PRODUCT

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

SOLUTIONS

Taking procurement value beyond supply chain savings

When it comes to SoW, who should be involved and how does procurement ensure everyone is adding value?

Episode highlights


Driving value from inside and outside the business
Play
Measuring savings versus value
Play
Managing services with traditional procurement technology
Play
Overcoming legacy attitudes and pushing for transformation
Play
Procurement's broader understanding of the business
Play

Posted by: ZivioReading time: 127 minutes

With Alan Withers, Senior Procurement Manager, Telent

00;08;56;18 - Overcoming legacy attitudes and pushing for transformation
00;17;55;22 - Procurement's broader understanding of the business
00;21;55;19 - Driving value from inside and outside the business
00;25;34;25 - Measuring savings versus value
00;30;25;02 - Driving improvements in areas of comfort
00;37;44;23 - Applying procurement's expertise to services
00;45;15;02 - Managing services with traditional procurement technology 

Transcript - Auto-generated. Please excuse any minor errors.

00;00;00;07 - 00;00;05;08
Jonny Dunning
And I'm very pleased to be joined today by Alan Withers from Telent. Alan, thank you very much for joining me. How you doing?

00;00;05;13 - 00;00;06;15
Alan Withers
Very much. Very good. Thank you.

00;00;06;18 - 00;00;39;15
Jonny Dunning
Excellent stuff. Cool. So we've had a few conversations about some topic topics along the lines of procurement transformation and value generation within procurement. I'm here today to address the kind of core concept around taking procurement value beyond just supply chain savings. So it's a fairly broad area, but there's some the some quite specific points that that we want to drill into and some questions that I've got for you in particular so we can dive into that.

00;00;39;16 - 00;00;58;19
Jonny Dunning
We've got plenty of time to talk about it. I'm looking forward to covering these topics Before we do that, for the benefit of people listening and watching, would you be able to give a bit of background context on your experience, what you do now, but also be quite interested to just hear a little bit more about how you actually came into the procurement side of things, how you got into the industry.

00;00;58;22 - 00;01;33;10
Alan Withers
Okay. How I got into the industry. Okay, So obviously I want to investing, as I think most people do these days. Enjoyed it. Best three years of my life, probably. But I think what I recognize now is that I didn't really have too much of a forward plan, graduated from university, did very well, got myself my first job as a as a buyer for a company that bought and sold cable.

00;01;33;10 - 00;01;54;29
Alan Withers
So they were cable wholesalers, big company. And what they do, they had a whole logistics arm to it. They had warehouses all over the world. So you bought cable and then you transport it. It's whatever warehouse needed it based on obviously what they are, the software that the trending and predictions were telling you. So they started off there as a buyer.

00;01;55;04 - 00;02;18;11
Alan Withers
Now, like I say, lacked a lot of sort of foresight. So whereas my friends from university had a bit more of a plan, what to do next, I had one friend who was a quantity surveyor and he went off to Dubai. I had a friend who was a teacher. She went off to China. I was sitting in a very cold, damp office area trying to count the years that I had left before I could retire.

00;02;18;13 - 00;02;52;14
Alan Withers
And I just it just, you know, it's a it's a bubble burst once you leave university and you realize this is the world. So, yeah, I just I couldn't so I started to do a lot of overseas job applications trying to, you know, look for my next adventure. Not much really. Happened for a few for a few months, and then an opportunity occurred overseas and Angola, which now, looking back, I think probably anyone who was more qualified to do the job probably would have just, you know, said no thanks, because they was willing to to give me an opportunity.

00;02;52;16 - 00;03;12;07
Alan Withers
So I jumped at it, obviously, kind of told all the friends and family that I was off to, you know, find myself and look for a new adventure. And it was all part of, you know, my destiny. And so I went out there, and long story short, I spent five years out there working for a for construction company.

00;03;12;10 - 00;03;36;19
Alan Withers
Yeah. And learned a lot. A lot more than what I would have if I'd stayed in that, you know, in that position. So, yeah, I was out there for five years and then came back, started working for a civil engineer, actually took it actually worked out really well, came back and worked for a civil engineering company who was just breaking out into the European markets.

00;03;36;22 - 00;03;59;20
Alan Withers
All right. Building datacentres across Europe. And they as, like I say, as they were just breaking into those markets, I came back with a bit more international experience than what they had. And it just worked nicely that, you know, I could sit in there and sort of work with them and build that up. left them, started working for talent.

00;03;59;22 - 00;04;29;05
Alan Withers
And now I am the senior procurement manager for Labor, which essentially is anything third party spend. So looking at, you know, the contingent labor, the subcontractors, professional service, anything of that going talent as a business is kind of split in brief, you know, three core competencies that being transport networks, services and infrastructure services. And so my my remit is to oversee all that spend that goes across those three business units.

00;04;29;07 - 00;04;39;22
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, And a couple of things I want to just pull up that it's really interesting to hear that background. What an adventure. Going to Angola. That's. You took a bit of a chance, though, didn't you? I guess you could say that.

00;04;39;24 - 00;05;02;19
Alan Withers
But at the time I didn't. At the time I think it was probably youthful arrogance that I just you know, I didn't fully consider any of the risks or what it meant. You know, I just sort of jumped at it because, yeah, I think it was it was my idea of a of a 22 year old's idea of an escape route, you know, from the kind of norms of life.

00;05;02;21 - 00;05;10;28
Alan Withers
But yeah, now I look back 35 and I'm a bit more kind of what was I do? And they all worked out well, but my goal was jump.

00;05;10;29 - 00;05;39;08
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, I think that's brilliant. I mean, as you were talking about the benefits of that experience, having put yourself out there, you took a risk in doing something different. Probably never been to Angola before and probably didn't know a huge amount about it. Well, maybe the company is just a different scenario. Long way from home. Yep. But the benefits of doing that, for example, coming back and working for the civil engineering company where they're doing overseas expansion, you've got more of an understanding of overseas markets and possibly some international stuff.

00;05;39;10 - 00;05;42;18
Jonny Dunning
That's that's where you get the benefits isn't where I think it's where you take the risks.

00;05;42;18 - 00;06;06;26
Alan Withers
You do, Absolutely. I think in that time what I learned, I think I know we're going to we're going to be, you know, talking about it over today's conversations. But in a country like Angola, it's heavily dependent on its relationships to get anything done right. You know, So that's you learn that there's also obviously cultural challenges. You've got to have empathy, understanding other people's points of view.

00;06;06;28 - 00;06;25;05
Alan Withers
and then, yeah, the, you know, the becoming strategy, the core procurement strategies of how do you develop a supply chain in a country that hasn't yet set up or, you know, if you're entering into that new market, how do you make sure that you've got that operational continuation and efficiency? You know, so yeah, it was it was certainly the deep end.

00;06;25;10 - 00;06;30;15
Alan Withers
You know, I look back at my career all the way through and it's just a series that deepens one or the other.

00;06;30;18 - 00;06;48;08
Jonny Dunning
But that's that's great. That appeals to me. I'm at of an entrepreneurial mindset. And one of the things I see more and more in procurement is people with that kind of slightly rebellious, entrepreneurial approach to things. Yeah, And ultimately, I think one of the things that's quite similar about you and I as we both like getting stuff done.

00;06;48;10 - 00;07;05;09
Jonny Dunning
Yeah. And, and that's where I say my kind of subject matter expertise is all around how organizations use different channels to get stuff done, get work done. The other side of it that I find quite interesting is how people actually end up going into procurement. So did you study a procurement specific degree?

00;07;05;11 - 00;07;14;07
Alan Withers
No, I didn't know. I actually didn't. I studied joint honors, so I was effectively to two degrees in one history in English.

00;07;14;10 - 00;07;14;29
Jonny Dunning
Right? Okay.

00;07;14;29 - 00;07;15;25
Alan Withers
Yeah. Yeah.

00;07;16;00 - 00;07;34;01
Jonny Dunning
So so when you went into that, buy role, what was it about that buyer role? Why did you go for that? How what you know, obviously, if you're going in as a graduate position, if you've got a good degree like history in English, then you can see why that's just a good degree to show capability of learning, level of intelligence, you know, all that sort of stuff.

00;07;34;03 - 00;07;35;29
Jonny Dunning
But why did you choose to go for that role?

00;07;36;02 - 00;08;02;16
Alan Withers
So what happened was I went to obviously university and I studied joint honors history and English because I've always had an interest in history and English has just been something I've been naturally good at. And it was when I was a I was, you know, in your second year when you start to kind of how share with your friends and whatever else and I how shared with a friend of mine who was studying business you know he had a bit more of a direction of where he wanted to take it.

00;08;02;16 - 00;08;22;21
Alan Withers
And so as he was studying, we were talking more about, you know, the modules and the courses that he was on. And he was he was looking at supply chain management as a course, you know, as a as a module of that course. And he got the supply chain, the kind of economical impacts, political impacts and things like that that affect it.

00;08;22;24 - 00;08;35;23
Alan Withers
That's when I started to become more curious about what it is that is procurement, what is supply chain management and everything else. So when I left university, I had a bit more of a focus where I think I wanted to go.

00;08;35;26 - 00;08;52;06
Jonny Dunning
It's got I suppose it's got I don't want to try and make too much of a random connection here, but like if you look at history, a lot of it's about strategy and outcomes. Absolutely. And relationships. And so that that has a bit of a connection. The English side of it. Obviously, you've got to be a good communicator.

00;08;52;08 - 00;09;20;09
Jonny Dunning
Yeah. Whatever language that might be in. So so one of the areas I wanted to kind of go over with you first was just looking at your journey through procurement and and also in terms of what you're doing right now at Talent. And you've been doing some pretty cool stuff. And one of the things that we've talked about is this kind of potentially those in some areas that can be improvement in general, that can be a little bit of a kind of legacy type attitude.

