Jack Welch once noted that the only two departments that drive revenue directly to the bottom line are sales and procurement. He noted that the other departments were basically overhead. I would also include supply chain professionals in this revenue generating group.
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I live in the Boston area, so when the 2016 Nobel Prize for Economics was awarded to Dr. Bengt Holmstrom, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Dr. Oliver Hart, a professor at Harvard, it made a considerable splash in the local news. I love economics in action, so I started reading more - but I never expected to find contracts as the center of their work.
Each of the newly selected Nobel laureates has a different area of focus, but both are relevant to procurement and supply chain professionals.
It is not uncommon for procurement to receive a bonus payment based on the savings the department has achieved. In this post we discuss if procurement would benefit more from being on a salary plus commission payment structure.
AFTER READING, TAKE OUR TWITTER POLL: Should procurement be paid commission?
The traditional approach for calculating pre-contract savings is to obtain a minimum of three supplier quotes, select the mean as the base point then count the additional savings achieved above the base point. The challenge for the CFO is because the savings are subjective, they are unable to truly identify tangible and quantifiable savings from procurement’s impact, therefore the level of bonus they might apportion directly to procurement is limited.
Assessing bid submissions based not just on initial costs but total forecasted end to end costs is becoming more prevalent as businesses take a wider view of the true cost of ownership. However, since the model for encouraging procurement to strive for savings remains focused on the bid submission, applying this approach to determine bonus compensation has a high likelihood of conflict. The bonus payment approach could arguably be stated as outdated, thereby creating an opportunity for procurement. An alternative approach might be to replace the bonus model with a commission structure, based on the end to end total contract savings.
Procurement benefits would include:
- Ability to be recognised for the full business value a team/individual delivers.
- Encourages and rewards end to end contract ownership and relationship management.
- Encourages post-contract collaboration, ultimately leading to the possibility of generating post-contract savings within the same contract term.
The potential benefits for the business include:
- Maximises pre and post-contract savings. Post-contract savings is an area currently underdeveloped as the main focus remains on pre-contract savings, which is understandable given it is the main area for bonus achievement.
- Creates a catalyst for procurement cultural change, focused on supplier collaboration and successful implementation. This unlocks the supply chain and drives innovation and collaboration across the business to increase bottom line profits.
- Ensures operational costs are kept to a minimum.
- Encourages and rewards end to end contract, maximising contract savings
There are many people within procurement who have “fallen” into the role rather than pro-actively sought to become procurement professionals. Even those who have deliberately sought after the role, few may still believe it was a good career choice. The change to commission based compensation has the potential to raise procurement salaries to new levels, provide a catalyst for change, and enable procurement to reflect their full business value, which could in turn could attract new talent and retain experience that is sorely needed.
Like all new ideas, there is an upside but also a downside. Moving onto a commission structure based on the overall savings from successfully managing the contract could quickly lead to some personnel being identified as under delivering. The key to gaining business support in this initiative is by demonstrating greater profitability for the CFO in undertaking this route. The central question is: does procurement want to undertake this direction?
There are many ways to value your worth. The important aspects of life that include health, family, and happiness far outweigh money. However, we do need to earn a living to support ourselves and our families.
Note: This post by Kelly Barner originally appeared in the March 2012 PSD Group Procurement & Supply Chain Newsletter.
In this week's eSourcing Wiki-Wednesday excerpt on Seven Facets of Cost Reduction and Avoidance, compensation structures are brought into question as they incent procurement professionals to behave a certain way, 'Like all employees, a supply manager will engage in behaviors rewarded by the company. This will create a problem if cost avoidance or cost reduction efforts beyond hard savings do not count toward a supply manager’s compensation and performance.'
As organizational expectations of procurement increase, many practitioners are questioning the structure of their compensation plans. Traditionally, procurement professionals received a straight salary. If there was a bonus structure in place, the bonus was typically based on corporate performance against stated goals and qualitative individual performance rather than savings targets.
This week’s eSourcing Wiki-Wednesday topic is barriers to success – and those barriers are specific to strategic sourcing organizations. Broken down into the main categories of leadership, team and project issues, these nine barriers are a who’s-who list of worst case scenarios that should help you diagnose the root cause of the challenges you are facing in your organization.
Many organizations offer bonuses at the end of the calendar year or shortly after their fiscal year end occurs. This is often based on specific growth metrics and savings targets for procurement organizations. I liked this blog as it makes you think about the motivation for high performers and how to retain your staff.
Companies seem to be shifting away from year end bonuses. A few years ago, 73% of companies gave bonuses and now it is down to 57%. Obviously, the economic situation has something to do with that. Many companies that do have minimal amount , more of a token. Where it matters is when it really is based on performance and becomes part of the total compensation package.
What does your company do?