Our creative response to the needs of our client have highlighted an industry-wide problem.
In late 2019, one of our clients – a leading financial institution – came to us with a problem; they wanted to right-shore their operational procurement functions after the off-shore model had displayed several endemic inefficiencies and an increased risk exposure.
They asked Augment to put forward a proposal to stand up a team of individuals for an initial two-year period, with an eye on diversity and up and coming talent.
To the client, this represented an opportunity to observe a young batch of future procurement experts with the aim to formally employ some or all of them at the end of the period.
It was in the discovery phase of the assignment that Kanika Fehr, Augment’s Operations Director, who spearheaded the mammoth recruitment efforts for this assignment, landed on hiring a team of high-performing graduates, helping them to formally embark on a career in procurement.
There was one problem, and it goes to the heart of our industry: Until now, there’s been no clear pathway into procurement for graduates. We’ve observed that people typically fall into procurement from finance, operations, supply chain, or consulting, but rarely do they have an avenue to enter directly after university.
That shouldn’t be the case, believes Len Blackmore, Chairman of Augment Resources.“Over the last ten years,” he explains, “the new wave of Procurement transformations has led to procurement as a career itself being desirable to young graduates, as it combines many of the elements necessary for people to become leaders of tomorrow.”
It’s also a career where graduates can have an immediate impact. “When we’ve seen young people join procurement functions,” says Tom Holbeach, Director at Augment and former Associate Director of Portland Group. “They’ve often been able to come up with creative solutions that have saved firms tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
When we tested the market we found a few examples where graduates rotated through procurement teams for a six-month stint, but next to no examples of a formal mode for graduates to focus on procurement as their desired career.
That changes with the Augment ‘Class of 2020.’
Augment’s MD, Dean Thompson, explains further. “We’ve selected a diverse batch of the best and brightest, all of whom are extremely interested in a career in procurement. They’ve graduated in a range of disciplines but all share good analytical skills, great problem solving, excellent communication and high EQ in common. We’ll provision additional training over and above the hands-on practical experience the Class of 2020 will gain from being deployed with our client.”
They’ll also get access to some of the best minds in procurement. “We are also providing every single graduate access to a mentoring programme with one of Australia’s top CPOs.”
Tom Holbeach will lead some of the training himself. “Procurement requires such a broad range of skills,” he explains, “from analytics to influencing to problem solving, and that’s before you even get started on the more technical sourcing and negotiation style skills! We’ve put together a broad training agenda to match to ensure they finish our programme with the hard and soft skills to be future commercial leaders.’
Over the course of 2020, we’ll keep you up to date with how the Class is progressing, interview some of the team and keep you apprised of their progress.
It’s our sincere belief that this model and the young team of talent it represents, makes up the next wave of procurement uplift in our Industry. We look forward to sharing the journey with you.