As specialist procurement recruitment consultancies will testify, finding the optimum talent for vacant procurement jobs is crucial – but an industry expert maintains that getting the best out of that talent depends on the level of procurement maturity achieved by the organisation in which the new recruit will be working.

Procurement veteran Bill McCouch, who has 40 years of procuring experience in the transportation industry, observes in Fleet Ownermagazine that procurement has evolved dramatically in recent years, and to see the function at its best, businesses would do well to perform a procurement maturity assessment to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

He outlines four procurement developmental levels – it becomes clear that practitioners holding procurement and supply chain jobs in organisations at lower developmental levels will be impeded in delivering their true value to the business:

  • ‘Laggard’: Laggard procurement teams are trapped in the past, operating tactically instead of strategically. Other colleagues tend to see them as a necessary evil whose primary purpose is cutting costs and only making purchases “on a reactive, as-needed basis”.
  • ‘Traditional’: These teams tend to operate on a ‘three-bid-and-buy’ basis, with most purchases being purely reactive and price being elevated to the primary consideration. Practitioners’ workloads consist predominantly of inventory management, payment order processing and contract renewals. According to McCouch, most procurement teams today fall into this category.
  • ‘Augmented’: Augmented teams understand that procurement can add value to a business. They practice strategic sourcing so that they’re evaluating more than mere price, and engage in good supplier relationship management to gain better visibility into spend and to collect more data to set metrics so that success can be measured.
  • ‘World class’: This is where talented practitioners looking for the best procurement jobs want to be. Currently the rarest procurement teams, world-class operators perform a strategic role in their organisations and embrace a culture of continual improvement that places them on the cutting edge of newly emerging technologies to achieve maximum business value.

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