00;09;20;12 - 00;09;42;04
Jonny Dunning
And yet there's a massive amount of transformation, digital transformation, process transformation, etc. going on in procurement. And it almost feels like you can end up sometimes a little bit with businesses sitting in either one of the two camps where either they're cracking on and they're really trying to move with the times or where where some business is maybe a little bit stuck in kind of a legacy type process.

00;09;42;06 - 00;09;50;05
Jonny Dunning
What's your view on that in terms of what you see in the market and what you've seen through your journey?

00;09;50;07 - 00;10;10;05
Alan Withers
so I think I was extremely fortunate to work for a company like Talent in that area, you know, in the idea of transformation and change, they are extremely open minded when it comes to, you know, let's adopt a new way of working. Let's adopt, you know, a new system and a new software that will improve our efficiencies.

00;10;10;07 - 00;10;43;11
Alan Withers
I think from what I'm seeing out in the market, this idea of procurement, managing services, you know, subcontractors, professional service or anything of that kind, it's only now starting, you know, it's the idea that what the traditional way of procurement, you know, buying those boxes of widgets and digital and pallets using that that that expertise and deploying it into service management is only now starting to work its way through it.

00;10;43;13 - 00;11;11;19
Alan Withers
So when I started with talent, for an example, they had the foundations of of, of good practice. You know, they were doing a lot of good works as far as obviously, for example, statement works. You know what that actually means because again, getting a stakeholder population of, you know, four or 500 people alone to start adopting statement works is a challenge, let alone applying a whole process of software and control and data pooling and whatever else.

00;11;11;21 - 00;11;33;25
Alan Withers
So they thought they was already there, you know, so I was very blessed to go and work for talent where obviously what we have done is now just the next chapter of that. Yeah, Lucian Of that transformation. But what I'm seeing out in the market now is, is not as I think as as forward as where we are.

00;11;33;28 - 00;12;03;26
Jonny Dunning
Yeah. And in terms of kind of like making the case for change, that's going to be different inside every organization. But you know, for you having worked through COVID and seen some pretty extreme change over the last few years, what do you think are the kind of key, key things that organizations or people within procurement teams can leverage as that case for change in sense of we have to move forward?

00;12;03;29 - 00;12;16;08
Alan Withers
So if we look at COVID, yeah, it was it was a it was an awful time for all of us, but I think it was probably one of the one points in history where it really put procurement as a profession on the map. And that.

00;12;16;12 - 00;12;17;04
Jonny Dunning
Yeah.

00;12;17;06 - 00;12;47;07
Alan Withers
You know, if we look at everything that happened around that time and after, you know, we've supply chain shortages, be that labor or chips or anything of that kind, you know, Brexit has had an impact into it as well. Obviously the we all know where the markets are financially. There's been a lot more spotlight that's been put on procurement to get value back into their business for their shareholders and stakeholders.

00;12;47;10 - 00;13;06;04
Alan Withers
So it's only I'm sure everyone that's obviously watching this today, you know, everyone will have those success stories that they remember that they achieved for their business during that time. So it's only natural that those companies then say, that's great procurement, thank you very much. What can you do over here? Now, we we we've seen you in action and we've started to gain that confidence and trust.

00;13;06;06 - 00;13;24;21
Alan Withers
What else can you do over here? And I think that's why procurement is now starting to naturally push over towards services, because you can apply that traditional way of work for boxes of widgets and digits and and put it within the service structure. Yeah. And I think that's, that's where I see it going.

00;13;24;24 - 00;13;59;22
Jonny Dunning
Yeah. I think for me the thing that stood out about COVID was that organizations were in a situation where it's like alarm bells are ringing and stuff needed to be done urgently, solutions needed to be found urgently. Yeah, procurement where the people that get stuff done. Yeah, procurement with the people, other people that could have the difficult conversations that could come up with suggestions that could make things happen fast, that could go, could work kind of like independently use their initiative to come up with solutions on.

00;13;59;27 - 00;14;15;01
Jonny Dunning
And it's that capacity that already existed for organizations, but I don't think they necessarily appreciated it as much as they possibly could. There was that whole thing a little bit like we're talking about with kind of legacy and what's the what's the case for change, that whole thing of like procurement being the police or being seen as the police within an organization?

00;14;15;01 - 00;14;28;17
Jonny Dunning
I just feel like that that should be pretty outdated. Now, if it's not in an organization, then that they're probably behind the times. but it felt to me like that was the view of like these guys get stuff done.

00;14;28;19 - 00;14;51;13
Alan Withers
Yeah, I mean, if you, if we were looking around that about that time, you know, the government announced furloughs, you know, which means obviously there's a reduction in workforce, there's a reduction in, in, in outputs. A lot of the in the industries that I've worked in, a lot of the contracts that were pipelines and expected all of a sudden got put on hold but freeze.

00;14;51;15 - 00;15;18;25
Alan Withers
So you've got a bit of a stagnation or a slowing down in those markets, you know, so your clients and your supplier partners all of a sudden don't know what's happening in the next six months. So at that point, your company depends on the people that have had those relationships with those companies to either A, you know, bringing them closer together so you can work through those challenges, you know, or bring them in.

00;15;18;25 - 00;15;37;08
Alan Withers
So you've got an opportunity that you need to land very quickly. Can someone support you to do this? So yeah, it absolutely moved. I feel procurement from being that, you know, that perception of being a very transaction tool. You know, you only speak to them if they want to go in at you about pose not being raised correctly or whatever else.

00;15;37;08 - 00;16;04;01
Alan Withers
And it brought them into a we have a situation. What can you do to help support this. You know, and I think really procurement you know it found its place in the business and rightly so. I think moving towards the transformation question you ask as well and I think we spoke about this is that the irony is it's much easier to sell change to a to a struggling company than it is a successful company.

00;16;04;03 - 00;16;28;15
Alan Withers
You know, typically when the going's good and everyone's quite happy with it, they're kind of, you know, their profits. Why do we need to change? I think again, that's why I was lucky working for a talent for a company such as talent, because they aren't, you know, they really are successful and they're really doing, you know, a lot of good work, but they're still open minded to increasing those efficiencies where they can.

00;16;28;18 - 00;16;47;04
Alan Withers
I mean, I've worked in companies before that where it has been a hard sell. You know, it has been a hard sell to sit in front of your senior leadership and say we need to make a change here, or I propose, you know, we could do X, Y and Z and increase this by, you know, whatever amount, wherever the business case might be.

00;16;47;06 - 00;17;03;03
Alan Withers
But yeah, I think you've got to have a really open minded senior leadership who, you know, even when things are running smoothly, can actually take a step back and go, Yeah, I see your point. We could actually achieve a lot more than what we were already doing.

00;17;03;05 - 00;17;21;12
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, I totally agree. I think it's a brilliant question or a brilliant point to raise. but also if you're engaging with, if you're bringing people into your business who are entrepreneurial, get stuff done, they're going to make suggestions and they're going to be looking at how they can make improvements. That's how you retain talent. That's how you make your business better.

00;17;21;12 - 00;17;41;16
Jonny Dunning
That's how you make more profit, deliver better results. Your customers and, you know, make the business better overall. So it is clearly a thing that some organizations will be being complacent about. But as we've seen with the rapid changes in the kind of global economic climate, things happen so fast, companies can't afford to be so complacent.

00;17;41;17 - 00;17;54;27
Alan Withers
You end up becoming the next blockbuster video, don't you? You know, the company that was so sure of itself in the market, they didn't adopt new ways of work and you just get overshadowed by Netflix. It just happens that.

00;17;54;28 - 00;18;25;05
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, exactly. So, so if we look at the way that that kind of evolution from this kind of legacy approach where it's very much kind of procurement in a box, the place very basic, very transactional, one of the things that we've spoken about in the past is this kind of like broad understanding of the business. What what is it that can give procurement that broader understanding and what is it that helps them get that broader understanding?

00;18;25;07 - 00;18;55;04
Alan Withers
So it sounds very simple, but for me, it's it's just understanding what it is that your company sells to. It's to its clients. And that isn't about reading the front page of the website and being out to repeat it. It's about knowing what it is that lays and at the operational end of the business are doing how they're doing it, what they're using to do it, and how that ends up as the service or goods that you are then selling on to your to your clients.

00;18;55;04 - 00;19;35;18
Alan Withers
And I think you've got to have a strong idea of that as a as a starter. And then I think, you know, we we speak about procurement. If you if you follow the philosophy that procurement are the department that brings value to shareholders and stakeholders in their company, value isn't just achieved at the bottom of a bid. You know, it's not just about weighing up the most competitive and choosing that supplier value is also achieved by understanding what those those people are doing at the operational side of the business processes or softwares or programs or whatever else.

00;19;35;20 - 00;19;59;21
Alan Withers
And then being able to make strong proposals that say if we did it this way, things could get a lot better, you know, because everyone everyone has problems in their jobs. That's just a natural thing. You know, if everyone goes home and speaks to their wives and their and their husbands and talked about the, you know, the the in their mind, the illogical issues that they've got.

00;19;59;23 - 00;20;26;16
Alan Withers
And I think the lucky thing about procurement when it's done well is that we cross over almost every department in the business. And you know, you've got your financial heart show you, like I say, the operational end of the business, the commercial end of the business. So you need to know exactly what it is that your company is doing, you know, all the way through, not just the service or the goods that you're selling.

00;20;26;19 - 00;20;32;07
Alan Withers
And then you can start to strike those proposals of efficiencies along that way.

00;20;32;10 - 00;20;54;18
Jonny Dunning
And I love that because that just illustrates how integral procurement is or can be. Yeah, I think the sad thing is that in some organizations it's just not seen as like that and the procurement team won't necessarily see themselves as that. That's kind of more the legacy end of the spectrum. But it's strategic. It's, it's, it's, it's at the central point of so much information.

