Market Intelligence Survey

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2 2 INTRODUCTION Market Intelligence Survey Editor s introduction Welcome to the market intelligence survey carried out by Supply Management magazine and Expense Reduction Analysts. We asked 360 procurement professionals (CIPS members) ranging from CPOs to junior buyers, about the nature of the challenges they face in regard to indirect procurement and managing tail-spend, and how they feel these could be addressed. The research came up with fascinating insights: for instance 71 per cent of our respondents regarded maverick spend by non-procurement professionals as the biggest challenge relating to indirect procurement. And procurement professionals are divided on how this challenge should be addressed: about a third think all employees with some responsibility for spend should get procurement training, and a similar proportion think that control for indirect procurement should be handed to the procurement function. This survey highlights the challenges associated with getting better control of organisations indirect spend. It also offers some potential solutions from those really in the know procurement professionals themselves. I would like to thank everyone for taking part. Anna Scott Special projects editor Supply Management

3 INTRODUCTION 3 Introduction from Expense Reduction Analysts As a specialist procurement consultancy, we are well aware of some of the issues businesses have in controlling indirect spend, as well as the difficulty some procurement functions have with gaining the proper status within organisations. We re delighted to work with Supply Management on this research, and there are some telling insights from the report. For example, the procurement teams we spoke to are split down the middle about how best to tackle maverick spend by nonprocurement staff. It s a complicated picture and one not easily overcome with basic strategy or sweeping statements. The reality is that effective procurement requires focus, but the survey also shows that the focus is constantly shifting between direct and indirect spend and not always in the same direction. There are huge gains to be made by allowing procurement strategies to be given higher status by businesses, and better analysis of indirect spend perhaps by allowing procurement functions to have greater visibility across all areas of spend can have significant benefits. Quick survey facts 47% 71% per cent of respondents believe the biggest indirect challenge for their business is the maverick spend of non-procurement employees. Over one third of those respondents think training these employees could reduce maverick spend. Nearly half think higher status in the boardroom would increase the function s influence. 42 per cent think better oversight and reporting spend would do that. Our respondents manage up to 27 indirect categories from professional services to workwear and HR services to temporary labour. It s the simple and clearly-measurable indirect categories that procurement tends to oversee. The highest proportion of procurement professionals have complete control of spend in office consumables (52 per cent) and office equipment (46 per cent). However, indirect categories of complex, specialist service areas typically fall outside procurement s remit. The highest proportions of respondents have no control over spend in legal services (42 per cent) and audit/accountancy (37 per cent). Procurement professionals seem to be excluded from certain predictable categories those of complex services but there is a spectrum of responses within our research. Influence is wielded by 49 per cent and 39 per cent for audit/accountancy and legal services, respectively. Communication between procurement and other internal stakeholders is cited as a problem by 61 per cent of respondents. Nearly half think higher status in the boardroom would increase procurement s influence.

4 4 PROCUREMENT FUNCTIONS Q. How many staff are in your procurement department? % 19.72% % % % 25.00% Q. Who is responsible for managing indirect costs in your organisation? Don t know Operational staff Senior dept. heads Procurement Finance Procurement Finance Senior department heads Operational staff Don t know Analysis Procurement professionals have responsibility for managing indirect costs in nearly two-thirds of our respondent organisations. But they do not have sole control. Indirect costs appear to be the shared responsibility of a number of different departments. As well as procurement having power, a significant proportion of organisations also give responsibility for purchasing goods and services used by internal stakeholders rather than customers or clients to finance (39 per cent), senior department heads (42 per cent) and operational staff (25 per cent). This joint control could be explained by the varied number of procurement professionals that our respondent organisations have small procurement teams may report into finance and share control and responsibility with them, for example. Or larger procurement functions may find that they are sharing control of marketing spend with marketing directors, for instance.

