Frustrations within your procurement team

On average millennials (anyone aged 22-38) make up 50% of today’s procurement teams. That’s a great thing for the future of the profession as they have a number of attributes which are well suited:

·      They are motivated by big picture thinking

·      Are results oriented and open to collaboration

·      Have a great handle on technology and how business is being disrupted by it. 

However, Millennials are the generation most likely to change roles and to look for new opportunities. According to Deloitte’s Millennial survey 49% would quit their current job in the next two years if they had the choice. Therefore, potentially a quarter of your team could be looking outside your organisation or even the profession for their next career move. This job hopping isn’t about lack of loyalty. Millennials are impatient and eager to find new ways to innovate and grow.

So how can Procurement Leaders ensure that they retain and develop millennials and benefit from the significant skills and perspective they bring to the workplace?

Let’s start by looking at key frustrations they may have. There have been a number of studies which look at this question in general, however very little exists when it comes to considering this issue for the procurement industry specifically. I spoke directly with professionals in my network and discovered that time and time again that the same three key frustrations were raised:

1.    Process

Millennials are trying to fit into a business environment that is often built on old infrastructure. Unnecessary and wasteful procedures, hierarchy and overly time-consuming approval processes are a constant source of frustration – particularly if they have innovative ideas or suggestions for new ways to do business.

2.    Profile

Many professionals feel frustrated by the perception of procurement within their organisation. Procurement can be seen as the poor cousin of the business disciplines which puts a pressure on professionals to justify their existence. There is sometimes a reluctance to invest properly in procurement, and by extension the development of teams and the necessary systems required to deliver value.

3.    Systems/Admin

Millennials are the first generation to have only known a digital workplace, with ease of use a hygiene factor. The use of spreadsheets and labour-intensive admin processes feels akin to going back to pen and paper.

So how can you tackle these frustrations in order to grow and develop your team with consistency and continuity? Based on the points raised above, I would suggest Digital Transformation is key to the satisfaction of your team.

As an easy first step, implement a better way of tracking and reporting what your team is doing on a day-to-day basis which is simple to use, reduces the need for lengthy admin and increases the profile of your team. This is the ethos behind Projectview, a SaaS based solution from Acada that helps procurement teams deliver more.

I was speaking with a client the other day on what Projectview has done for their team and he was clear: “Bringing in Acada means that my time spent on the administrative side of things has been cut by 80-90%”. This level of reduction gives more time for busy teams to work on the things that matter, such as face time with stakeholders and suppliers or delivering more projects, faster. The information it provides to leaders allows proactive reporting to stakeholders and executives to ensure that your team doesn’t feel like they are spending all their time “justifying their existence”.

Let me know in the comments you have other views on how procurement needs to develop to retain its leaders of tomorrow. For more information on Projectview, please drop me a message – or visit

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