00;20;54;20 - 00;21;16;16
Jonny Dunning
I always think this just as as a data as a data, kind of aggregator procurement can see what's going on inside the business in all sorts of different departments across the whole organization. And they can see what's being, what's going on outside the business. You hear what suppliers are saying about what your business is doing, you hear about suppliers, what suppliers are saying about how your teams are operating.

00;21;16;19 - 00;21;46;01
Jonny Dunning
You hardware suppliers are talking about great things that your teams are doing. You'll hear where suppliers are talking about ways that your your teams are hindering them, for example. Yep. So it's just such a fulcrum of information that is absolutely critical. And we can talk about data in a bit, but where that data can be collected and used effectively, that's incredibly valuable information to pass up to the the kind of C-suite to inform how that business can run most effectively.

00;21;46;01 - 00;22;10;22
Jonny Dunning
So I think that understanding of the organization, as you say, is absolutely core to it. And the opportunity is there to get this kind of holistic view. you talked about driving value. and one of the things that we've spoken about before was in terms of, you know, what is that, what does that value mean? it's not just savings in the supply chain, and it's not just value in the supply chain.

00;22;10;25 - 00;22;28;01
Jonny Dunning
It's about you been talking to me about that kind of building the value in house, but also building the value in the market. What do you, what's been your experience of doing that and taking that kind of broader approach, that kind of two pronged approach of looking at what's going on inside the business and also outside the business?

00;22;28;03 - 00;22;50;22
Alan Withers
Okay. So if I look at obviously the journey that we've just gone through to deliver on this strategy, you know, for for telematics, an example. So talent is a huge business, you know, really, really, really big business. And it it has so many different competencies, so many different sort of benefits that we sell on to out to our clients.

00;22;50;25 - 00;23;18;12
Alan Withers
And what I first noticed when I joined Tellem was that it was all being managed, you know, in silo very much at an operational level, right, which meant that you had things like an enormous supply chain, some of which were duplicates of the same service, right? Or you the same suppliers working in different pockets. And the cost discrepancy, these were enormous.

00;23;18;14 - 00;23;40;18
Alan Withers
So internally it's about getting your arms around all of that, trying to make sense of it. Obviously very simple category management in that regard. But you've got to get your arms around all of it on the stand, who's doing what, how much, why, and then try and apply some some consistency and logic to it. Obviously, the the services that we've got with you guys helps do that.

00;23;40;20 - 00;24;01;27
Alan Withers
And then also you've got to look at your markets, you know, so what do we do? What are our competitors doing and how can we do it better than them? How can we do it quicker than them? How can we do it more efficiently? Then you've got to keep an eye on that market. And then also in the same on the same vein of that as well, is what is the client actually looking for?

00;24;02;00 - 00;24;29;13
Alan Withers
What are they? What are they looking when they when they approach us and they ask us to do a project or a service or what a package is, what is it that they're actually looking they're asking us to do and how can we make their life easier along that way? And it happens internally to begin with, you know, So as soon as you can gain your efficiencies in-house, you can then start to show that and it reflects in the business that you do outside.

00;24;29;15 - 00;24;56;00
Jonny Dunning
I love the fact that you're talking about thinking commercially because this is this has been something that's come up in a few conversations I've had recently. Probably the the sort of extreme example of that was the really cool conversation I had with a guy called Matt Miller, who was previously kind of running the things at Madison Square Gardens, and he was talking about the kind of dual benefit of basically managing suppliers and driving value through that.

00;24;56;03 - 00;25;13;09
Jonny Dunning
But also like in that scenario, suppliers can also be your customers. Yeah, in a sense that it's kind of like it can affect the front end. So basically where you're doing an event at Madison Square Gardens and Floyd Mayweather boxing or whatever it might have been and you know, your your cleaning company might want to be a sponsor, for example.

00;25;13;15 - 00;25;33;27
Jonny Dunning
It's probably not the best example. But but what you're talking about is also that's going to impact the front end of a business like talent as well in terms of bids that you're doing with your own customers, in terms of the capability you can project to the outside world and what you can actually deliver. So that again, is just additional value that will come on to a bit later or become on to in a second actually.

00;25;33;27 - 00;25;41;18
Jonny Dunning
But like measuring value and savings versus value is a tricky one, but it's a hurdle that's got to be overcome by procurement.

00;25;41;20 - 00;26;02;23
Alan Withers
So this this is this is an interesting topic and it's one that sign. It kind of sits quite close to my heart. And I actually so traditional procurement loves a savings tracker. Yeah. Okay. We love it. We do. You know, I remember once talking to a purchasing manager I used to work for, and he loved the rebate, you know, because it was it was easy savings, isn't it?

00;26;02;23 - 00;26;25;26
Alan Withers
You come out, the more spend, the more you give me back, the more I can show for it, you know. And it has its place. It definitely has its place. And, you know, I still have a savings target still I have to achieve each year. But then if you look at, for example, the SIPPs learnings that they're rolling out now, you know, it's not it's no longer savings, it's it's value for money, right?

00;26;25;26 - 00;26;53;13
Alan Withers
So how do you how do you achieve value for money? You know, so you've got things that you've got a factor in my whole life costs, you know, and things of that nature that shows the supplier that might come up the cheapest on, on, on a bid sheet might not give you the true cost efficiency that you would get from the middle range supplier who will do all of the service wrap that you know, you wouldn't get with the cheapest.

00;26;53;16 - 00;27;22;09
Alan Withers
So you've got to be able to measure. You got to measure value that way. And then also, and particularly in what we do as a business, it's about the value comes in from the supply chain based a lot of the time on relationship. Yeah, you know, you've got to have a strong and you're talking about the example of Madison Square Garden.

00;27;22;12 - 00;27;50;27
Alan Withers
You know, the industries that we work in aren't the biggest, you know, there isn't, there isn't, you know, hundreds or thousands of suppliers that you can pick and choose from. Everyone's pretty much target in the same work and everyone's working together. So why not just get on with each other? You know, it just makes more positive sense. So you've got to have the value comes from the dependency and the reliance on each other, you know, having that supplier who's willing to support you and then you support them on what opportunities that they are looking at.

00;27;50;27 - 00;28;10;19
Alan Withers
Partnerships, essentially. You know, it also comes from understanding what you're doing and then refining it and perfecting it each time. And taking your suppliers along that journey with you. You know, it's not fair to expect that you as a business are going for a great big transformation, you know, and then you all of a sudden you start mandating policy to them.

00;28;10;26 - 00;28;23;03
Alan Withers
You've got to speak to them, understand that what is their point of view and how do we bring that along with us? Because that's how you that's how you grow and that's how you strengthen your market position.

00;28;23;05 - 00;28;41;12
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, we'll come on to it in a little bit. Tonic diving into services specifically, but I think, you know, driving value or value for money and services, you need to know what it is you're buying. You need to know how that changes. And if you're not capturing that information, that's just not going to happen. But I don't want to get on my soapbox too much about that, but come on to that in a bit.

00;28;41;12 - 00;29;05;25
Jonny Dunning
But so so when you when you're looking at this kind of holistic view across the business and you're working out how you can drive value and you're looking internally, but you're looking externally, but then as a set up on the process side of things as well, which kind of, you know, is just as important, sits there in the background.

00;29;05;28 - 00;29;17;21
Jonny Dunning
I sometimes feel that companies in some ways can be quite good at set up and process, but then they might miss the other two bits that they're looking at. It doesn't feel like many companies have got all three of those lined up. In most cases. I don't for a degree.

00;29;17;24 - 00;29;36;25
Alan Withers
Yeah, I think you can get you can become too rigid, you can become far too rigid and, you know, stuck in your process that you're you're not willing to adapt or change to whatever, you know, factors can come your way and then you can be too loose, you know, and it's a free for all, basically. And everyone's doing as they please.

00;29;36;25 - 00;30;01;00
Alan Withers
So there is that, that, that sweet middle isn't there, where you've, you've got your processes and a well understood and well defined. But you know there is flex to them. Absolutely. It has to be flex to them. And certainly when you've got a holistic view of a company, you know, similar to the size of talent where you know how our clientele range is huge, each client likes something done the specific way.

00;30;01;03 - 00;30;09;10
Alan Withers
How do you then just all of a sudden land the process that fits or you can't. You've got to be able to adapt to the challenges as they come.

00;30;09;13 - 00;30;50;06
Jonny Dunning
Yeah. And so they're the underlying principle of understanding where the value comes from. And driving that value is the is the priority on the systems and processes have to be flexed to, to meet those needs effectively, which just makes logical business sense. Yeah. so one of the things I wanted to ask you about was when you're looking at a successful business that's doing pretty well already and but you're identifying not necessarily problems but areas for improvement, it's a lot harder to, exactly like you were talking about kind of the business case for change is harder in an organization that's doing really well for change.

00;30;50;08 - 00;31;10;14
Jonny Dunning
but actually from an individual point of view, being the person that puts your head above the parapet and says, by the way, there's some stuff we could be doing better, I'm not really very pleased with how this is working and I think we should change it. Yeah. it's much easier to just keep quiet. so. So how do you, what's been your experience?

00;31;10;16 - 00;31;18;19
Jonny Dunning
Is that something that's just natural to you in terms of facing those kind of uncomfortable realities?

00;31;18;22 - 00;31;42;26
Alan Withers
So I often think about this myself, and I'm sure I, I want to answer that and then no, I'll ask you a question. Okay. So I wish I was someone who could just get on with the 9 to 5 of it, you know? So you start in a company, you get to process and you just follow that process blindly all the way through.

00;31;42;28 - 00;32;08;22
Alan Withers
And you just you just work your hours. It's not in my nature to be that way. And I think if it starts to, you know, it starts to I start asking questions. I think that's the thing about procurement I love is that it's it's a it's a profession that if, you know, if you enjoy it, you ask questions, you keep asking questions.

