Here we share some tips for building strong relationships with the folks who manage your spending and get projects moving - your friends in Procurement.
Mayhem. That’s how we describe the end of the financial year at The ID Crowd. And we think it’s probably the same for you. But you know who has it even tougher? Your friends in Procurement. There’s a line out the door of folks desperate to make the most of their budgets before July rolls around (and another mad rush in October), and like your Mum trying to explain to the postal worker what you do for a living - no one seems to know about Procurement.
So if you don’t have any friends in Procurement, well, it’s time to get some. And having met lots of different Procurement practitioners over the years, providers and Procurement have a golden rule in common - ‘no contract, no start work!. We’ve got suggestions on how to make some of the best friends you will have in L&D.
On a first-name basis with anyone in the Procurement team? If not, get to know the people behind the shared mailbox you’ve been hammering for the last month of the fin year! It’s not about queue jumping, more about having a contact who you can ask as you navigate what can be a complex ride. Bring muffins - gluten-free for Paula because inducing bloating doth not equal friendship, and if you were real friends you’d know that about her.
The procurement process can be complex but you’re not supposed to be across every detail (your primary focus should be corning people in the lift and talking about what good results-driven learning can look like). Help yourself out by doing the introductions between Procurement and your vendor. We’ve had some great experiences where we’ve been introduced to a Procurement representative to communicate directly - let Paula shine!
Wherever there’s spending, there’s accountability and admin. Do you know how much your manager can sign off without going to tender? Get across the spending policies and procedures of your org and show your Procurement colleagues you know how to speak tender(ly) to them. It's nice to have a friend to ask about the standard contract and Scope of Work (SOW) you’ll likely need to use as well.
Knowing about the world of Procurement also gives you a little bit more autonomy. When you know what you can and can’t do, you’ve got freedom within those limits.
As learning partners, we see this happen a lot. A customer gets excited to start on a learning project with us and they want to go from proposal on a Friday to kick-off the following Monday. Flash forward a month and the contract is accumulating cobwebs and as many threads in an email chain to nowhere down in Procurement - why do we always picture them in the basement?
Bake some extra time into your procurement process while you’re baking those muffins! Procurement might require vendors to gather extensive extra documentation that isn’t always readily on hand. And you don’t want to inadvertently make them the bad guys when they have a job to do. Also, get a copy of your standard contract to your provider as early as possible. If there is a clause that needs to be updated, it can mean weeks in legal. Fun fact: the clause we contest the most is a one-sided termination clause or one with no notice (vote 1 - fair contracts!)
That means reaching out to us waaaaaaay before you need to start to ensure Procurement have time to do their part and your vendor has time to give them what they need. You’ll then be better positioned to determine a realistic start date and get the fun of the doing underway.
Wishing there were procurement shortcuts? This is like Dad going on a detour because he knows a faster way to get to the campground claiming he has an innate sense of direction so “don’t listen to that bl00dy GPS!” then you end up bogged on a backroad instead. A better (and friendlier) path to take with Procurement is to be curious about their rules.
Vetting vendors is a process designed to protect you and ensure you have trustworthy partners to collaborate with.
Use these strategies to create and nurture strong relationships with your Procurement teams and we think you’ll make friends fo’ life! Everyone benefits and you get to hustle on your project a little sooner.
Speaking of making friends, would you like to join us on LinkedIn? We’d love to have you!