The Procurement Call for Agile, What does it mean?

By Andressa Reis and Hervé Legenvre

Today, Procurement teams need to embrace the agile ways of working in order to work in synch with their stakeholders. The present article describes how an agile vendor selection process has been adopted by a Software procurement team. It describes its advantage, how it is performed and when it is relevant. This methodology can be adapted to other market domains if the mindset and the success factors are maintained.

 

Agile methodology has been rocking the IT World in recent years. Companies use it for developing software; it helps them to be more collaborative and effective when uncertainty prevails. The Agile transformation is now calling for change in the Procurement function as the standard supplier selection process does not fit the agile mindset. The present article will outline what agile means for procurement; how a Software Procurement team has embraced agile to select suppliers; and what the success factors for agility in procurement area

 

The key for strategic agility is to recognise external changes early enough and to allocate resources to adapt to these changing environments.

What is Agile?

The word agile appears everywhere today. On a day to day basis, being agile is often associated with short daily stand-up meetings where people share feedback on projects and prioritise their next steps. Agile project management is an iterative development process, where feedback is continuously gathered from users and stakeholders to create the right user experience. This is very common for software development. Developers focus on producing manageable chunks of projects; they update their priorities daily, thanks to the feedback provided to them. Different methods can be used to perform an Agile process, these include Scrum, eXtreme Programming, Lean and Kanban. Supply chain agility is the ability of a supply chain to cope with uncertainty and variability on offer and demand. An agile supply chain can increase and reduce its capacity rapidly, so it can adapt to a fast-changing customer demand. Finally, strategic agility is the ability of an organisation to change its course of action as its environment is evolving. The key for strategic agility is to recognise external changes early enough and to allocate resources to adapt to these changing environments.

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About the Authors

Andressa Reis has worked as an IT Procurement buyer in several industries over the past 7 years. She has a Master in Computer Science for Business Management (Brazil) and works as a Global Category Buyer in Heineken Global Procurement (Netherlands) specialised in Software and IT purchases. She developed the Agile Vendor Selection process in 2018 while concluding her certification of Purchasing Manager in EIPM.

Hervé Legenvre is Professor and Research Director at EIPM, an Education and Training Institute for Purchasing and Supply Management. He manages educational programmes for global clients, conducts researches and teaches on innovation and purchasing transformation, Hervé holds a PhD from Université Paris Sud.

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