00;32;08;22 - 00;32;29;17
Alan Withers
Why? Why? You know, getting to the point of how do we improve it? Why is it done that way? And so when I first started, I would tell him, you know, and I go I go introduced. And, you know, this is the way that we do things. And I sat there for six months working on it, understanding the business, understanding what the stakeholders were doing.

00;32;29;19 - 00;32;46;04
Alan Withers
You know, they had statements of work that were Microsoft Word, pieces of paper, you know, and it was okay. So I received this and I review it, I edits it, and I do the commercials in the contract and I give it to you what happens next? Okay. And then usually it was an answer that I didn't understand. And so it gets into that.

00;32;46;06 - 00;33;02;23
Alan Withers
My question was going to be Gianni, obviously at the CEO to CEO. How do you deal with that type of thing in your business? How are you? How how would you how do you face areas where you know you could improve it?

00;33;02;23 - 00;33;22;05
Jonny Dunning
I can't help myself. I'm exactly like you in that respect that I just I can't I can't settle for it. I can't I won't keep quiet about it. I will. I will, you know, make a nuisance of myself about stuff that I think needs to be changed. But also, I'm very happy to listen to people who've got great expertise on me and other people's views on what is a solution.

00;33;22;07 - 00;33;38;23
Jonny Dunning
But I will always ask the question and if I can get a satisfactory answer, that actually what we're doing is the right way to do it, and that's totally fine. I'm happy with that. But I will always ask the question. It's I think it ties into that kind of like slightly rebellious, slightly entrepreneurial point of view. But I've always been like that.

00;33;38;28 - 00;34;00;21
Alan Withers
So you go, you've got to poke it for a bit. Yeah, yeah, you got to poke it, see what comes from it. So what, what I experienced along that way, he's like I say, So I started for six months. We had statements of work that were Microsoft Word, pieces of paper. You know, once they were signed and and approved, a purchase order was usually raised on the back of it.

00;34;00;21 - 00;34;27;12
Alan Withers
And it was it was, you know, it was managed. And so after a while, I realized that there was a lot more that we could do to make that slicker. So, you know, that's when I started. So in my head, at least build that business case of what we could do about it. and I think I guess to answer your question about how do you, how did you start pushing it along?

00;34;27;12 - 00;34;52;16
Alan Withers
Obviously you can't no one ever does anything on their own. You know, you can't achieve anything in a company, certainly not in the store, in the sort of tenant on your own. So that's when I started bringing it back to my head of Acumen and my business partner, you know, starting to build and prove the business case to them, at least that, you know, we can we can make a lot more progress and more really what we're doing.

00;34;52;18 - 00;35;28;26
Alan Withers
and it became what it is today. You know, the business case obviously went through the exact review and they got approved and whatever else. But I think you do need to have that, like you say, that kind of entrepreneurial perspective. Yeah. So that challenge. But then you also have to have strong backing from from the business. You know, I it, it is a very brave person, a very strong minded person to be able to take a business case to a successful company and say like, listen, folks, you know, just want to stop you for 5 minutes.

00;35;28;28 - 00;35;47;01
Alan Withers
What we're doing is fantastic. But actually we could improve it, you know, because most people are very busy in their jobs and they don't want to hear room for improvement when there's no no need for it, you know, And it's another one that actually gets over the line eventually, and then it's another one that actually proves it once it's landed.

00;35;47;03 - 00;36;08;24
Alan Withers
So, yeah, I think there's, there's, there's levels to it. So you've got to have that pioneering perspective, you know, that, that, that need to constantly hope things. Then you've got to have, you know, some real strong leaders around you that help pick that up, you know, and make it a reality and then to follow for it.

00;36;08;26 - 00;36;26;28
Jonny Dunning
And that's effectively the kind of recipe for success. And it's something that I can see in the work that you're doing. Talent We've got other customers that we're working with where generally all of the customers that we're working with are doing stuff that's kind of like at the front end of that kind of transformation kind of continuum within procurement.

00;36;27;00 - 00;36;48;27
Jonny Dunning
But but there's always somebody with that kind of slightly rebellious streak where they want to ask questions. That entrepreneurial attitude where could do, you know, just what we're already doing or just the current status quo isn't necessarily good enough and they're willing to stick their neck out and push things forward. And it and those people need to be married up with the right companies where they'll get the executive support, people who listen to them.

00;36;48;27 - 00;37;13;14
Jonny Dunning
They're open minded. Now I've got someone who's pushing a bright idea here. Let's let's let them roll with it. That's, you know, okay, well, will convince me that that's a good business case for us to take forward. And I do feel like that's a recipe for success because it is a catalyst. It creates movement. Yeah. And particularly in larger businesses, things can be can seem so static that it can seem like how can we ever break this department?

00;37;13;18 - 00;37;38;19
Jonny Dunning
There's always there's always the potential for for a million different people who are going, we never do that or it can't be done or that's not possible or we can't do that. and it does take people who've got that little kind of spark in them, I think, to, to start out moving along. But, but it also ties into another area which we kind of talk about while want to talk about later, which is that kind of support and mentoring side of it in the sense you got to you've got to have that executive support.

00;37;38;19 - 00;37;43;11
Jonny Dunning
Otherwise you're going to be kind of stuck in a little echo chamber and your voice isn't going to get where it needs to. Yeah.

00;37;43;14 - 00;37;44;21
Alan Withers
Yeah.

00;37;44;23 - 00;38;15;02
Jonny Dunning
Cool. So, so looking at that as the kind of structure and reasoning for actually moving things along, let's just dive into services specifically and have a little, little chat about that because one of the things that I think was quite interesting, what you said earlier was talking about the fact that there is already a very the way that procurement deals with spend management around goods and materials.

00;38;15;04 - 00;38;40;08
Jonny Dunning
I feel like that's a pretty well solved problem from a technology point of view, from a process point of view, it's something that's organizations, software providers, you know, academic institutions have been working on solving that for a long period of time. And when it comes to services, there are fundamental differences. And what you were talking about was kind of applying procurement expertise to goods, materials.

00;38;40;10 - 00;39;01;08
Jonny Dunning
Most organizations are pretty good at applying procurement expertise to services is something that's still quite early in its evolution because in some ways supplying services has a more simplistic approach to it in the sense that generally not a really complicated supply chain set up, but on the other hand of it it's way more complicated because they're much more varied, much more nuanced.

00;39;01;08 - 00;39;18;25
Jonny Dunning
It's not just a fixed thing like, say, a widget or a pallet of X, Y and Z. so you'd be interested to understand kind of your thoughts around what needs to change or what's different about managing the procurement of services versus versus goods.

00;39;18;27 - 00;39;43;08
Alan Withers
Well, I, I think the whole, the whole when it comes to goods, what you're buying is very much, you know, it's tangible. You can see it, you know, you can physically go down to a warehouse probably and point out that and say that costs me 200 quid, you know, And with that comes the benefit that you can then articulate or measure at least volume discount.

00;39;43;11 - 00;40;11;00
Alan Withers
And from that relationship priority and from that, your strategy for next year based on where the business wants to put their, you know, their directions. So from a procurement manager perspective, you know it's it's the comfort zone, you know, managing goods, obviously subjects, obviously international challenges and whatever else it's it's ultimately it's much easier to control. You know you can you can fit everything.

00;40;11;00 - 00;40;40;12
Alan Withers
You can fit your home supply chain quite comfortably in one grujic. You know, you can put your 80, 20 methods to a good work and it's easier that way. You know, category management when it comes to services, it's it's about all you partner out with the right companies. Are they working with your best intention? You know, are you giving them enough work to keep them part of you know to keep them happy?

00;40;40;12 - 00;41;01;19
Alan Withers
And they will be you'll be one of their priorities is the work that's being produced. Good, good quality work. Is the client happy with it? You know, what is the future strategy in our company? How does that fit in with our suppliers? And then that's even before you get into the some of the values. So what is the kind of cost implication is that market rate?

00;41;01;21 - 00;41;26;04
Alan Withers
Is that where you should be expecting to pay? There's there's a whole area when it comes to service. And then how do you measure successes based upon the services that you're receiving? How do you how do you protect yourself? You know, we've liabilities about what could go wrong. So, you know, it makes the whole management of those types of suppliers far more challenging.

00;41;26;06 - 00;41;33;24
Jonny Dunning
And you think that is one of the reasons why most organizations don't really have a good handle on services procurement?

00;41;33;27 - 00;41;37;02
Alan Withers
Yeah, I think.

00;41;37;05 - 00;41;49;00
Jonny Dunning
The reason I say that is because I, I talk to a lot of companies and I can I'm very confident in saying that most organizations don't have an effective handle on services procurement anywhere near it.

00;41;49;03 - 00;42;08;18
Alan Withers
Yeah, I think that there is, I think there's the the perception perhaps the it's a necessary evil, you know, and this is our view of growth. So we are getting to a point now where we are far too big to have all this in-house. We need to outsource X, Y or Z to someone else to measure and whatever the cost will be will be.

00;42;08;21 - 00;42;31;10
Alan Withers
I think there's also the idea that, you know, again, the tangibility of the service, why do I compare that apples to apples? How do I measure that? And then also there's the you know, the idea of am I am I able to pass risk on to my supply chain? If this is my contract with my client, am I allowed to do that?

00;42;31;10 - 00;43;01;27
Alan Withers
What is my position on this? So there's there's there's lots involved that make it a very complex piece of work to manage services, not to mention obviously, you know, you've got legislations and things like that that obviously have an impact. So yeah, I think it's it's an area that hasn't that's that's still maturing now in procurement. Like I say, I think I think product and goods has always been a comfort zone.

00;43;02;00 - 00;43;08;11
Alan Withers
But we're getting think as a as a profession. And so I think a lot of people are starting to understand the value that can be achieved from it.

