INTERVIEW WITH INGRID DE DONCKER, FOUNDER OF PTI (IRELAND)
Original article can be viewed here: http://procure2innovate.eu/stories/?c=search&uid=l6QpssT1
The procurement transformation institute has been recently created. Why was it important for Ireland to have a competence centre pushing for innovation procurement?
The Procurement Transformation Institute was established on the back of the frustration of its founders to get real traction to “buy right” and “buy the right thing” for the benefit of all parties in Ireland. We were seeing a very fragmented landscape in relation to the capability and capacity of procurement professionals, a tactical approach to the procurement function itself and a genuine disregard for the value of procurement in organisations, in the private or public sector.
Between 60-70% of the turnover or expenditure of any enterprise is spent with third party providers and the lost opportunities by not “Buying right” and not “Buying the right thing” were becoming a real challenge for Ireland to stay competitive in an ever fast moving and changing environment. We decided to do something about that.
The Procurement Transformation Institute (PTI) was established in 2018 and PTI’s Vision is to be the Performance Hub for procurement in Ireland, for the advancement of the profession towards achieving best value for money decisions for People, Profit, Planet by developing Ireland’s current and future talent pool. This challenge of innovation is being addressed by the Procurement Transformation Institute (PTI) as an integrated Procurement Competency Centre.
• Culture – Procurement Maturity Framework –capacity building framework for organisation
• Process – Standardised Approach – efficient & lean decision flows
• People – CPD Program – continuous professional capabilities development
• Knowledge – Community – peer to peer learning and best practices from EU and OECD
• Technology – advising on latest augmented intelligence tools
Both public and private sector have common challenges when it comes to procurement and innovation.
We have developed a national and international movement to build procurement capacity and capabilities for the benefits of (1) the individual – career development, wage growth remuneration and work satisfaction -, (2) the organisation – lower costs, higher profit, margins, better governance and sustainable growth -, (3) the economy – job creation and attractiveness internationally, and (4) Europe -sustainability agenda and Procurement of Innovation through Collaborative Procurement.
PTI has a particular focus on innovative procurement, with one National and two International Research Projects ongoing on this topic. PTI acts as a gateway that enables innovation brokerage between buyers and sellers, between regions and industries, between Ireland and Europe. PTI has a unique position as the only Irish participant in the EU consortium P2I, in which we collaborate regularly and have access to case studies, best practices, resources and knowledge. PTI’s growing community consists of full and part-time buyers, procurement academics, professionals, industry leaders and subject matter experts; the ethos of this forum is ‘collaborate to innovate’
What is the level of awareness on innovation procurement among procurers, policy makers and innovative suppliers in Ireland?
In Ireland, there is currently no consistent approach in how decision-makers identify, recruit, develop and measure procurement competencies to continuously deliver agility, innovation and value for their organisations.
As per the latest PWC innovation benchmarking profile report and scorecard in November 2018, that was commissioned by the EU Commission, Ireland is a follower in the innovation procurement arena. PTI is trying to change that: PTI has taken a leading role in collaborating with all stakeholders in Ireland to advance procurement excellence and becoming the Irish gateway for European engagement in procurement innovation. The PTI has created a community that fosters peer-to-peer learning, innovation, social inclusion and sustainable solutions.
In our plight to improve the awareness and the impact of innovation procurement in Ireland, we are delighted to be supported by both public and private enterprises who care about the value of procurement. They give their time freely to be on our advisory council and they guide our thinking and we are proud to have public, private and academia giving us their thinking power to make a difference.
What services are you offering?
PTI provides a range of services through which we promote procurement innovation.
- Academic and accredited training courses
- Topical workshops on innovation and sustainability
- Strategic procurement support to national programs such as GPP4Growth
- Coordination support for PCP/ PPI projects with the support of our EU colleagues
- Online procurement community which facilitates peer-to-peer learning, innovation, social inclusion and sustainable solutions
- Networking opportunities and events
Can you already tell us about any upcoming activities for 2019?
