In this third session form our Global Procurement Summit, we look at how to build a compelling business case for change. The session covers stakeholder buy-in, collaboration and the importance of embedding change management and adoption into your procurement transformation project.

Emily Barker, Director of Finance Business Processes at Howdens, discusses with Tim Marshall, Managing Consultant Head of Sales at excelerateds2p.

We’ve rounded up the key takeaways from the session, however you can watch the full episode on demand here.


1. Factors for Successful Change

To know where you’re heading, you need to know where you are. To that end, it’s important to understand existing processes and develop a clear vision of the required solution from that vantage point. Within that context, Baker explains that it is essential to involve change management early and identify impacted individuals.

‘It’s really, really important on these projects to bring in the change management part right at the beginning so you’re identifying all the people that will be impacted and you can say bring them with you as you go through the implementation.’

Identify where you are and determine where you want to go. Engage key parties to make the transition smooth.

2. Supplier Collaboration and Enablement

Within that context, clear communication is with suppliers is essential. Break down the onboarding process into registration and enablement steps; doing this leads to less resistance and will strengthen your case. It’ll contribute significantly to the long-term success of the project too.

The first thing we did was when we contacted our really key suppliers was to invite them onto a call that was hosted by our commercial director, explaining that we’d made the decision to upgrade.’

Invest in communicating with your key suppliers and make it clear that you want them on the journey with you

3. Integrated change management and adoption

Emily emphasised the importance of integrating change management and adoption into the project from the beginning. She added that the identification of key stakeholders and the involvement of internal communications and training teams was essential.  

That helped with identifying the key stakeholders or the personas of people that would be impacted by the change. And that theme went all the way through the project. It was everything from getting the internal communications team to help us with the comms, through to the training team helping us produce training material to put onto our website and our intranet site.’

Engage change management from the start of your transformation and communicate quickly and effectively with impacted parties


4. Tackling Cultural Resistance to Change

Culture eats strategy for breakfast, and with any major change there is cultural resistance – especially if legacy systems are involved. Effective management of that process can contribute the short-term success of any transformation process as Baker acknowledges, underscoring the need for proper engagement and buy-in throughout the process.

‘There was a lot of resistance,’ she says. ‘Some of it stems from the fact that the systems that we’ve had have been in place nearly 20 years. So there’s people that have been working here for a long time with very set systems. To change things like accounts payable and vendor onboarding, they’re quite major changes.’

Be ready for cultural resistance by understanding the way your new system will impact those who use it. Engage with affected parties throughout the process to create buy-in.