00;43;08;14 - 00;43;36;19
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, as I was saying to you earlier, the, the recent sourcing industry group and Spend Matters research that's just come out basically not a huge surprise but globally the split between goods and services across all in goods, materials sorry, and services, the spend across all sectors globally is about 5050. But the area that's really growing is the procurement of services.

00;43;36;22 - 00;44;03;21
Jonny Dunning
So obviously that's going to differ. If it's a manufacturing organization, it's going to be more skewed towards goods, materials, a low amount of services, but growing by and a lot of service that industries like banking, finance, etc. is going to be very very high percentage high nineties huge. Yeah so you know I, I would echo what you're saying in that it's quite complicated and it's not really a problem that organizations have necessarily tried to address before.

00;44;03;27 - 00;44;30;08
Jonny Dunning
Firstly, it's an area that's been growing, so ten years ago it wasn't as important. 20 years ago was even less important. but also it's been seen as too complicated and, you know, things like measuring value in services, just much more complicated and nuance and it's just been that whole kind of thing of while we can't really do that, just look at savings and, and rightly as you guys have organized a realized, there's so much more to it than that and there's so much more that can actually be done.

00;44;30;10 - 00;44;55;15
Jonny Dunning
But it does take an effort and it does take, you know, the attitude and the ability to change. But there's so much to gain in terms of savings, in terms of supply relationships, in terms of supply chain resilience in periods of market change where if you were on top of it, instead of getting angry with the supplier for thinking that a projects overrun because of them, if you're tracking it properly and you know that it was something internal.

00;44;55;17 - 00;45;15;00
Jonny Dunning
Yep. For example that might that overrun, you can be very happy with what our supply is doing and you can understand that and you can maintain that great relationship or if they're not delivering, you can pick it up early enough that you can, you can, you can put things on the right track without having to be Armageddon. KBR so I think there is a massive amount that can be done.

00;45;15;02 - 00;45;40;24
Jonny Dunning
I do, you know, obviously working in the on the, on the technology side, specifically around services procurement, I would put forward the argument that kind of legacy or traditional procurement technology has been much more focused around goods materials. Yeah, but I feel that that's come the evolution of the ERP into kind of procure to pay and source to pay systems where it was really all about the manufacturing supply chain at that point.

00;45;40;26 - 00;46;00;19
Jonny Dunning
and when you try and bend technology that's designed for the way that goods materials slot in is quite a kind of like you said, very structured, almost binary things, versus complex supply chain services. Procurement is almost the flipside of that in the sense that it's generally a simpler supply chain set up, but it's a very complicated thing that you're actually buying.

00;46;00;21 - 00;46;15;24
Jonny Dunning
I mean, what's been your experience from a technology point of view is like going through the different roles and looking at different organizations as to how much the technology has been geared towards. that kind of goods materials set up versus the more nuanced kind of services side.

00;46;15;26 - 00;46;47;29
Alan Withers
So I completely agree. I think I think ERP systems are more focused around the traditional purchases that a company would make that be. And obviously, you know, products and goods. And so just to kind of give it an example, you know, when we were when we were managing our services via a statement of works that was on a microsoft Word piece of paper, you then have to pass that into the, you know, into our system that raises the purchase order and obviously records the spend.

00;46;48;01 - 00;47;21;02
Alan Withers
But it's very one dimensional. It's on the you know, on the 1st of December, a purchase order was raised for £20,000 to this supplier to do, you know, this description. It doesn't consider everything that goes into a successful project delivery and an unsuccessful project delivery. So things like the changes, the the variations, the, you know, the accelerations of work, the everything that goes into what is required to deliver that piece of work.

00;47;21;05 - 00;47;46;22
Alan Withers
So you've then got gaps in the process where if you're not on the ball, it gets lost, you know, So that purchase order for £20,000 is an example in reality. Now worth might be worth about £30,000 because those negotiations have gone on, you know, face to face level. We need to do more. We need to do this. We need more of this.

00;47;46;24 - 00;48;28;28
Alan Withers
And you agree that those those those costs in commercials, but it's not recorded. And then it comes to, let's say, six months time and supplier submits invoice and it doesn't match up with purchase order that was raised on the first December. Well, what happens next? You know, so that's because the LPI systems are one dimensional, one price, one invoice end of whereas systems that are being developed now such as yours, they, they support the stakeholders from start to finish, you know, and they consider everything that could go on in that time, you know, like the variations and the changes and that these scopes and the scope changes.

00;48;29;01 - 00;48;36;05
Alan Withers
So it's it's difficult to try and manage a service based on traditional systems.

00;48;36;07 - 00;49;23;22
Jonny Dunning
Yeah. And as you say, most services, by their very nature, have the potential to be a bit of a moveable feast. Yeah, scope can change, market factors can change, timings can change. And that's why although there's there's more effort involved in writing a great scope or scope of work or, you know, ultimately what becomes a statement of work where organizations are sophisticated enough to focus on real deliverables that they can kind of quantify or really describe, there's a lot to be gained versus the approach that some organizations newsagents take around services became, or it's all just like rate cuts because ultimately if consultancy pays rate card is cheaper than consultancy B consultancy, I think they

00;49;23;29 - 00;49;43;22
Jonny Dunning
get awarded the contract, but they take three times as long as they said they were going to do to complete it. You know, it's not it's not necessarily value. So I think people are getting more sophisticated with it now and that obviously you guys are kind of at the front end of that, that type of process. and you mentioned the intangible nature of services.

00;49;43;22 - 00;49;55;10
Alan Withers
It's no flex. Only every, every service is unique and different. Yeah, even the same supplier working with them on the same projects. What you ask them to do tomorrow might not be the same thing you automatically last week they just different.

00;49;55;17 - 00;50;16;27
Jonny Dunning
Yeah and I think is possibly the detail of it is is one for us to for a for a follow up conversation but assisting your stakeholders in being able to accurately describe what they want to do. I mean, partly the responsibility of that sort of thing lies with technology providers like ourselves to help solve that problem. Yeah, but also applies with procurement.

00;50;16;29 - 00;50;21;26
Jonny Dunning
And there's a lot that can be done, but that's such a fundamental part of it.

00;50;21;29 - 00;50;52;11
Alan Withers
Specifying the requirement. Yeah, that's a, that's a long, ongoing challenge in any business about service. Yeah. So it's about being able to articulate what you need someone else to do. And I was actually in, I was talking to a tutor once about tacit knowledge. So obviously the difference between explicit and tacit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is almost like muscle memory.

00;50;52;11 - 00;51;02;13
Alan Withers
You know, it's, it's acquired over years of doing something repetitively that you just understand it, you know, what you need to do, and then you try and explain it to someone else. And it's almost impossible.

00;51;02;18 - 00;51;07;25
Jonny Dunning
It's like when someone knows how to play the guitar and it's trying to teach you how to play the guitar. It's just they just know how to do it.

00;51;07;25 - 00;51;22;12
Alan Withers
So the example I use this one, so I don't. I'm guessing you drive. Yes. Okay. And so from your office to your home, I'm guessing you drive that. Yeah. And I'm guessing the traffic lights along the way. Yeah. How many are there?

00;51;22;14 - 00;51;24;28
Jonny Dunning
one, Two, three.

00;51;25;01 - 00;51;53;28
Alan Withers
Three traffic lights. Yeah. Okay. So, yes, you've had to think about that. Okay. And for you, to be honest. Well, articulate that to someone else. Yeah. Moment's notice. It's a challenge because it's just for you. It's part of that memory. And so whenever procurement and the stakeholders are trying to scope out what needs to happen, you know, you've got engineers and you've got private project managers who are excellent at what they do, you know, and then you try and ask them to explain it.

00;51;54;00 - 00;52;22;02
Alan Withers
And that's where the challenge kicks in. But then going back to the points that we've been talking about earlier on, that's why I do believe it is important for procurement to understand this business. You know, it's for example, in my team I work with a chap who, you know, we work in the railway industry as an example, you know, and before he worked for us, he was, you know, he was on the tracks, he was wearing the orange PPE and he was pulling the cable.

00;52;22;04 - 00;52;48;20
Alan Withers
And that is immense knowledge to have because, you know, similar to me when I've worked, you know, in the construction arena, you can go in and speak with the engineers, speak to the project managers, you know, on their level, and you can together start to brainstorm and map out those things. You can challenge them on what you think you know, and you ask questions and they ask you questions and that's how you develop that scope.

00;52;48;22 - 00;52;58;25
Alan Withers
You've got to understand what the business is doing. And then between you and those those stakeholders, you then start to mature those, those, those requirements.

00;52;58;28 - 00;53;21;08
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, it's that kind of theory versus reality. Is it? Because stuff will change, Things happen. There's a reality of actually getting stuff done in real life. And the point you just made there, 100% agree. And it was actually the note I just made there was about it tying into the value and the strategy. So procurement might not be the subject matter expert on that particular technical task.

00;53;21;08 - 00;53;37;15
Jonny Dunning
For example, that's going to be outsourced to a service provider, but procurement will certainly be able to advise on the content and structure of that scope of the stuff that people might need to include. Obviously, there's loads of cool stuff going on around like using AI to help generate requirements, all that sort of stuff, which kind of takes people past the blank page.

00;53;37;18 - 00;54;02;16
Jonny Dunning
But ultimately procurement influence can help make sure that the structure and content is as it should be. The buyer has ultimate responsibility for originating the this is what I need somebody to do for me or for the business. And as long as it kind of can tie in to how is this going to drive value for the organization, what is how does this align with the strategy of the organization?

00;54;02;22 - 00;54;17;29
Jonny Dunning
If you can be thinking like that, then suddenly it becomes a lot more structured and it becomes a lot more real and it becomes a lot more tangible as to what it actually is. Yeah, So it's one of those things that some organizations, I think they feel it's just impossible to get those to really describe what it is.