Procurex April 4th 2019 Dublin. PTI will have a stand and will collaborate with the HSE, the health agency for the Irish Health Sector, to provide a training session and workshops on procurement of innovation. Procure2Innovate speakers Sarah Bedin, Leonora Yannakis and Doris Scheffler will present at the conference on behalf of PTI and Procure2Innovate.
University Limerick for buyers and sellers alike. In June 2019, there will be a Sustainability and Circular Economy workshop. In August 2019, TAIEX procurement innovation workshops (at application stage) will be organised.
Innovation Procurement Brokers workshop, Cork, June 25-26th of June. We will have five consortium members, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Austria and Ireland. We will discuss aggregation of needs across consortium and mapping solutions providers across regions.
You would like SMEs to engage in public tendering. What are the benefits for them to do so?
PTI engages with SMEs to help them achieve greater Value For Money
- Increase their current participation levels from the low base of only 10%. SMEs can be discouraged by the time, effort and work involved in tender proposals. This process needs to be refined and simplified to make it easier for them to participate.
- Promote SME awareness of the long term benefits of participation
- Submit stronger more competitive tender proposals in Ireland and EU marketplace
- Increase their win rate which will support SME growth and regional impact
- Develop best practice procurement skills that can be used in their business the day to day
- Removes the barriers to EU markets
PTI further supports Joint tendering where requirements are satisfied by a group of SMEs as a whole and not by each individual member. SMEs can by their very nature be a little inward looking and need to be convinced of the merits of forming consortium, combining their individual strengths and working together. PTI assists in fostering the participation of SMEs under joint proposals in public tenders. This increases the spread and ripple impact, allowing SMEs to grow, increase employment and bring further business to region.
While the short term goals will be to focus on Irish public spend, the longer term goas will be to enable Irish SMEs to also compete in the growing European marketplace.
PTI is cognisant of the potential impact of Brexit on Irish business and the need to assist SMEs in securing new European markets and public sector spend that is still available to Irish Business post Brexit and OJEU implications, and becoming suppliers of Innovation.
PTI is collaborating in the European COSME InnoBroker Call, which aims to establish an Innovation Procurement Brokers network. This project will facilitate the procurement of innovative goods and services between contracting authorities, suppliers of innovation (with a special focus on SMEs and start-ups), investors, and researchers. As part of this project, PTI will establish an Irish Procurement Innovation Broker network that is a matchmaker between progressive public procurement buyers and innovative suppliers, while this innovative community will have engagement and impact for EU partners also.
Being a fairly new Competence Centre, what are the benefits of being part of the Procure2Innovate network and cooperating with more experienced networks?
Ireland directly benefits from the activities of the Procure2Innovate Network through the support received from their existing IP, best practices and toolkits. PTI has the opportunity to learn from its peers about common challenges, initiatives, pressures, obstacles and opportunities, and to share these with local/regional SMEs in Ireland.
We are so proud to be part of the P2I family and we have already learned so much from our first buddy country, The Netherlands, where PianoO truly is leading in their process of buying innovation and circular economy. Working with Floris, Baldwin and Jacobien has been very beneficial as the questions we have as a new competency centre, they immediately had the answers to.
Our key learnings to date:
• Understanding what Best Practice Buying processes are for Innovation, Circular Economy, Sustainability and Social Inclusion.
• Sharing of ways of working for Buyers and Suppliers to collaborate on buying innovation.
• Understanding how other competence centres started up and share and communicate information with their audience. PTI aspires to adapt these learnings and emulate through our PTI Community.
• Having access to a fully transparent model of tools and templates on how to innovate using an Innovative Tool Box.
• Sharing of frameworks which support buyers without the risks associated with buying innovation.
• Through the Procure2Innovate Network, the PTI has a greater understanding of the need for buyers to have practical experience and that Government Buyers need to involve themselves in the innovation process to make informed and better buying decisions.
