In just a few months, our tightly linked supply chain systems in a globalised world have been transformed with what started as a handful of cases of an unknown virus in China to now, a global pandemic.

What might our lives look like when the crisis phase passes? What have we learned so far and what business changes can we make, to navigate our way through our unrecognisable and evolving world now?

Drummond Bridge explored how we can start planning for change from a Procurement and Supply Chain perspective in our recent webinar with guest speaker, Angela Porte.

Angela holds an impressive track record in transformation, global strategic procurement, and supplier management, programme management and organisational change.

Several senior delegates across a diverse range of sectors joined us to explore the current events, compare experiences and share wisdom on the shape of things to come.

The discussions covered key themes

  • Procurement and Change in recent years and lessons learned from the last economic downturn
  • Effects on Supply Chain due to COVID 19
  • Planning for change in current environment

Discussion was fluid and open with several interesting insights of the ongoing experiences that each delegate has faced. Each pain point and challenge was varied across the sectors represented. Some were pinpointing “change fatigue” as businesses have had to respond so rapidly and intensely.  Overhauling strategy in a full 360 degree style with less hands on board can mean that those at the coal face may lose recognition and their successes lost in translation versus the focus on survival.

There was some discussion that if procurement is seen as a back office/arm’s length function that main stakeholders in the business don’t always have much contact with them forgetting that relationships are key and those already plugged into the customers and with the business are at an advantage.

A key theme emerging is that as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic more businesses are only just realising the benefits of what a successful procurement function is there to perform. The attendees noted that companies shouldn’t wait until the brink of collapse, or until something goes catastrophically wrong before they notice this. Procurement is often the enabler for the organisation to ‘keep its lights on’.

Other key points raised included:

  • Relationships are key – look after your people, quickly recognise priorities and align these to the right people and to the appropriate areas and skillsets
  • Don’t ignore the small issues – prioritising during a crisis can mean fighting the big fires at the front end, but this often means leaving the smaller fires smouldering away in the background
  • Be human – when people are under pressure, e.g. when the safety nets are no longer there, organisations can lose sight of people’s emotions. It’s important that this stays front of mind, especially when employees are working from home.
  • Encourage Change – appointed ‘Change Champions’ are less able to spread the change message when people are working at home – change must be encouraged  proactively

Drummond Bridge would like to thank Angela Porte for her powerful insight, and though provoking, yet refreshingly honest recommendations and to the delegates for joining the webinar and contributing to the wider discussions.

For more information on future events, or to address your procurement recruitment needs contact [email protected].