5 ORGANISATIONAL PRIORITIES 5 Q. What best describes your organisation s priority with regards to procurement? Never assessed priorities No time to assess Indirect costs 13.61% 29.17% Indirect costs are the main priority Direct costs are the main priority 41.39% We try to focus on both cost and growth priority Indirect costs looked at last 6.67% Indirect costs are always the last element of spend to be looked at Direct costs 0.56% 3.61% We don t have time to review indirect costs We have never assessed our indirect costs Focus on both cost and growth 5.00% Q. Have attitudes to procurement within your organisation changed in the last 12 months? 70% True False Don t know % Analysis The focus has shifted to direct costs The focus has shifted to indirect costs Both direct and indirect costs are now focused on Nothing has changed we are still focused on core costs Procurement priorities for most of our respondents tend to fall into three categories. The largest proportion (41 per cent) focus on both cost and growth, for 29 per cent direct costs within procurement are the main focus and 14 per cent have prioritised indirect procurement. Indirect procurement is the poor relation. For some respondents, business running costs are not addressed: 7 per cent say they are always the last element of spend to be considered, 4 per cent have never assessed indirect spend and 1 per cent don t have the time. But this is changing. The last year has seen a focus on both indirect and direct costs by 65 per cent of our companies, and a quarter report that the spotlight has now moved to indirect costs. There are contradictions: 27 per cent say priorities have shifted towards direct costs, 25 per cent report the same for indirect costs and 45 per cent say nothing has changed. But companies seem to be either looking more at indirect spend and are already prioritising indirect procurement, or they are shifting their focus towards it.

6 6 INDIRECT PROCUREMENT CHALLENGES Q. What challenges do you face in relation to indirect costs? 80% % Maverick spend of non-procurement employees with purchasing power Lack of ownership by stakeholders Misclassified items and poor reporting Little understanding of where indirect procurement spend lies and the amount If it ain t broke don t fix it attitude Low influence as a department when liaising with internal stakeholders Time spent managing suppliers No incentives for stakeholders Lack of control of buyers behaviour Controlling low-price high frequency items Managing and approving invoices Unable to see potential for consolidation of suppliers Slow to react to changes in what we buy Analysis While the range of challenges that procurement professionals face in relation to indirect procurement is wide, by far the most significant issue faced by 71 per cent of our respondents is maverick spend of nonprocurement employees with purchasing power. In turn, this maverick spend is closely linked to other challenges our respondents face, including misclassified items and poor reporting (46 per cent) and little understanding of where indirect procurement spend lies and the amount (45 per cent). However, our responses illustrate that there are many reasons behind indirect procurement challenges: lack of stakeholder ownership; procurement s low influence as a stakeholder; time spent managing suppliers and a lack of incentives for stakeholders, for example. Any organisation can face any number of these, and if senior management or procurement professionals themselves have the attitude of if it ain t broke, don t fix it, then it becomes more likely that little will be done to address the challenges.

7 STAKEHOLDER CHALLENGES 7 Q. What are the challenges you face between the procurement function and stakeholders in your organisation? % Communication and understanding Timely involvement Alignment and buy-in Conflicting goals and objectives Resource availability Cost reduction seen as only reason None Analysis Its perceived low status within organisations continues to afflict procurement, creates challenges in dealing with stakeholders, and as we can see from the range of challenges they face this has big implications for how well indirect procurement is managed. The top three stakeholder challenges for procurement professionals are linked: communication and understanding (61 per cent), timely involvement (52 per cent) and alignment and buy-in (48 per cent). If one is tackled they could reduce the impact of the others. Better communication and understanding is likely with more timely involvement and both will enable and be enabled by better alignment and buy-in. But for this to happen adequate resources are needed within the procurement function and the rest of the organisation. Nearly half (45 per cent) of our respondents say resource availability is one of the challenges they face between procurement and internal stakeholders. This must be tackled first to address the other challenges.

8 8 INDIRECT INTRODUCTION SPEND Q. Within your organisation where does procurement have control or influence over indirect costs? 60% Have control Has influence No control/influence % Audit/ accountancy Business process outsourcing Business travel Catering Components Consultancy Corporate payments Facilities management Fleet and fuel 60% % HR services IT hardware IT services IT software Legal services Logistics/distribution Marketing Office consumables Office equipment 80% % Packaging Postal/ delivery services Print Professional services Telecoms Temporary labour Utilities Waste management Workwear

9 INTRODUCTION INDIRECT SPEND 9 Q. How much is your organisation s total annual indirect spend? < 300k 100m+ 300k 1m 1m 3m 50m 100m 3m 10m 20m 50m 10m 20m 11.94% Less than 300, % 10 million 20 million 11.11% 300,000 1 million 12.22% 20 million 50 million 11.94% 1 million 3 million 10.28% 50 million 100 million 11.11% 3 million 10 million 24.44% 100 million+ Analysis The level of control, influence, or lack of both, that procurement functions have varies across different categories of indirect spend. When it comes to control, procurement functions rule the roost in office consumables (56 per cent), office equipment (46 per cent) and workwear, packaging and logistics and distribution (38 per cent each). But they have neither control nor influence in legal services (42 per cent), audit accountancy (37 per cent) and marketing (36 per cent). The picture is complicated, however. Procurement functions have influence in professional services (51 per cent), business process outsourcing (51 per cent) and consultancy (50 per cent). Levels of control and influence appear to operate on a spectrum for the procurement profession. And while they may not have control of particular indirect categories, they typically still share overall responsibility for indirect spend with finance and other departments.

