Chief procurement officers: Three tips for exiting lockdown

Chief procurement officers
April 28th, 2020
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In a few weeks, chief procurement officers will have to manage their procurement teams' return to the office. Le Figaro [1] had the idea of asking some experts to help managers prepare for the exit from lockdown.

These specialists invite chief procurement officers, as managers, to capitalise on the good practices that have been highlighted during the lockdown period:  

Chief procurement officers: Managing and trusting a first-rate team

While working remotely in lockdown, chief procurement officers have lost visual control over the diligence and overall behaviour of their employees at work. They have had to trust their employees.

Most organisations have seen that procurement aims have been more than met for dealing with the health crisis and its economic consequences. Chief procurement officers have put their trust in the right place.

The experts specifically advise chief procurement officers to continue practising a management style based on trust after the teams return to the office.

Chief procurement officers: Keeping up the good routines that were created while working remotely

To maintain team cohesion and prevent anyone from feeling isolated at work, chief procurement officers have initiated and supported practices such as:

  • Organising a weekly team meeting that is semi-personal/semi-professional and boosts team morale.
  • Chatting remotely with a virtual coffee break.
  • A greeting at the beginning and end of each day.

In addition to the routines introduced to maintain, or often even to strengthen, the quality of working relationships in procurement teams, chief procurement officers have also been able to watch with interest as new practices that improve collective efficiency emerge:

  • Shared file management
  • More concise emails
  • Discipline when speaking during meetings

Chief procurement officers will want to use what they've learnt from working remotely, as it is clearly in the interest of their teams and how they operate.

Keeping more effective practices and investing time in strengthening team cohesion should be the second area for chief procurement officers to look out for after the lockdown has ended.  

Chief procurement officers: Maintaining the commitment shown during lockdown

The context of the COVID-19 crisis is characterised, among other things, by high levels of uncertainty. Indeed, disruptions in the supply chain, failure of regular suppliers, or a company's decision to change its economic model have placed procurement teams in an ongoing state of urgency and innovation.

The results achieved in business continuity, as well as the countless gestures of employee solidarity, serve as a reminder, if any were needed, that the chief procurement officers are clearly managing innovative and responsive teams.

The third tip, of course, is to ride the wave of this creative dynamic. A company's ability to bounce back relies heavily on this.  

In conclusion, forcing teams to disperse and work remotely during lockdown for weeks on end can also be a platform for trying out new managerial practices. It falls to the chief procurement officers, depending on their management style and their team's maturity, to identify and maintain the most effective of these practices.

This momentum from the weeks of lockdown will be needed to address the challenges facing procurement teams for the rest of the year. Xavier Laurent, Manutan's Director of Value-Added Services, takes stock of this in a recent article: 10 major challenges for procurement in 2020

Looking ahead is now a greater challenge than ever for procurement. For more on this, read the article by Julie Dang Tran, Managing Director of Manutan France: What does the future look like for procurement?


[1] Managers: six conseils pour bien gérer le déconfinement [Managers: Six tips for managing lockdown well] — 21/04/20

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