Unleashing employee potential through change management

Change management.jpgManagers can deliberately initiate organisational change. It can either evolve gradually within the department, be imposed by specific and compelling changes in policy and procedures, or arise from external forces, Ronald Mlalazi (MCIPS), Education Manager at Commerce Edge Academy, tells SmartProcurement.

In his 10th article for SmartProcurement’s World-Class Procurement Practice series, Mlalazi discusses how good change management can add value and improve supply chain performance in organisations, leading to an improved bottom-line and sustainable profitability.

The series is based on Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) unit content and on recent research done by Commerce Edge Academy. This month’s article is based on Level 5, Unit 1, and ‘Management in the Purchasing Function’.

Ronald M_Studio_Photo_100709.JPGFor change to happen, somebody has to lead the way and alter the usual way of doing things. In as much as it is inevitable, the successful implementation of change largely depends on the people and their practices, says Mlalazi.

There are four interrelated pressures that can drive change, each bringing about organisational and individual conflicts:

  • Outsourcing and the continual redefinition of what constitutes an organisation’s core business.
  • The distribution of work across different people, organisations and locations, and the extent to which this makes work fragmented.
  • Changing demographics and expectations that create an employee’s, rather than employer’s, market.
  • The double-edge sword of technology, which enables people to do more but tempts organisations to do too much.

As a result, managers have come under increasing pressure from the imposition of targets, performance management systems and league tables against a backdrop of global competition, technological change and the drive to maximise shareholder value.

Sources of change can be either internal or external to the organisation. Internal pressures include profitability, re-organisation, change in culture and conflict between organisational components such as departments and people. External forces are market competitiveness, legislation and the environment, e.g. the impact of procurement on corporate social responsibility and green procurement initiatives.

“A good change agent will help people see the need for change and gain their voluntary willingness, teach them the skills to understand change, manage the fear associated with change by providing training programmes and make the learning experience fun,” says Mlalazi.

Managing and implementing change requires more skill than just the ability to plan, organise, direct and control. A purchasing manager needs to be a good leader and cultivate trust and belief and win the admiration of his or her subordinates.

It is important, therefore, that a manager must have a sound understanding of the business and the department and genuinely believe in the need for change. "Why are we changing?" needs to be adequately and confidently answered if maximum cooperation is to be gained at the onset. In many instances people resist change not because they don't want to change, but because they don't know why they should change.

Procurement managers can unleash their subordinate’s greatness by following the eight-step approach to successful change management:

  1. Creating a sense of urgency among the team players.
  2. Building a winning team, mentality underpinned by change leadership skills.
  3. Creating a roadmap with a vision that is clear and uplifting.
  4. Communicating the vision and the strategy in order to induce understanding and cement commitment.
  5. Empowering action in order to remove all obstacles that can stand in the way of the vision.
  6. Producing and celebrating short-term wins to keep the momentum and the winning spirit.
  7. Progressing by consolidating early changes and creating wave-after-wave of change.
  8. Making change stick through nurturing new culture and developing group norms of behaviour and shared values.

Some of the skills required by a purchasing manager to effectively implement and manage change within the purchasing department are:

  • Interpersonal skills - adopting the Japanese style of human management, involvement.
  • Persuasive or influencing skills - answering the question, "why are we changing and why now?"
  • Delegation skills.
  • Coaching and counseling skills.
  • Motivating skills, be a leader.
  • Negotiation skills.
  • Communication skills.

The successful management of change is essential for continued economic performance and competitiveness. The efforts made by management to maintain the balance of the socio-technical system will change peoples’ attitudes and influence the behaviour of individuals and groups, and thereby the level of organisational performance and effectiveness. Tools and techniques that procurement professionals can adopt and customise to their operations include:

  • Positioning of the Purchasing department within the organisation.
  • Aligning procurement activities with business objectives.
  • Understanding the importance of organisational culture.
  • Tools for positioning an organisation through decision making.
  • Managing team performance.
  • Understanding the change management process.

To learn more about Commerce Edge Academy and CIPS Qualifications, please contact Ronald Mlalazi, Education Manager of Commerce Edge Academy at ronaldm@commerce-edge.com. www.commerce-edge.com

Leave a comment

SmartProcurement Newsletter

Please enter your details below to receive the SmartProcurement Newsletter for FREE on a regular basis.

As part of the SmartProcurement Newsletter you will be receiving World Class Procurement News, Tools, Tips, Tactics, Procurement Training updates, Upcoming Events, and the latest Procurement Career Openings.

* Email Address:
* Title:
* First Name:
* Surname:
* Company:
* Country:
* Public / Private:


Career opportunites

Operations Manager

  • >500 000 Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent Supply Chain
Our client within the FMCG industry with a ...More

Warehouse and Distribution Manager

  • >500 000 Gauteng Logistics & Warehousing Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent
An exciting opportunity awaits for a Warehouse and ...More

Demand Planner

  • <500 000 Permanent
Get an opportunity to be part of one ...More

Procurement Manager

  • >500 000 Gauteng Permanent Procurement Management Procurement Officer / Specialist
An opportunity for a seasoned Procurement Manager, who ...More

Industrial Engineer

  • >500 000 Gauteng Industrial Engineer Permanent Procurement Consultant
An exciting opportunity that offers extensive exposure on ...More

Deputy Director: Procurement

  • >500 000 Contract Procurement Management Procurement Officer / Specialist Western Cape
Department of Economic Development and Tourism:Procurement Specialist, Ref ...More


  • >500 000 Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Projects / Category Management
(Total Cost to Company R750k – R900K) excluding ...More


  • >500 000 Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent Projects / Category Management
(Salary: R 1.3M –R1.5M, dependent on level of ...More


  • >500 000 Contract Gauteng Procurement Consultant Projects / Category Management
Total Cost to Company R1mil – R1.2mil excluding ...More

Project Manager

  • >500 000 Contract Procurement Management Projects / Category Management Western Cape
 Description:A well-known retail organization is looking for an ...More


  • >500 000 Analyst Gauteng Permanent Procurement Management
Description:A leading infrastructure development group with strong presence ...More

Commodity Manager: Fuels and Lubes

  • Commodities Gauteng Permanent Projects / Category Management
 Ensuring continuity of supply in line with business ...More

Senior Facilities Manager

  • >500 000 Commodities Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent
(Total Cost to Company R800K – R900K) Johannesburg Our ...More


  • <500 000 >500 000 Gauteng Industrial Engineer Permanent Procurement Management
(Total Cost to Company R350K – R550K) JOHANNESBURGYou ...More

Supply Chain Analyst

  • <500 000 >500 000 Permanent Procurement Officer / Specialist Supply Chain Western Cape
(Total Cost to Company R350K – R550K)  SOUTHERN ...More

Security Manager

  • <500 000 >500 000 Gauteng Permanent Projects / Category Management Strategic Sourcing
(Total Cost to Company R350K – R550K) JOHANNESBURG This ...More

Demand Planner

  • <500 000 >500 000 Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent Projects / Category Management
(Total Cost to Company R450k – R550k, dependent ...More

Procurement Specialist-Randburg

  • >500 000 Gauteng Permanent Procurement Management Procurement Officer / Specialist
(Total Cost to Company R700k – R800k including ...More

Solutions Architect

  • >500 000 Gauteng Industrial Engineer Permanent Projects / Category Management
(Total Cost to Company R1.3Mil – R1.1Mil including ...More


  • >500 000 Gauteng Permanent Projects / Category Management
(Total Cost to Company R850k – R950K including ...More