10 10 DIFFICULTIES MANAGING INDIRECT PROCUREMENT Q. What is the single biggest reason that prevents you managing indirect costs better? No reason, I m doing everything physically possible 51.94% 48.06% No reason, I m doing everything physically possible My reason is... My reason is... The viewpoint of senior management they consider the spend too important/crucial to be managed by the purchasing function. Therefore it is left with non-purchasing trained staff managing the areas with the greatest spend and potential for saving. It is often said they want good service not the best price. It is now our job to demonstrate that purchasing is about best price with the same, if not improved, service. I am currently having to change attitudes towards procurement. Stakeholders are given free reign to purchase what they want despite having a procurement department in place. I do not have the power that the biggest offenders in this area have, some are at a very senior level. Also the senior manager in procurement does not have the resources to take on additional spend control. We need more people with softer skills that go beyond hard procurement stakeholder engagement, communication, analysis, influence and persuasion skills. Too many stakeholders across the business units. A higher status, alignment and buyin to procurement at board-level. Lack of alignment between procurement s desire to improve value and organisation s need to produce cost savings year-on-year. Everyone thinks they can do procurement better, because they don t think about the indirect costs! Too much maverick spending. Training of operational staff who procure indirect items on a day-to-day basis. Trying to convince stakeholders we are more than just price-cutters wanting control of their budgets.

11 DIFFICULTIES MANAGING INDIRECT PROCUREMENT 11 We are a government procurement department so can only advise other departments on spend rather than take ownership which I find frustrating. We can provide the best advice but the stakeholders can decide to overrule our advice and do what they want. We don t really have any visibility of our spend. Lack of internal stakeholder buyin, distant supplier relations, big or unmanageable supplier database. Lack of understanding of spend, for classification and planning purposes. Lack of support we are not considered professionals. Just people who get in the way. A multiple P2P system with no categorisation of the spend. Transparency. Procurement is subordinated we cannot make any decisions. Reporting, transparency and visibility. Forecasting also makes it difficult to build a demand profile that suppliers can quote and stock against. Poor senior management buy-in. Bureaucracy! We have 70 per cent indirect spend under control, but could improve with more resources. We have no ability to control what the devolved departments do. Organisational complexity. There is only one of me. Organisational-wide transparency of indirect spend cost models and transactions. departments unwillingness to allow purchasing control to be centralised. Our internal decision-makers keep changing the goalposts. We also have regular restructuring and movement of internal subject matter experts. Political choices motivate rather than a procurement-based decision. P2P processes are almost non-existent. Poor departmental planning. A large number of people involved in buying such services in the organisation. Company culture reluctant to change. Difficulty obtaining accurate spend information across our national organisation. Distributed resource and a lack of focus. Focus is heavily on high value direct spend.

12 12 MAVERICK SPEND Q. Name one thing your organisations could do to reduce maverick spend? Reduce the number of stakeholders Hand control to the procurement function Consolidate number of suppliers Outsource procurement where maverick spend occurs Purchase training / process for non-procurement professionals 31.39% 34.17% 2.22% 16.11% 8.06% 8.06% Hand control to the procurement function Purchase training/process for non-procurement professionals Outsource procurement where maverick spend occurs Consolidate the number of suppliers Reduce the number of stakeholders Analysis Many of our respondents recognise that maverick spending particularly by non-procurement professionals is a big issue for them in controlling their organisations indirect procurement. But when it comes to the best way to tackle this, our respondents disagree. Similar proportions offer different solutions. Some clearly believe that handing control of indirect spend to procurement will be the one single thing to improve this area of purchasing. Training in purchasing and processes for nonprocurement professionals is another solution, as is outsourcing or reducing the number of suppliers or stakeholders. While there is little consensus on the best ways to tackle maverick spend, our respondents offer procurement professionals a range of suggestions to consider, which could be introduced by organisations either individually or in tandem.

