasingly automated. An agile organization for processing transactions offers no benefit. On the other hand, to operate new roles in procurement systems and to optimize them in cooperation with its stakeholders, to recognize trends, to derive strategies, to advance innovations and to create the commercial basis (contracts) in the process, are excellently suited for agile methods. The Procurement can form a SCRUM team with stakeholders on specific topics, work through these topics in sprints and then diverge again. This approach is suitable for:

  • Sourcing Events,
  • Project procurement,
  • Supplier management initiatives,
  • to formulate category strategies and process them in sprints.

However, procurement and its environment must be enabled to do this. This can be done through training, by recruiting employees with experience in agile work or by involving consultants such as amc (all amc consultants have a training as SCRUM Master). Subsequently, the management level has to rethink their approach: give up control, allow freedom and trust the own employees – this has to be learned as well.

Agile values create the prerequisite for strong, sustainable procurement, which, with its key position, can form the hub of a value-creating system if procurement wants to assume responsibility.

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