Last week, I was invited by the EU to present at a workshop in Prague at the Czech Government. The European Commission are helping the Czech Government review the potential for a central purchasing body for public procurement.
These events are largely dominated by lawyers who can quote the EU procurement directives by heart. I am constantly amazed by the influence of lawyers on procurement strategy in European government.
Where are the buyers?
A lack of commercial skills and an over-emphasis on the directives has a really detrimental effect on the potential impact for procurement to deliver value.
And so, I was asked to share the experience of YPO and felt it was my duty to talk about something that is rarely discussed in such forums - customer service.
Instead of talking about savings, compliance and control, I started with the customer and meeting their needs. It is impossible to build a long-term sustainable procurement function without a great understanding of the needs of the end-user and by designing a service that meets those needs.
That is what we are constantly trying to do at YPO and this strategy is the only way to create long-term success.
By building a sustainable, customer focussed procurement organisation you will be able to achieve many of your other goals and deliver value.
But don't start with legislation, always always start with the customer.