11 Jul 16

Six pillars for successful SRM (Part 4)

Six pillars for successful SRM (Part 4)

People and skills 

We frequently hear from organisations that are committed to SRM. They may have identified the benefits and created the value proposition and engaged stakeholders. In some cases they have built the necessary frameworks and processes only to be confronted by what our research has revealed as the barrier most frequently encountered. That is a lack of people with the requisite skills.

Where training has taken place it has often been focused in the traditional procurement disciplines of contracting, commercial and negotiation.

What the people and skills pillar of SRM seeks to promote is a people and skills development strategy that starts long before any training is delivered. It’s important to recognise that while closely aligned to procurement in many organisations, it is different and demands a fresh look at what skills are required for both practioners and managers.

Defining the role

For many, SRM is seen as the natural evolution of the procurement role. However, it needs to be clearly defined and in this pillar we seek to do that by identifying the key accountabilities. This role definition is not to be confused with a job design as we know the role can be executed as part of several different job configurations.

Understanding the skills

Having defined the role is one thing; the key skills and competencies required must also be identified. Our effort in outlining the definition of these skills based on our work with multiple clients and our research have identified the ‘softer’ skills that are more akin to personal attributes as being the most critical. These include the ability to think strategically, work effectively in cross-functional teams, persuade and influence rather than direct, communicate effectively and above all be able to build trust.

Assessing capability

When a skills and competency profile has been established the next step is to identify to what degree incumbent or prospective supplier relationship managers possess them. Here we would expect to see a structured approach to skills and competency assessment to identify the skills gap and development needs of both individuals and teams. This in turn will inform the discussion to identify appropriate training solutions.

The people and skills pillar also touches on organisational design and resourcing where solutions need to balance best practice and practical considerations.

Key activities aligned to this pillar include:

  • Developing the SRM role profile
  • Identifying the requisite skills and competencies
  • Conducting SRM skills and competency assessments
  • Aligning training solutions to development needs
  • Organisational and resource design

The people and skills pillar is most closely linked to the stakeholder engagement and support pillar where ‘soft’ skills such as communication and influencing are key to working with a range of stakeholders and to the relationship development and culture pillar where building trust and collaboration are vital.

In the next blog we will examine the information and technology pillar.

If you would like to learn more about people and skills and how this model could be applied to your SRM programme please contact:

John Newton (john.newton@stateofflux.co.uk), Mel Shutes (mel.shutes@stateofflux.co.uk), or the State of Flux team enquires@stateofflux.co.uk

Read the People & Skills whitepaper 

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