The puzzle to become best in class in purchasing – Roles and responsibilities and change communication plan

- How well are your purchasing strategies aligned with your internal stakeholders?
- How do you secure what to deliver and what to get from your internal colleagues?
- How well does your organization follow negotiated contracts?

Roles and responsibilities and change communication plan
You can have the best people and the best agreements but if the roles and responsibilities or change strategies are not communicated or accepted, the organization will not perform at an optimal level and you will miss saving opportunities. In order to succeed we advise you to follow a general process:

1. Identify your stakeholders by a stakeholder analysis (Symbal Chase will present a future article focusing on stakeholder analysis methods)

2. Identify your organization’s interfaces – with who does your organization do business with, internally as well as externally?

3. Identify inputs, outputs and activities for each organizational interface

4. Align and synchronize with the stakeholders and organizational interfaces so you agree on what to deliver to each other and what activities each organization should perform

5. When new strategies or activities are about to be developed and implemented, make sure you involve your stakeholders from start and develop a change communication plan for how to involve and communicate to different stakeholders as well as organizational interfaces

6. When in doubt and when you run into issues, try to understand your counterpart and answer the question “what is in it for her/him?”

Make sure you communicate the change internally. It’s important to understand the company culture and use the most preferred and effective ways of communication. The second advice is to make sure you communicate the background of the change. Tell a story around the reasons why this is good for the company and some facts behind. This is the only way to get the company aligned and supportive on all levels.

Common pitfalls

- You forget about your internal suppliers and customers and only focus on your specific part in the company. This could result in you develop work that nobody will use or understand

- You try to suboptimize your own organization and forget to focus on your customer. Your customers and suppliers (internal as well as external) will always think: “what is in it for me”. Make sure your activities and strategies are made with a “win-win” mindset in order to succeed and to collect sustainable savings. If the organization outside the purchasing organization doesn’t understand why they should use you optimized purchasing contracts, nobody will use them

- You don’t know who your stakeholders are and have no strategy for how to manage them. If you don’t know your stakeholders (external as well as internal) you can’t create win-win strategies or involve the stakeholders in time. There will be a big risk that your stakeholders will take a defensive position when they realize the change is coming. If you had identified and involved them from start, the stakeholders have a chance to participate in the strategy leading to the change and they will more easily adopt to the new situation.