13 IMPROVING UNDERSTANDING OF INDIRECTS 13 Q. What would help improve your understanding of your organisation s indirect costs? Ability to accurately benchmark prices and services Analysis of the supply chain and commercial commitments Implementation / use of a P2P system More resources to monitor supplier transactions 53.61% 42.22% 30.28% 45.56% 5.83% Analysis of the supply chain and commercial commitments More resources to monitor supplier transactions Implementation/use of a P2P system Ability to accurately benchmark prices and services Analysis At a certain level, procurement professionals know that they have the skills and experience to improve indirect spending, especially among non-purchasing professionals. But they still fall short in some areas. Whether it is the result of not having sight of indirect procurement spend by other departments, or simply not understanding their commercial commitments, procurement professionals must take steps to improve their understanding of their organisation s indirect costs. Most significantly, more than half (54 per cent) need to be able to analyse their supply chain and commercial commitments and almost half (46 per cent) must have the ability to accurately benchmark prices and services. Certain factors can help address this challenge: 30 per cent believe implementing and using a procureto-pay system could improve their understanding, for example. And resources remain an issue: 42 per cent think that having more people and systems to monitor supplier transactions will make all the difference.

14 14 INFLUENCE Q. What would best help increase the influence and profile of procurement in the organisation? Proof of yearon-year cost reductions Higher status in the boardroom Part of stakeholders performance appraisal Better oversight and reporting metrics Establish an incentive / reward scheme Arranging events for suppliers and non-procurement purchasers More training available 47.04% 41.97% 36.06% 15.21% A higher status in the boardroom Better oversight and reporting metrics of departments spend More training available to stakeholders Arranging events for suppliers and nonprocurement purchasers 11.55% 33.80% 32.68% 3.38% Establish an incentive/reward scheme for stakeholders Part of stakeholders performance appraisal Proof of year-on-year cost reductions Analysis Generally, our respondents feel that having greater influence and status can help them to gain more control and understanding of indirect spend. Higher boardroom status a perennial concern for some in the procurement profession is considered by 47 per cent of our respondents to be the key to increasing their profile. However a spot in the C-Suite alone is not the answer. For procurement professionals themselves, recognising how benchmarking can help them understand and report their data is vital for getting to grips with indirect spend and better overseeing other departments metrics. But they also need to communicate to their key stakeholders the ways that fundamental procurement tools and techniques work to deliver value and cost savings. Introducing incentives for non-procurement stakeholders and including good procurement within their performance appraisal and reward schemes can help to ensure effective spending habits within organisations are maintained.

15 CONCLUSION 15 Conclusion Most of the problems that procurement professionals have in managing indirect spend are linked to other stakeholders. Maverick spend, a lack of oversight or control, low status and poor levels of influence, weak communication these issues could be managed through better relationships. There are exceptions of course. There is recognition by our respondents that they need to develop a greater understanding of the commercial imperatives of the organisation, and the ability to benchmark data. Systems such as P2P can also improve indirect procurement processes and data, respondents agree. Very often it comes back to the way procurement and other functions finance, section heads, budget holders work together. Our respondents think if procurement had a higher status and overall control, things could improve. That view isn t held by everyone. Training in purchasing skills for non-procurement professionals is a recurring theme in our research. It seems that by raising procurement s profile more generally educating company leaders about what indirect spend actually looks like, training everyone who can spend company money in best procurement practice and communicating more widely about how procurement s involvement can help companies greater value from indirect spend can truly be realised. Procurement professionals may find areas in which they have little influence or control are those which require specialist category expertise and effective procurement techniques. Understanding where they need to improve their knowledge will strengthen procurement s status and allow them to realise financial benefits. It s a learning curve for everyone involved. About the participants 360 Supply Management readers with differing levels of seniority took part in our online survey. One quarter have more than 21 people within the procurement function, and just over 40 per cent have between 1 and 5 procurement professionals. Over 15 per cent have 6-10 procurement professionals, and almost 15 per cent have between 11 and 20 team members. Respondents represent a wide spectrum of UK business, ranging from those with an annual turnover of over 500 million to companies with a yearly revenue of up to 1 million. Almost one quarter have an indirect spend of more than 100 million. The rest are spread between annual indirect spend of less than 300,000 up to between 50 million and 100 million.

16 Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) is a global network of specialist procurement advisors. Its teams enable organisations to save money and boost business performance through effective procurement, improved supplier management and smarter spending habits. ERA s sector specialists build long-term relationships with medium to large enterprises, going beyond short-term gains to deliver objective analysis, informed market expertise and continued financial benefits. Group Office 3 Meridians Cross, Ocean Way, Ocean Village, Southampton, Hampshire, SO14 3TJ. tel: web:

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