This week I attended the retirement party for a great man. Like most retirement parties, this one was complete with stories about the long career and the impact this man had on our company and on the people with whom he worked.
There were gifts and memory books and videos and pictures. There was food and cake. We got to meet the family, or to see them again depending on how close you were to this man outside of work. And then there was the chance for Bill to share a few words about his career and what he learned.
Bill is a man of faith. If you worked with him for five minutes, you realize that. He is also a man of integrity, he builds trust from the first interaction because of his character and the way he gets stuff done!
Fortunately for me, I got to work with Bill before he left P&G. Bill was the North American Director for Plant Shared Services. He was the guy that brought to life the P&G Product Supply Shared Services strategies for Facilities, Storeroom and Low Dollar Procurement across all P&G plants.
Picture this: Procurement has spent hours, days, months working tirelessly to understand the business situation and to find a the perfect Service Partner. After hours and days in a room with no windows, the negotiation is complete. A deal is crafted which will contribute pretty significant value to both parties.
Then the hard work begins… putting it in place in about 100 manufacturing plants around the globe.
When you have a scale solution that makes perfect sense on paper, you best have a man like Bill Barkley to help you “sell” the solution to your customer. And the reason you need Bill on the team is because Bill wasn’t there to sell the program.
Bill had been a Plant Manager himself, several times over. He knew what the Plant Manager needed, and he was there not only to provide confidence that the deal was a good one but that the Plant could count on Bill and his Shared Services team.
Count on Bill to make sure that, together with the Supplier Partner, the business would be better than before.
When you are designing a Service Program and negotiating a deal, how much time are you spending on Change Management, Transition or on-going Program Governance? How much investment are you making on operational leadership to safeguard all the deliverables you worked so hard to negotiate?
Don’t let this be an afterthought.
Maybe you will be lucky to have the right people come along at the right time and your program will be a success, but why leave the most important part of the deal to chance?
Maybe you will be lucky to have the right people come along at the right time and your program will be a big hit, but why leave the most important part of the deal to chance? Engaging your internal customer to further develop the relationship with the supplier is a critical aspect of the program success.
Take these 5 Steps to be sure your deal will achieve vertical stardome:
Step 1 – Will you pilot, transition in phases or ‘cut over’ full scope?
This decision requires cross functional collaboration to review the pros and cons, the risks and the rewards. Consider the current experience base with the new approach. Has this been done before or are you transforming to something untested in your company or the market in general?
Most startup firms will plan for the Minimum Viable Product – the ‘just enough’ factor to make customers happy and asking for more. It’s a great concept to follow no matter the business maturity.
Step 2 – Get a Project Manager!
Who will be on point for program management and ensuring the transition plan gets followed or adjusted when something doesn’t go according to plan?
A good Project Manager is like GOLD. They make things happen, see when things are about to veer off course and alert the team to make a change. The Project Manager is a CRITICAL ROLE for a service project and one that should be staffed with intension.
Step 3 – What is your Communication Strategy?
No doubt you know how important it is to let others know about the new Service. Taking time to think about HOW you will share the news strategically will enhance your success.
Who do you need to tell and what do you need to tell them will depend on their roles and responsibilities in the organization? Deciding how you will tell them and who is responsible for doing all the talking is also crtical.
Develop your ‘one pager’ and elevator speech about the work. Detail background, key strategies and goals for the project as well as your Key Messages – what is in it for me – customized to the “ME” of the moment.
Step 4 – Who is your Advocate?
You need a champion – someone who is vested in the success of the Service or who believes in the value it will bring. Think carefully about who this needs to be for your project.
This should be a person with influence over your target group. It doesn’t always have to be the person in charge. It needs to be a courageous leader who has a magic quality about them to attract others to come along for the journey.
Step 5 – Who is your Bill?
Who is the operational leader who will make the program come to life? Who will be there to shepherd and to guide and most of all to MAKE IT HAPPEN? I hope you are as fortunate as I was to have Bill as a key leader for your Service launch.
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Procurement has a window to the world of capability and innovation outside the four walls of the company.
In coming posts, I will talk about the responsibility Procurement has to showcase opportunities that others haven’t seen – but need to!
If you have a suggestion, a great find that Procurement brought to your firm, please let me know by commenting below.