00;54;18;01 - 00;54;31;17
Jonny Dunning
I mean, it might change anyway, but actually you can if you take the approach you've just described, you can capture it. And also if you're capturing the way things change over time, it could be an agile process where you've got a series of sprint sprints.

00;54;31;20 - 00;54;31;25
Alan Withers
Here.

00;54;31;28 - 00;54;54;22
Jonny Dunning
Where you're not necessarily understanding what Sprint for is going to be at the point of Sprint one. Yeah, it's an iterative process, but as long as you're capturing those iterations in variation orders, change requests, whatever they might be called in a particular organization, you're informed informing this living statement of work document that goes right through the process and always means that people are accountable.

00;54;54;24 - 00;54;59;09
Jonny Dunning
And I think, you know, there's this beauty in that accountability really isn't a.

00;54;59;12 - 00;55;24;13
Alan Withers
absolutely. Absolutely. There is beauty in that accountability. I think is consistency, obviously. I mean, one of the things I like about what we are doing now is the fact that in a year's time a stakeholder can log in, view a statement of work that was written out to a service company from today, you know, and understand what it was that they were doing and how they were doing it.

00;55;24;13 - 00;55;39;18
Alan Withers
So that helps benefit them creating the next scopes that we're going to be running for that company. You know, it's it's that the whole the whole point of lessons learned and continuous improvement is that you take it with you.

00;55;39;20 - 00;56;04;20
Alan Withers
You know I think of once or twice attended lessons learned meetings in my life where, you know, it's a great workshop, things are getting really logged down and it's fantastic. And then at the end of a two hour course, we get saved, put in a file and never looked at again. You know, So yeah, it's accountability and then it's using that accountability and making sure they mean something value.

00;56;04;22 - 00;56;30;13
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, exactly Then be used for informed decision making so that accountability and talking about the kind of the process, the changes that can happen, we're getting into we're getting into like post contract stuff that you know so so what I see in a lot of organizations is generally they won't have any information below level on services, but they will have some sort of a process to manage the that up to the point of contract.

00;56;30;15 - 00;56;57;06
Jonny Dunning
Generally, that's where procurement kind of disappear out of the process. If they're even particularly involved in the first part, particularly when it's, you know, that kind of tailspin and this is this is a kind of a debate we've had we've we've spoken about a little bit previously just in terms of that downstream responsibility, because if procurement are purely targeted on savings, then kind of it's not really their bag or their their concern.

00;56;57;08 - 00;57;21;03
Jonny Dunning
And if they haven't got the ability to manage it, the downstream stuff is kind of like outside their remit. But there's so much of the value is actually in that downstream part as well. That post contract part. You know, I think we both probably agree on the fact that there is a responsibility that sits with procurement or procurement can assist with that actually ties into the stuff that happens after the contract is signed.

00;57;21;06 - 00;57;23;03
Alan Withers
Yeah, and I think.

00;57;23;05 - 00;57;24;12
Jonny Dunning
A.

00;57;24;15 - 00;58;06;00
Alan Withers
Strictly my opinion only here, you know, I think, yes, there is the idea that once contracts have been drafted, signed, then everyone's happy and the part is raised and you know, the works are then handed over to operational procurement and, you know, retreats to something else. I, I don't necessarily agree with that. You know, I don't think we should be as hands on, but we should certainly be informed and my case for that is the if anything, wants to go wrong along the delivery of those works, I would most likely be called up and asked to support.

00;58;06;03 - 00;58;38;14
Alan Withers
And if I don't know the full narrative, then, you know, I've I've I've once or twice put myself in some very embarrassing conversations where I've only heard one side of a story know, and then you try and negotiate on the behalf and it doesn't work out well. Then on top of that is if I'm also speaking to the same service company about work that I need to be done on, on the on the other end of a business, I should pre make, you know, time.

00;58;38;14 - 00;59;11;29
Alan Withers
Sure. Well I know how they how they're working you know, how are they getting on with us with live works Because if I just keep bad suppliers into the mix because you know I think they may gripe, but no one's telling me anything else, I'm going to cause the business harm and voice. On the other side of that is that if we've got a company that's working for us and it's not going well, but actually it's us that needs to change the way that we're doing to help support them, then I know that I can incorporate that into the next thing that I'm giving them, you know?

00;59;12;01 - 00;59;25;10
Alan Withers
So, yeah, you know, there is the idea that once we sign contracts, it's over to you, Mr. Project Management, and away you go. You know, this has all been written for you, but we should still be informed all the way through.

00;59;25;12 - 00;59;33;09
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, and I think it would be. It's easier to just pass over the fence when it's goods and materials because it's just a question of then receding and it's all very simple and binary.

00;59;33;17 - 00;59;34;14
Alan Withers
Goods, you know, and the way you.

00;59;34;14 - 00;59;50;07
Jonny Dunning
Go. Exactly. And with services because of the fact that they're going to change, they're going to be extended, they're going to be added to they're going to be there's going to be complications as the like you say, you don't want procurement, don't want to get in the way of the delivery process.

00;59;50;07 - 01;00;00;04
Alan Withers
You can't interfere. Yeah. You don't want to kind of, you know, be too much of a of an entity in a life project that you start to drown out what needs to happen. Yeah, absolutely.

01;00;00;07 - 01;00;19;22
Jonny Dunning
But by the same token, if you've got visibility of what's happening, then when it comes to the point of looking at a quarterly business review, for example, then there's a clear understanding. There's a clear audit trail of, okay, this is where we've ended up. And that's changed because you agreed that Mrs. Internal Stakeholder and that's changed because you guys were a bit late with it.

01;00;19;25 - 01;00;50;04
Jonny Dunning
The supplier I, so you've got the visibility, you've got the audit trail. but ultimately the, the kind of where I feel like the responsibility kind of falls into that procurement process again is the question of did you get what was contracted, did you get did the supplier deliver what was promised and what was promised might have changed 15 times from point A to point B, But if you take all of that into account, did they do it and and did they do a good job?

01;00;50;04 - 01;01;08;26
Jonny Dunning
And that kind of qualitative as well as the constructive feedback, that's where you get into some interesting stuff around being able to actually compare suppliers, even if the projects they're working on a vastly different. Yep. Because you can look at you know were they on time on budget a milestone level what's the percentage that they do that on every project they work on.

01;01;08;29 - 01;01;33;26
Jonny Dunning
how much scope creep do they typically introduce? What's their average cost overrun, what's their average win ratio? And then all of the qualitative side of it, do they do a good job? Are they, are they a diverse organization? What's their sustainable latte criteria? How well are they communicating or whatever it might be? So by by not interfering with the process, but having a process that kind of captures this information, procurement can then see the end result.

01;01;34;00 - 01;01;45;17
Jonny Dunning
Like in a good, good, the material is just a simple receiving process, and that's where I feel there's a lot of potential value in informing the wider business.

01;01;45;19 - 01;02;14;23
Alan Withers
You know, I'm centigrade and just just to tie in and this, this kind of feeds back to what we were talking about earlier on about, you know, traditional ERP systems just not being fit for purpose when it comes to this. You know, how could you use in your example of agile work and sprints, how could you manage a statement work that requires sprints, let's say four or five or six sprints along the way, You know, all tied up with KPIs and accolades of quality on time.

01;02;14;24 - 01;02;37;19
Alan Withers
You know, all those things include how many you can raise on a single power and then, you know, the variations and control of that alone would just, just not happen. yeah, I think and to your point, you need to have in essence a storyline. You know, the initial agreement was this we all know the projects change and this is how we've managed and controlled it.

01;02;37;19 - 01;02;51;01
Alan Withers
You know, we've not allowed it to run away. And at the end the final result was happy client, happy us and happy supplier. And that's where we've got to. You're more likely to achieve those three points if you've managed it all the way through.

01;02;51;04 - 01;03;21;24
Jonny Dunning
Yeah. I had a conversation with local Christine Salt Stults the other day and one of the she said she's got a sign on her desk that says nothing is on work out all I think I hope I'm quoting that correctly and this is where I want to kind of bring it into the conversation around relationship supplier relations, because, you know, some some people might look at the idea of managing that delivery process or having visibility that delivery process more effectively.

01;03;21;24 - 01;03;49;08
Jonny Dunning
What's happening with each change? What's the audit trail, who walk, who who ask for that change? What's the reason for the change? Who accepted it? Well, you know, all those sorts of details and some suppliers or something might look at it and go, that feels a bit like kind of micromanagement. But it's it's it's not it's it's ultimately if you don't have that information, if you've just got pow and there are all these sprints and things are changing, it's very easy for an organization to go, why the hell is this cost this much?

01;03;49;10 - 01;04;22;22
Jonny Dunning
You guys have gone way over budget. We're not and it's not even finished yet. We're really angry with you. We're going to beat you up. Yeah. Verses. If you're understanding everything that goes throughout the process, it gives you the opportunity to really maintain that relationship with the customer. So I'm just interested in your view really around the importance of the relationship side of it and how how that can be maintained when you're navigating issues with that kind of goal of value in mind.

01;04;22;25 - 01;05;01;08
Alan Withers
So my opinion on relationship supply relationship is that it's utmost importance really. Certainly in what we do in services, they can be wrong. You know, you have to have contracts, you have to have well drafted, you know, contracts that that, you know, protect you for for whatever else. But as long as you've got a good relationship with a supplier, you know, and it's and it's you know, you're you're managing it and you know what they're doing and they know what you're doing.

01;05;01;08 - 01;05;31;21
Alan Withers
More importantly, you know, hopefully you should never have to draw that contract out and use it in vain. I would certainly it's it's much easier to negotiate terms with a company that shares a code destiny with you. Then an adversary. You know, it makes for a very complicated conversation. You know, if you do not share the same values and you do not have confidence in each other, whatever else is a struggle, you know, So you've got to have relationships.