We sincerely thank all of the other members in our Procure2Innovate consortium for their guidance and openness. This is a unique collaborative format that will deliver more than the Procure2Innovate project deliverables, it is already creating a cross-border cohesive thinking around the common challenges we all encounter in our respective national borders. I would hope that the thought leadership that will derive from this collaborative approach of thinking will become the template of many others.
Image copyright: Image by “PTI”
The clock slowly ticks towards the end of the game. The score is leaning heavily in their favour, but the players at both sides still power on and push for success. Each play, tactic and technique has been well prepared and planned for the win, everyone pulls together and ultimately the best team wins.
Other than having incredibly skilled players, a playbook is essential to any team’s success. A playbook for tender lifecycle management is as essential to a tender’s success as it is for a team’s. At iDDea we are proud to provide a variety of services within and beyond the procurement arena. In the first of a series delving into our specific expertise, we will look at our proven playbook for tender lifecycle management.
But before we can look at the playbook and what it entails, we must first look at what a “tender” means to us at iDDea. The word “tender” on its own is a homonym, which means it is a word that contains multiple meanings: think of bat, or matter, or pen. Imagine swinging a baseball bat at some fruit bats. The words make total sense in their context, but on its own, ‘bat’ can mean any number of things. Tender is the exact same. If you search for the meaning of the word “tender”, you can find a plethora of definitions. So, we already have a mountain to climb in relation to understanding what it means. However, since you’ve come to iDDea, it is reasonable to assume that you have some understanding of what a tender, in the context of what we are discussing means, so we already have climbed some of that mountain.
In the procurement business, ‘tender’ usually refers to the method through which businesses invite bids for a large project. At iDDea, the term ‘tender’ covers the wide range of stages and processes from the beginning of the tender, with the tender brief of what we are trying to achieve and assembling of the responsible team up until the final award of business. Other stages include the data requirement baseline, as well as market engagement, which involves testing the market to identify whether it is the right time to go into the marketplace as well as other factors, like the actions being taken by competitors. The tender also involves the drafting of the ‘fit for purpose’ specification documents, wherein time is carefully spent developing and including all documents that are necessary for the suppliers to be able to submit a commercial proposal, and the publishing of the e-tender, the post e-tender review and the blended decision matrix.
Now that we have established what the tender is and what it involves: what about the playbook for tender lifecycle management? In our playbook, there are various different aspects needed to ensure a successful tender. In each of these aspects, we place an emphasis on efficiency, effectiveness, prioritisation, transparency and interdependency.
The tender brief
This is where we detail the specifics of the tender. It is important to us at iDDea that we engage with our stakeholders early in the tender process so that we fully understand the scope of their needs for the tender. What do they want to achieve? These wants and needs, the objectives and intended outcomes of the tender are made clear in the tender brief. The strategy for the tender is also established in the tender brief, which should be thorough, detailed and clear. Furthermore, we would ensure that we understand the assumptions and the risks as well and we agree the measures for success.
Lean e-tender process
A key step in managing the tender lifecycle is to ensure an efficient and streamlined e-tender process. At iDDea we place an emphasis on efficiency throughout the tender journey, because we believe that an efficient tender is a successful one. In our playbook of tender lifecycle management, efficiency is kept at the forefront, so that all resources are used in the best way, and no time is wasted because tasks are clear and performed without delay. The e-tender process involves several steps. The first is supplier sourcing. We ask our customers what initial criteria are important to them in the search for suppliers, so we take care to find as many suitable suppliers as possible for a given tender. We use different channels to ensure we have a broad network of suppliers in the given market. This translates into questions in an RFI – Request for Information, where we contact potential suppliers, making an enquiry regarding the products they provide, to clarify if they are suitable to our customer to be included in our tender. Following this, once we have clarified that the supplier does provide what we are looking for, we ask the potential suppliers to provide a quotation or a proposal. The next step is supplier onboarding, which refers to the getting all the relevant information from the company as a supplier for the tender and also to train them into the rules around how to submit a compliant tender. This involves collecting all valid documentation and data and ensuring that the prospective supplier is reliable and in line with laws and regulations. The e-tender documents, that have been drafted in collaboration with our customers, are then send out to the qualified suppliers and we ensure the tender format best suits the specific tender.
