When it comes to procurement insights, this has to be one of the simplest-to-understand but hard-to-achieve strategies we’ve heard in a long time:
“Listen to the needs of the business.”
That quote, from Dave Quillin, Manager, Procurement and Vendor Management at Alliant Credit Union (and valued Determine customer), speaks volumes about how to build (or build onto) a successful, productive procurement organization. What it means, according to Mr. Quillin, is empowering procurement teams to achieve their best and highest use so they can in turn enable other departments in an organization to do the same. As strategies go, it was just one of many nuggets he shared in a recent podcast interview with Phillip Ideson on Art of Procurement.
Adding value beyond spend under management.
Probably not surprising to most procurement professionals, Mr. Quillin doesn’t approach spend under management with a specific percentage in mind. 100% would be ideal, but unrealistic. And not always the right target to chase. Instead, his strategy is to understand what he calls “the entire universe of spend” in an organization, then work with the business units on deciding exactly where procurement can bring the most value. Maximize that, and the spend control will come.
The importance of an enterprise-wide strategy.
Mr. Quillin has forged his perspective and strategic approach over a number of years and a range of industries. As part of Alliant CU, the 10th largest in the country, he took a from-the-ground-up approach to building a procurement organization that could centralize procurement and third-party risk management. This imperative is driven by both rapid growth, and the increasing regulatory scrutiny that comes with it. Also not surprising to most procurement professionals, procurement at Alliant had been handled by each individual business unit. This unsustainable siloed approach is quickly being replaced by instituting a robust, central function that provides one procurement strategy and one third-party risk strategy.
As Mr. Quillin says, balancing flexibility and agility with control is critical, especially in financial services. Working with Determine, he and Alliant are implementing an entire supplier lifecycle solution that goes from onboarding through the entire procurement process to invoicing and contract process. “When we were looking at Determine, we had about 20 people on our RFP team to get buy-in from every part of the business. That helped us find the right solution and put process in place to help everyone and puts transparency into the system.”
Building relationships, cost savings, transparency, risk mitigation, efficiency – the importance of enterprise thinking and implementation generates a host of added benefits. There’s a lot to learn from this interview, so take a listen.
Ready to explore how Determine can help you think enterprise instead of silo in your procurement? Schedule a demonstration.