01;05;31;24 - 01;05;41;24
Alan Withers
Relationships are, you know, certainly in in the industries that we're working for, they are absolute is what it takes.

01;05;41;27 - 01;06;13;16
Jonny Dunning
And we kind of touched on it earlier. But there's competition for suppliers. Yep. Particularly in this rapidly changing market, you need people you can, you need suppliers you can trust. They need to feel like an extended part of your workforce to a certain extent. Yep. relationships are going to be extremely important in that. And from what you've, what we've discussed before, it sounds like, you know, communication is an extremely important part of that.

01;06;13;18 - 01;06;34;11
Jonny Dunning
But in the same way that a contract can kind of take the pressure off a conversation because, you know, it's the contract says this, we've agreed it is. And it's in black and white. If you've got accurate data capture, if you've got an accurate audit trail, do you think would you say that that potentially takes a bit of pressure off the actual personal conversation in the relationship?

01;06;34;14 - 01;06;58;29
Alan Withers
It gives you a more informed conversation, doesn't it? So I think getting to the nuts and bolts of our contracts is basically an agreement between two parties that says, you're going to do this for me and I'm going to give back, you know this to you. And if along the way this happens, I can do this. And if along the way you can do that, and it's usually split of a good scenario versus a bad scenario, you know, all going well, this is what's going to happen at the end and all going bad.

01;06;58;29 - 01;07;29;29
Alan Withers
This is what I can use to beat you with, you know, the bit in the middle with the relationship that make sure that it stays on track. And if it doesn't, you keep it in line before it goes, you know, fall to South. A great way of managing that, like you say, is data, you know. So you need to see what the performance indicators are, the key performance indicators, what the SLA is or, you know, you need to be monitoring those before they tip over into the red and making sure that you escalate appropriately, that it then gets put back in place.

01;07;29;29 - 01;07;43;18
Alan Withers
I yeah, data in used to support a contract absolutely vital. Otherwise you just two people talking to each other about bin supplier and clients of each other. You have to have that data.

01;07;43;24 - 01;08;00;08
Jonny Dunning
And it goes both ways, doesn't it? Because there might be data coming up that shows that the project is going off track for whatever reason, but if it's being captured, it gives the supplier an opportunity to say, just to flag it. The reason that this is going off track is because the key person in your end has just been off ill for the last two weeks.

01;08;00;11 - 01;08;25;16
Jonny Dunning
For example, and therefore it gives them it can maintain that relationship by having a clear understanding of what's happened and why it's happened. the other thing I was going to was going to talk about was you mentioned about having this co destiny, this kind of cooperation. What do you think is the, the key fostering that type of relationship with suppliers?

01;08;25;18 - 01;09;00;29
Alan Withers
I think so. Co-designing is the idea of being on the same, you know, on the same path. So what you what you want and what you need is aligned to what their ambitions are. I think it's important to have, you know, to have a supply chain that shares the same values as you that goes a long way. You know, you should be making sure that do they match up with our five year plan, our ambitions, what we are looking for, you know, because they are a reflection of who you are essentially.

01;09;01;01 - 01;09;21;18
Alan Withers
So you need to have have that. I think you've also got to have a very open and trustworthy conversation with a, well, relationship with them, you know, because you're going to be sharing things that, you know, you might not want to make public knowledge, you know, but you need to be able to discuss it so that you can overcome it.

01;09;21;21 - 01;09;39;29
Alan Withers
So you've you've got to have a level of trust with each other that, you know, is real, is true trust. So you've got to have direction, you've got to have confidence in each other, you know, but you've also got to have, you know, you've got have an enthusiasm for each other. You've got to want to be working with them.

01;09;40;02 - 01;09;55;29
Alan Withers
You know, you think of your opportunities that you're talking to your clients about. You've got to be having, you know, ideas that that's the person that we want to work with. If that's the company that we want to work with, you know, because that's how you that's how you grow together, just like any relationship.

01;09;56;01 - 01;10;19;18
Jonny Dunning
And that builds so much value in this kind of extended capacity. Yeah, I Was just telling you before S.E., before we started the podcast conversation today, you know, my real passion is about how organizations get work done and understanding that that kind of capacity and capability. And if you've got a really excellent supply chain, you've got great relationships with, then you've got these problem solvers at your at your fingertips.

01;10;19;18 - 01;10;35;04
Jonny Dunning
And so therefore, when you're sitting down with a customer, I mean, you know, have you been in situations where you've you've been sitting down or you're looking at a customer demand and you're thinking, well, I've got I've got some people in my supply chain that could really sort that out.

01;10;35;08 - 01;10;56;01
Alan Withers
Yeah. I mean, I think it's a very arrogant perception to say, you know, I am your client and I'm going to tell you how to do things, you know, because if that was true, most of your suppliers would say, I can't do it. Then, you know, when when you're talking to your service companies, your supply chains, you're not only sharing opportunity with them, you're sharing problems with them.

01;10;56;04 - 01;11;12;27
Alan Withers
You know, you should be able to say to them, this is what we can't do. What's your solution? And then they come to you and go, We do this, we do that, and we you know, or they know things in the market that you don't or they know innovations that you don't. So you should you have to share, you know, you have to share your problems.

01;11;12;27 - 01;11;33;25
Alan Withers
You have to tell them, you know, what your struggles are, because otherwise, you know, you're just circling around, you know, in the water trying to figure out for yourself and what's the other thing about doing the same thing over and over again and open for the same results? Yeah. So, you know, that's what you end up doing if you're not discussing invoicing it.

01;11;33;25 - 01;11;43;10
Alan Withers
I think, yeah, you just, you just have to share it and they will come back to you with those solutions.

01;11;43;13 - 01;12;08;10
Jonny Dunning
Okay, So around the relationship piece, I'll be interested in your perspectives, particularly in areas like the construction industry, about how, how the way that services are procured is fostering the kind of relationships and that kind of cooperation there is, as you just talked about, the kind of gold standard. What have you seen and what are the kind of good bits that you've taken from that?

01;12;08;12 - 01;12;29;29
Alan Withers
Okay. So with regards to the construction industry, I guess there's it's an evolution, you know, so if we were to go back in time, it's like 20, 30 years ago, you know, construction and construction companies were very much self-sufficient. So you would be a bricklayer and or a civil engineering or scaffolding company, and that's what you provided. And your client would ask you to do something.

01;12;29;29 - 01;13;01;25
Alan Withers
You do it in the way you go. But certainly, I mean, anyone who's who's been to London or any of the big cities in the UK will see, you know, the the ask on these companies is just so great that no one company can do any of it on its own. It just cannot happen. You would even need a labor force, you know, on pay that goes into the thousands, which is, you know, high risk and costly or, you know, the expense would just be huge.

01;13;01;25 - 01;13;23;11
Alan Withers
So what the construction industry has been doing over the last 20 or so years is is is getting better at subcontract management. You know, so we are I anatomy. So we are tier one. You know, we have picked up this piece of work from our client, but then we start to carve up into packages and we give it we let it out to subcontractors.

01;13;23;13 - 01;13;56;05
Alan Withers
And I think it was in the early nineties, the that was when I think a lot of the way that relationships were, were managed was very much tipped towards, you know, the big guys of the market. And then so industry leaders at the time were trying to make it a fairer way to work. So for example, the NLC contracts were first drafted and you know, first used and they aren't just, you know, contracts set out the terms conditions.

01;13;56;05 - 01;14;14;09
Alan Withers
They are whole way of work, you know, what is expected of you and what is expected of me and what can I do about it. And then if there's a problem along the way, how do we rectify it before it becomes? A bigger problem? And what is the process of me raising my concerns to you and what do you do about it and how long, you know, how much time do we have between doing that?

01;14;14;11 - 01;14;39;17
Alan Withers
So it's it's it's a whole relation ship piece that has taken and it has started to grow because, you know, the the construction industry is just built on relationships now. It has to be so those are the kind of those are the standards that I think have started to. So now move over into other industries like what I'm working in now and yeah, that's, that's, that's the direction that is taking it.

01;14;39;17 - 01;15;06;01
Alan Withers
And I think from a procurement perspective, that's where we are now starting to catch up. You know, it's that, it's that understanding of the supply chain is the obviously the commercial and the contracting of that supply chain. It's the measurement of success. The measurement, the failure, you know, what you do to rectify issues along the way. And then it's about building on those relationships to make sure that you do that.

01;15;06;02 - 01;15;15;18
Alan Withers
You know, you have successful delivery of work time, time and time again, sharing your values with each other, all of that that makes the code destiny.

01;15;15;21 - 01;15;54;11
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, and it just feels more strategic. Yeah. And it just strikes a chord with me telling him with what you said right at the very beginning about understanding what your business does and understanding what the requirement is and what what needs to be done. And if you've got that shared understanding between internal customers within your organization, procurement and the supplier as well, that's when you can really build in that kind of cohesive cooperation that everyone is basically rowing towards the same destination.

01;15;54;13 - 01;15;55;02
Jonny Dunning
Yeah.

01;15;55;04 - 01;16;21;20
Alan Withers
I mean, and that's I think we mentioned before that procurement sits great in a in a great position in a business because it should see everything that's going on. You know, if we were looking at it from a from a from a from a, you know, a very transactional point of view, you know, I've got God knows, I kind of keep count of how many project managers I've got working, you know, in the business.

01;16;21;23 - 01;16;46;27
Alan Withers
Now, each one's going to have his or her's own requirements. You know, all they see is their delivery. So they're going to come to me and say, I need this. And if I just very much transaction, you say, well, go speak to this company, off you go. You know, I'm not I'm not delivering on the service that I'm expected because I'm not telling I'm not telling that project manager anything about what they they get themselves into with that supplier.