RACI & Timelines
Throughout the lifecycle of a tender, we at iDDea know that it is important to have the right people in the right places. As part of our playbook for tender lifecycle management, we make sure that each person’s role and time required of them is carefully mapped out, as well as the resources required to carry out each task. When deciding on the people responsible for tasks in a project, we think it is important to follow RACI:
R – Responsible – this is the person who is responsible for carrying out the task.
A – Accountable – this is the person who is ultimately accountable for the task. They are usually a step above the Responsible person and can help guide them.
C – Consulted – this is the person who those carrying out the task gets feedback from on how to carry out the activity
I – Informed – the person who needs to know what decisions and actions are taken
At iDDea we believe there should be a clear chain of command when carrying out tasks, similar to managing any project. This way, everyone has someone they can turn to for help and in the rare occasion something goes wrong, the person responsible is clear. Supporting our stepped through process flow for assigning each person their roles, we also have clearly established timelines, so that the trajectory of each project is clear. This allows us to keep track of the progress of a project and make sure it is being carried out on schedule. In establishing these timelines, we focus on prioritisation. In doing this, we make sure that each task is dealt with when it is necessary. This means that we waste no time on tasks that do not need to be completed yet, while also ensuring that the important tasks are dealt with in a timely manner. Additionally, by planning out timelines, we are able to manage any future risks. We implement a Risk Register, wherein we identify possible risks and pre-emptively take actions to respond to these risks. We also employ risk mitigation to reduce the possibility of risks arising throughout the tender lifecycle. We ensure, then, that risks are all identified and tracked to make sure that they do not hinder the tender lifecycle.
The RACI step outlined above also involves assigning the right people to the right teams. Once they have been assigned to their teams, it is important that these teams are all managed effectively so that their tasks are performed on time and performed well. Effective team management involves teamwork and communication among the team, as well as objective tracking and performance appraisals. We believe that a team will work best when their goals are clear and every member of the team know very definitely what roles they are to perform, as well as the pace the other team members are working at.
Effective team management involves effective engagement not only with internal stakeholders, like those involved in the project and [the businesses] but the external supply base as well. Throughout our proven playbook for tender lifecycle management we place emphasis on interdependency and knowledge share, and this is especially true when it comes to team management. We believe interdependency to be significant to the success of a tender because it is important for us to acknowledge that we need the input of all parties involved in the tender to make sure that it is successful, especially our internal stakeholders and external supply base, without whom the tender would not be possible. Thus, we become the translators of the needs of our internal customers and engage the suppliers in a given market to provide us with sustainable options and solutions. We again translate the options out of the market in to the blended decision matrix to obtain the optimum decision for our internal customer where evaluation criteria such as price, quality, service, account management and sustainability are intertwined to get the best possible outcome.
For a successfully managed tender, it is essential for frequent and clear reports of progress and results. At the earlier stages of the tender, like supplier sourcing, we make sure to document every step and report to fellow members of the team responsible. When it comes to results reporting, and in all of tender lifecycle management, we ensure transparency to make sure that our clients are clear on every step we take and why we take it. Further, we keep detailed records of each step of each tender stage, so that our clients can track every move being made and what the outcome was.
If we have not focused enough in our previous paragraphs on communication, reporting is all about appropriate communication. In strategic sourcing, fit for purpose communication is critical for the success of any negotiation and we will dedicate another blog only on the topic of the value of communication in life-cycle tender management.
