Procurement Consultant: How to Choose
The speed of change propelled forward by decades of industries transforming, thanks to the digital revolution, continues to accelerate.
While we have seen completely new categories emerge and new industries form, in more traditional businesses - like procurement - there remains much to be done. Thus, a procurement consultant specialized in all the mysteries of digital transformation is sought.
According to Darwin’s Origin of Species, it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.
As executives look to gain an edge and squeeze out more from the resources they have, they are forced to change... if they are to survive.
Now, how that change is to come about may have many paths.
The tried and true, or least risky, path for the executive tends to begin with outreach to locate a consultant for guidance.
What to look for in a Procurement Consultant
When you seeking a procurement advisor you need to first ask yourself what is the outcome you are seeking to achieve by engaging the consultant because the best advisor to overcome your current challenges and exploit or uncover opportunities for you may differ by the stage your current procurement processes are at.
Most procurement advisors in 2019 are brought into an organization to assist with the digitization and automation of their outdated, often still manual - can you say excel and email - processes.
A good procurement consultant can help you develop your digital transformation strategy customized to your procurement process, for example:
- Process automation
- Supplier relationship management
- Procurement dashboard
- Procurement portal
- Sourcing KPI dashboard
- Supplier audit
- Procurement savings tracking software
- Organizational design
- Technology selection and implementation
The first thought that comes to mind when a big supply chain organization or procurement office is seeking expertise outside their wheelhouse, they tend to focus in on the big brand generalist consultancies.
Some examples include:
Yet, when it comes to procurement digital transformation McKinsey isn’t the only, or even the best choice, for the majority of procurement operations looking to get an edge.
When you need procurement specific workflow solutions and not a one size fits all solution, you go to the specialist of the specialist.
With the complexities involved in procurement and globe spanning supply chains, going with a niche specialist, like Visichain - who has a track recording implementing large scale digital procurement transformation projects for some of the world's biggest retailers - is a wiser choice than committing years and millions of dollars to a generalist consultancy.
What sets a procurement consultant apart? The Criteria to look for:
While management consulting firms come to mind, and other generalist consultants can be found quickly, it's harder to find consultants who are procurement specialist.
A procurement consultant should be able to provide:
- End-to-end transformation solutions
- Deep knowledge of your specific challenges
- Extensive experience in procurement transformation
- In-house capability, from custom code to system design and architecture
- API-first integrations with all customization
- Adapt to work how your business works, not force your business into their off-the-shelf platform
- On sight availability to work with your tech team, CIO, and leadership to understand your exact specifications and quickly begin outputting results with real business impact
- Clear benchmarks for success
- Case studies of competencies as world class performers
- Collaborative working with your team
- A service delivery model
- Insight to drive innovation and reduce risk
Two 'Gotchas' to watch out for:
- Platform 'off-the-shelf' solutions that don't quite fit into the way your unique business operates. This is a common issue and requires a ton of customization leading bugs and worse.
- A consultant lacking agile frameworks and still working in the outdated waterfall development style. This mistake can cost you millions when you finally launch the solution only to realize it doesn't operate as promised.
A lot is at stake when you begin a long term procurement transformation process.
To confidently move forward your hunt, look for the above bullet pointed attributes in your shortlisted consultancies and watch out for the two deadly 'gotchas'.
To de-risk your project start small in an agile process to get bottom line impacts fast and test how the procurement consultant and your team work together.
Once some success has been achieved, it's now time to open the flood gates and take advantage of everything full digitization can offer.
Don't Get Left Behind
Schedule a free consultation with Visichain to ensure your supply chain and procurement operations continue to evolve and remain competitive in today's dynamic environment.
More about Visichain.
Visichain has established themselves as the leaders in Hong Kong for enterprise e-procurement implementation. Having created systems for some of the world’s largest retailers, their expertise is second to none. From complex software solutions enabling the vendor processes at tens of thousand of factories, to simple calculators and permission enabled databases that keep your business IP safe, Visichain maintains the in-house talent and industry expertise with a focus solely on procurement and supply chain. You can't get more niche than that.