The Supply Chain Resource Cooperative (SCRC) partnered with NC State Executive Education to hold its first ever Procurement Leadership Training program on May 13th – 15th, which provided high-potential procurement leaders with tools and strategies needed to make dramatic improvements to their organization’s procurement practices.
Rob Handfield, the SCRC’s Executive Director, and Ian George, CEO of ProPar Consulting Ltd (UK), led a group of executives from companies including Altria, American Red Cross, Cheniere Energy, Smith & Nephew, RSCS (YUM! Brands) and the US Air Force over the course of the program. “The mix of executives from both the public and private sector created a unique dynamic, which allowed sharing of contracting strategies, cost modeling, and category management,” Handfield said.
The program covered topics such as how to map stakeholder needs, capabilities associated with developing unique soft skills that are critical in procurement leadership, and the essentials of effective communication and collaboration, both internally and externally with key parties. “The focus was on driving change, and understanding how to bring people along on the journey by ‘winning their hearts and minds’. These are no longer ‘squishy’ topics, and the program left participants with a sense of how to execute these concepts when they go back to their jobs tomorrow,” Handfield said.
Over the three-day period, participants applied the program’s instruction to the potential procurement projects they were asked to identify within their organization in preparation for the program to craft a presentation they could later pitch to their executive team. Participants made their presentations to a group of seasoned procurement leaders with executive experience at companies including Lenovo, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), SAS, and IBM, who provided candid feedback on presentation style, improving engagement, and how to improve their business case so they can effectively sell their pitches to their own internal stakeholders. Presentations covered topics including specific market intelligence research, ERP implementation, Supplier Relationship Management, Supplier-led Innovation, Workforce Change, Requisition to Pay and AI in Procurement.
The value of the course was in the exchange of ideas between public and private organizations, gaining new perspectives on institutional challenges, and having the ability to participate in an innovative network of procurement professionals.
Michael Carmody, Contracting Career Field Administrator, United States Air Force Personnel Center
Participants indicated a positive overall experience in their anonymous post-program evaluations, saying that “this course is on target with content” and was “especially good for new procurement leaders.” Another noted their appreciation for the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of industry procurement leaders, learn from the other participants and facilitators, and share creative solution-oriented ideas.
The evaluations also indicated some key insights participants garnered from the program, with one participant noting that, when it comes to procurement leadership, “It’s not enough to look at the prime supplier, or even key subs to the prime…we will need to consider the entire supply chain.” Other key takeaways included realizing that most issues pertaining to initiating effective change are “behavioral, not technical,” and that procurement leaders need to think more about communication and collaboration with stakeholders.
For more information on upcoming Executive Education program opportunities, click here.