01;16;46;28 - 01;17;15;11
Alan Withers
You know, I'm not informing the supplier of anything that they should be expecting. I'm not helping mitigate risk for each other. And I'm not obviously open up opportunities that are there amongst my other tens or hundreds of project managers that are all looking for the same thing, you know, So procurement, when done properly, is is at the cornerstone of all that strategy that goes on with the supply chain and how it interacts with your with your end user.

01;17;15;13 - 01;17;38;24
Alan Withers
Absolutely. And going back to what we said earlier on, you know, the only way I can become effective in what I do is understanding what it is that my operational side of the business does. And it's not just about, you know, well, we go in and we install and commission these things. You know, it's about, well, what does a monday look like?

01;17;38;24 - 01;17;52;09
Alan Withers
What's a Tuesday look like? What does a Wednesday look like? I have to do this and I have to fill out this form and I have to ask why now? Because that's obviously going to have an impact on what they do, the supply chain does. And is that going to have a cost incurred or is that going to have an issue with them?

01;17;52;12 - 01;17;59;02
Alan Withers
And then, you know, that's how I start to build on those strategic partnerships. Absolutely.

01;17;59;04 - 01;18;19;15
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, it's fascinating. I love it. So kind of I'm going to wrap things up now, but the last thing I really wanted to delve into with you on this, talking to what you just said around kind of like excellence in procurement and and this ability to deliver value. Something I know is that you're quite passionate about as well.

01;18;19;17 - 01;18;39;20
Jonny Dunning
And this is something you brought up to me before and and I thought it was it was a really interesting point. I hadn't really thought about it, but it's basically mentoring in procurement and the importance of that. So I'm a I'm a fan of mentoring in all areas. I've got a lady who does brilliant mentoring for me just on an overall kind of business perspective, and she's absolutely amazing.

01;18;39;21 - 01;18;52;01
Jonny Dunning
She's been hugely valuable. But but looking at it from a procurement point of view, can you talk a little bit about your kind of your views and your experiences that you've had around mentoring?

01;18;52;03 - 01;19;23;12
Alan Withers
Yeah. So I think to start with, I think, you know, mentoring is absolutely essential in our profession. It really I think you can teach good practices for a book. You know, you can you can teach contract lifecycles and, you know, calculating return investment and all that kind of good stuff, which is absolutely important. But what you get from mentor, from mentoring is, you know, soft skills.

01;19;23;12 - 01;20;07;15
Alan Withers
So emotional intelligence, negotiation, you know, that supply relationship piece, all of that good stuff that comes from, you know, working people. You pick that up much better if you've got a good mentor. Now mentor doesn't necessarily have to be someone sits with you for the next ten years and tells you how you should do things and helps you kind of along your you know, if I look back at my career, my my career so far has dotted with mentors, you know, where when I was out in Angola, for example, I worked with an absolutely fantastic operations director, you know, and he was the guy that taught me as much as I know now about construction,

01;20;07;16 - 01;20;39;10
Alan Withers
civil engineering, from a delivery perspective, what happens and how happens and why it happened. When I came back to UK, my first opportunity, I worked with a finance director. You know, she gave me my first you obviously my my first step back into the UK market you know, and she, she she showed great patience, you know, and she taught me a lot about what it takes to obviously run a business from a financial perspective and what's expected of procurement from a financial perspective.

01;20;39;12 - 01;21;03;08
Alan Withers
And now I look at my time, obviously, you know, in the last five years and I've I've been very lucky to work with some excellent procurement people. You know, not all directly linked to service as such. You know, they've they've come from manufacturing backgrounds or they've come from public sector. But that's the good thing about it is they each come with their own point of view.

01;21;03;08 - 01;21;42;25
Alan Withers
And I'm lucky enough to just be there absorbing all of that, you know? So I do I really I think mentoring is absolutely fundamental in the future of procurement. And then if we look at, as we've just said, you know, there's never been a great time to work procurement because of the things that have happened in the last few years being such an emphasis on procurement, you know, being changemaker for a business, driving efficiencies and value for a business, there should be more focus on procurement being the right, you know, a good career choice.

01;21;42;27 - 01;22;03;15
Alan Withers
so you're going to find in the next few years a lot more interest in procurement as a profession, you know, rather than most people just saying they stumbled in procurement because, you know, it was whatever came up for them when they left school or college people are going to start may be more more focused around now, actually, that's where I want to go.

01;22;03;15 - 01;22;22;20
Alan Withers
And they aim towards it. You know, it's an applied sort of career path. So yeah, I think mentoring is an absolutely vital piece in order for our for our profession to keep growing as it is, you know, at the rate it is right now. I think I can only ever champion it. Really.

01;22;22;22 - 01;22;35;01
Jonny Dunning
And do you find that with the experience of the mentoring that you've had in your career thus far, do you find it's given you the ability to kind of step back and look at things a little bit?

01;22;35;04 - 01;23;01;05
Alan Withers
I certainly step back. You where I was ten years ago and look at where I am now. And it's you know, I'm I work with some procurement professionals who are at that early stage, you know, and I, I kind of see things from their point of view because I once thought that way as well, you know, And I try and give them as much support I can and help them along their way.

01;23;01;07 - 01;23;18;19
Alan Withers
I think it helps. Yeah, I think I think it's an important part of anyone's life that you can step back and take stock of what you own, where you are and what you're doing. Absolutely. I think is strange as well. I mean, you just gave me the example of your mentors. Do you ever hear them in your head?

01;23;18;19 - 01;23;28;10
Alan Withers
Sometimes, you know, when you're doing something and then you can hear them telling you about what they would do or whatever else? And I think that's so important that they have that presence in your future.

01;23;28;13 - 01;23;48;28
Jonny Dunning
I think it's a hugely useful tool to be able to have people whose opinions you respect and they've they've built you've built up that respect for their opinions through a process like mentoring, because then effectively you can almost run, run, run. Their opinion is a program in your head. When you come to a decision point, you can kind of say, well, okay, what, what, what would they say to me?

01;23;48;28 - 01;24;05;13
Jonny Dunning
You're going to have a pretty good idea of what they're going to advise you on it. Yeah, I think that's a hugely useful tool in life. Generally to have a kind of like little bit of a Hall of Heroes where you've got some you've got some people that you can take a lead on. I liked that about their approach.

01;24;05;13 - 01;24;28;29
Jonny Dunning
How would they apply it to the specific situation? So I think, yeah, absolutely. I do make use of that, definitely. Yeah. and I think when you're talking about the changes that have happened in the last few years of, procurement to, to the prominence that is at this moment in time, one of the things that you pointed out to me before, which I hadn't really kind of thought about, which I thought was a great point, was, well, new people coming into the market, they haven't worked through COVID.

01;24;28;29 - 01;24;46;09
Jonny Dunning
They don't know what it was like beforehand. They don't know. And if and if we just, you know, who knows what what other changes are going to happen in the world? It feels things just happen more and faster and more extreme these days. That because of the changes we've been through in the last, you know, five years in the kind of global economic climate in general.

01;24;46;11 - 01;24;49;07
Jonny Dunning
But for new people coming into the market, they haven't been through that.

01;24;49;12 - 01;25;30;12
Alan Withers
We only if we look back at that time in COVID, you know, when when things were looking rather unexpected. Yeah, you know, you had half the workforce on furlough, which obviously had operational detriment towards any company you had supply chain issues, you know, and everything else. So again, going back to how this made procurement front and center, yeah, you know, procurement had to learn to think on its feet very quickly the agility and the kind of the the ability to flex towards what the company needs and all of the stuff like negotiation and supplier relationship and cost management and risk avoidance and things like that.

01;25;30;14 - 01;26;02;23
Alan Withers
Really, you know, took a took a couple of gears up, and so that is now, you know, gold dust. That's, that's the skills that we've acquired as professionals, you know, that we will take with us for the rest of our careers. But yeah, absolute to the point anyone that's coming into the profession now, you know, they, if they choose to use, you know, CIPs as the right career path, they're going to learn category management and they can learn asset management and all that good stuff.

01;26;02;23 - 01;26;19;17
Alan Withers
But you know, there's a lot of professionals out there right now that have, you know, kind of earned some scars along the way in the last five years. And that should be shared. It's that knowledge pass, you know, that knowledge handover that we've we've all experienced. It should be shared because that makes us all better.

01;26;19;20 - 01;26;42;04
Jonny Dunning
Yeah I think it's so it brings together all conversation to a kind of conclusion very nicely because ultimately the lessons that were learned over COVID, you know, made it so much more important and kind of not forced procurement, but maybe forced them, but also allowed procurement to have to very, very quickly. What does the business do? What is the business need and how can I help?

01;26;42;07 - 01;27;04;23
Jonny Dunning
Yeah. So, yeah, really interesting to hear your points of view on that and I really enjoyed that conversation. I'm glad we managed to get ourselves together. I know you're super busy and it's great we managed to actually get together and do this and hopefully we're going to be lining up a bit more of a detailed conversation about some other areas that we can we can bring in a later point in time.

01;27;04;23 - 01;27;12;19
Jonny Dunning
So I'm very much looking forward to that. But thank you very much for joining me. I really appreciate it. And yeah, it sounds like some exciting times ahead.

01;27;12;23 - 01;27;13;29
Alan Withers
Thank you very much.

01;27;14;02 - 01;27;15;00
Jonny Dunning
Pleasure. Cheers.


LATEST

Taking procurement value beyond supply chain savings

When it comes to SoW, who should be involved and how does procurement ensure everyone is adding value?

Taking procurement value beyond supply chain savings

FEATURED

Using the right mix of technology to deliver an effective extended workforce strategy

Software Strategies - Decoding Value in the Extended Workforce

When it comes to SoW, who should be involved and how does procurement ensure everyone is adding value?

The challenges of delivering value under SoW engagements