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Ten Principles for Successful Procurement Change Management

Innovation

Change causes conflict, it always has and always will.

How you respond to that conflict, however, determines the rest of the story.

Each company, team, and corporate culture is unique, which is why all organizations approach change differently.

There’s arguably no greater change that an organization faces than digital transformation, but with so many failed initiatives every year, your approach to procurement change management is crucial.

What is Change Management in Procurement?

Procurement change management is a structured and holistic approach to how an organization prepares its people to respond to organizational change.

It’s both a strategy and philosophy that has to be embraced by leadership and enacted throughout the entire organization to achieve the desired outcome.

The Golden Triangle framework (people, process, technology) is essential for effective change management in digital transformation.

People should always be the priority, which boosts digital adoption and, ultimately, creates smoother organizational change.

Principles for Successful Procurement Change Management

Your strategy will be shaped by your internal culture, but my philosophy comes down to 10 main principles that may help you start the conversation.

1. Be Realistic

Not every company culture is built for change, some can even be downright resistant. You need to look at the company’s history, culture and leadership to set realistic expectations.

Some companies are more agile than others, some thrive in chaos while others need a rigid schedule. Understand that and set your expectations accordingly.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and your company won’t transform overnight.

2. Start at the Top

It’s a tale as old as time. During a companywide meeting, the CEO makes an announcement or speech about changes in the company or changing the culture.

Fast forward six months and nothing has changed. Why? Because it has to start at the top.

Leaders and managers must set an example first and show people what change looks like. Expecting people to follow blind orders won’t get anyone very far.

3. Be Thorough

Change can’t be siloed. Especially with digital transformation, all layers of the company will be affected, from top leadership to interns.

Set out to make your plan with every piece in mind, not just a single department or team.

4. Create a Roadmap/Clear Vision

Change is hard. People will naturally be resistant to it because that’s human nature.

Have a clear vision statement that explains what the benefits will be and exactly why change is needed.

When people understand the value of change and can see the roadmap, that’s when real change happens.

5. Create Ownership

Company buy-in is great, but the only way change happens is when leaders take charge. There need to be project owners for all the various moving parts.

If something isn’t tracking right someone needs to handle adjusting course. Likewise, if something is running smoothly, then recognition is in order.

6. You Can’t Overcommunicate

Ironically enough I think this speaks for itself.

Communication is key to creating employee buy-in, digital adoption, and ultimately digital transformation.

7. Assess the Current Landscape

This means culture, it means processes, it means looking at your existing solutions and mapping out all the capabilities.

You need a full understanding of what your transformation means, but also who it affects, and what needs to be changed.

8. Address the Current Landscape

Once you’ve gotten your overview it’s time to get to work.

Work with your leaders to create new processes or training guides, eliminate overlapping capabilities and fill in gaps.

9. Prepare to Fail

No matter how good or well thought out a plan is, there comes a point when everything falls apart.

People react in different ways, market conditions change, maybe your processes aren’t working out like you thought they would.

That’s normal. Start solving one problem at a time until there aren’t any more problems to solve.

10. Remember the Individuals

People are the key, remember that. Do everything with people in mind.

Train them, develop skills, make processes to suit your people‘s needs, and then clearly communicate at all stages.

Nothing we’ve talked about up to this point can work without people.

Combining Procurement Change Management and Digital Transformation

Digital transformation involves organizational changes on multiple levels. It affects stakeholders across departments and requires cross-functional collaboration from senior leadership to the bottom rung.

Beyond adopting a new solution, digital transformation is a combination of digital solutions that allows your organization to function differently.

As a result of digital transformation, job functions and processes can change. That kind of change causes friction, and that’s where change management comes in.

Managing your people correctly during digital transformation is the key to that success, but can also lead to less employee-churn, burnout, and, on the flip side, better talent acquisition.

You can use these ten principles to help shape your change management strategy, but remember, when it comes to digital transformation, the key is to empower your people.

Are you pursuing digital transformation but not sure where to start or what to do next? Start by learning what autonomous procurement really is here.

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