Top 10 Tips for Building Procurement Capability

by Jacqui Priestly, Executive Manager Capability


Procurement leaders are increasingly asked to achieve more with less. To do this, we see capability development as a core aspect to driving procurement performance. In this ArcBlue Top 10 Series, we provide tips to increase your teams capability.

1. Leverage a competence framework

Using a structured set of knowledge, skills and attributes, you can define what excellent looks like, establish the baseline and measure results. You can then set a vision for your team. Do you want them to be the best in the region? The industry? By aligning team development to the goal, you can gain additional buy in from individuals.

2. Know your team’s strengths and development areas 

This will allow you to target investment in the right places. You should also understand your priority areas – there is no point investing in a gap if it’s not important! This will also help you hire people to fill gaps you may have.

3. Identify champions on specific topics 

By allowing individuals to coach on their area of strength, you are reaffirming and stretching their own skills. It is different to teach than to know. (Bonus tip – don’t always use the more senior people to act as the champions).

4. Focus on informal learning, coaching and interactive workshops 

The 70:20:10 methodology states that 70% of the learning you do is on the job, 20% through mentoring and coaching and only 10% is through formal channels. Even following a face-to-face training session, you should make sure you embed the learning on the job. There are some key aspects to ensure informal programs effective – protect the time for these workshops, set clear objectives and know what topics should be covered and measure the outcomes.

5. Don’t just focus on development areas!

You can gain a lot more by strengthening a strength. Some people will never be good at certain things – play to their strengths. This has the additional benefit of building confidence (we all like doing what we’re good at).

6. Promote networking opportunities

Your team can learn a lot from other organisations, stakeholders, suppliers and networking events. There are many inexpensive networking opportunities available.

7. Encourage individuals to own their development

Encourage your team to build their own development plan which links to their career goals. Obviously you will still need to guide through budget constraints and practicality but by empowering individuals to own their development means they are invested in it.

8. Foster mentoring and cross-functional exposure

Encourage team members to seek mentors and experience outside of procurement. By expanding their horizons, you will gain the commercial benefits long term.

9. Invest in tailored training programs

Participants learn more when they can relate to the training – using case studies and activities which can be implemented back at their desks. eLearning is a great way to embed the training and can be used for a refresher.

10. Have a plan across your whole team

Have a group development plan which links your competency framework to your skills analysis to your team and organisational goals.