Now that we have outlined our playbook for you, you too can go forth and climb mountains, win games. Have successful tenders.
ELEVATE THE PROCUREMENT PROFESSION FOR GROWTH
If you would like to know more, please contact: iDDea on 0212021028 or email info@iDDea.ie
As the world watches to see how the impending UK- EU relationship will be structured. We at iDDea headquarters are working hard to ensure clients are prepared regardless of the outcome. Our aim is to guide clients as they develop an action plan to mitigate the potential risks that Brexit may convey.
iDDea are currently working with Enterprise Ireland and Intertrade Ireland as their preferred Strategic Sourcing partner. Our panel of advisors are meeting with entrepreneurs, business owners and Irish multinational companies at Brexit clinics nationwide. We are also meeting with patrons on a one-to-one basis to perform a more in depth analysis of their supply-base. Our objective is to diagnose, develop and execute the most suitable sourcing solution for each organisation. We have engaged with companies across a number of different sectors however regardless of the division, it is widely acknowledged that Brexit will impact the majority of organisations, their supply chains and their profit margins.
For businesses currently importing directly or indirectly from the UK it is vital to ascertain the impact Brexit may have to your business operations, supply base, cost base and working capital necessities. To better understand where your risks are our panel of consultants begin by focusing specifically on your imports. asking questions specific to your supply base such as:
1/ What suppliers will impact the business most if they cannot supply you tomorrow?
2/ Do you know what % of your goods and services are coming directly or indirectly from the UK?
3/ Have you researched alternative non-UK suppliers?
4/ Are there contracts, licenses or regulations restricting your global sourcing strategies?
5/ Are you aware of the potential additional costs to import from Europe in terms of hubbing, logistics partners, Minimum Order Quantities plus the impact on cash flow?
Using industry recognised procurement tools and templates we categorise and segment the clients supply base and match supplier strategies against this map view of vendors. Mapping the risk and profitability of these supply items in terms of Brexit allows us to identify the most suitable buyer-supplier relationships and a set of distinct sourcing strategies
Our benchmarking expertise spans over decades and having worked with a large number of clients and vendors, we know how to leverage our market knowledge to benefit each individual client. iDDea are the Strategic Sourcing partner of choice for many public and private organisations in Ireland and Europe. We understand the challenges and care about delivering efficient and effective results for every client we work with.
If you or your business is uncertain of how it may be affected by Brexit and there are many supports available to SME’s Why not apply for one of Enterprise Ireland’s or Intertrade Ireland’s Brexit vouchers to take the first step to help you on the journey of developing your Brexit contingency plan?
Take our Brexit Sourcing Scorecard Survey to measure how prepared you are for the risks & impacts Brexit poses.
Time flies…. It’s quite a cliché but I really cannot believe how fast these 8 months have gone. I am now finished the CPM course awaiting final results. I would be lying if I said it was easy as with work and extracurricular activities it difficult to keep on top of course work. Not to mention, many people in the class juggling kids and family on top of that. However, what I can say is easier- is applying and understanding your current ways of working. Whether its improving processes by leaning out procedures or achieving savings through strategic initiatives, the value of you as an individual procurement professional will be seen by your colleagues. The reason this can be seen is that each module is applied to work projects. This is not a course you do a couple of exams for a piece of paper it is applied learning.
During final year, one of my modules included Project Management. Our final year project for that module was to interview a business about how they initially set up their business model, whether they outsourced for various aspects of the business and what obstacles they faced when setting up.
Our CEO Ingrid De Doncker, the self-professed red shoed Dorothy on the yellow procurement brick road, has delivered again!
In 2015, her procurement consultancy company won the Micro Company LEO West and North Cork award after only 1 year in the business. Now 3 years later, the Irish SME Business awards 2018 has recognised the woman behind the slogans “value beyond savings” and “elevating the procurement profession for growth” with the inaugural accolade of “CEO of the Year 2018″.