Challenging times force people to think differently. Right now, anyone involved in business decisions has to look closely at their choices of products, services and suppliers – and review their options to ensure they are maximising efficiencies.
This tough economic environment calls upon us all to focus on areas not even looked at in the past, to see if there are fresh ways of doing things or new product and service options that will improve our competitiveness.
That’s why Office Depot hosted its first Strategic Thinking Forum at London’s Vinopolis in May 2012. This Strategy Day was hosted by TV presenter Kate Silverton and attracted nearly 100 professionals to discuss ways for Procurement and Facilities Management teams to work closer together.
Former cabinet minister Lord Andrew Adonis told the Forum that procurement was now at the top of every department’s agenda as it has a direct ability to influence cost savings:
“Austerity forces us to think about things and the design of our services in ways we have never done before. Procurement is on the radar of all of us like never before – me included. As a Minister, my Permanent Secretary chaired procurement meetings. I can tell you that, if I were one [a Minister] today, then it would be me!”
Concern was raised about whether a constant focus on costs could have a negative impact on best practice and long-term strategy. Too narrow a focus might result in an organisation becoming penny-wise and yet pound-foolish. Petty cost-cutting alone can lead organisations to lose sight of the big picture of achieving growth through judicious investment.
A sensible and measured approach, where the quality and delivery of services and products in respect to cost is carefully calculated, will succeed in enhancing performance, and this is where Procurement and FM need to pull together to achieve a common goal.