I’ve always held the view that as a Procurement leader you must be able to demonstrate value – and to me that includes the cost of your team vs. the savings, cost reductions efficiencies and business improvements you look to achieve. Essentially a good return on investment.

Lately, however, there seems to be a trend towards larger teams—especially within the public sector. This is rather surprising and perhaps ironic given the current economic climate but also considering the squeeze and focus on public sector wages and finances.

I don’t believe that the size of the team is dependent on spend levels. I think it’s more to do with whether or not you wish to account for every transaction through procurement—or if the organisational leaders would rather procurement to focus purely on value and take a more project driven approach.

Previously I’ve led and worked within large teams and a relatively small spend as well as virtually standalone, addressing far higher numbers. So there’s clearly some big differences in perceptions out there.

The danger is that by building such large teams you may lose focus on what procurement is there to achieve—true tangible value and organisational benefit. You can end up becoming driven by a desire to control rather than demonstrate worth, which is contrary to good business partnership. This leads to a lack of trust across the wider business with procurement seen as the spend police rather than an enabler. You’re also going to create a whole lot more work for yourself—thus continuing to lose sight of the real priorities for procurement.

My view? Keep it lean. I can see no real justification for large teams with relatively small spend, even within the public sector where compliance is key. Recruit the right individuals and you’ll see the results—and at the same time become valued by the organisation.

Welcome your views as always …
This originally appeared on LinkedIn.


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