For some years, FMC Technologies ("FMC") had been introducing strategic sourcing across the organization and, as a result, realizing measurable benefits, both in the way the company conducted business and its bottom-line performance. As a means to accelerate its progress, the company partnered with The Mpower Group ("TMG") to help them transform the current strategic sourcing/supply chain organization. Randy Ellis, chief information officer and chief procurement officer, provided the leadership and sponsorship of the effort for FMC.
FMC recognized that its current strategic sourcing/supply chain organization had significant gaps when compared to a world-class model. These gaps existed for a number of reasons:
- The changing role of the strategic sourcing/supply chain professional;
- Divisions working autonomously, resulting in very different job profiles and roles across divisions;
- Lack of a common sourcing process/toolkit;
- Skill gaps that reached beyond traditional strategic sourcing/supply chain skills (i.e. change management skills, consulting skills, etc.); and,
- Lack of recognition from internal customers that strategic sourcing/supply chain could be a valued business partner.
These challenges were considered in developing the world class competency model, identifying the existing gaps and, most importantly, identifying practical, actionable solutions to bring FMC closer to world class.
The Mpower Group was selected to assist FMC because of its thought-leadership in the area of strategic sourcing/supply chain and experience in building world-class sourcing organizations from scratch. TMG recognizes strategic sourcing as a major process change for most large companies. Strategic sourcing/supply chain professionals are required to not only play the role of "change agent" but also to function as internal consultants. As such, strategic sourcing/supply chain organizations need to be equipped with three types of skills: strategic sourcing/supply chain process skills, consulting skills and change management skills. In addition, TMG feels so strongly that organizations should develop their own internal talent that one of its key offerings is a "strategic sourcing/supply chain university" that offers a set of modules customized for each client into a meaningful curriculum.
FMC leadership also recognized the importance of managing change and adopting a consulting mindset in executing the strategic sourcing process. They felt confident that TMG was the right partner to help them move toward a world-class strategic sourcing/supply chain organization.
For this project, TMG worked closely with FMC senior strategic sourcing/supply chain leaders to develop a world-class technical/functional competency model as a guide to drive the strategic sourcing/supply chain organization in that direction. The two companies worked together to identify those technical and functional skills and competencies necessary to function at a world–class level within a strategic sourcing/supply chain environment.
Step two was to evaluate the current organization against that world–class model in order to identify skill gaps and develop gap closure strategies. To that end, TMG assessed the current organization against the world- class model and determined the gaps, and then helped develop gap closure strategies.
At the start of the project, TMG launched the effort by spending time with Eliis and the supply chain director for each of the four business divisions within FMC. These key executives were able to provide insight into the current state of the Sourcing organization and their future vision for sourcing. It was clear that they were looking to transform the current tactical group into a more strategic business partner within the divisions. This resulted in a shared understanding of the competencies and skills required to build and operate a new, more strategic sourcing organization.
This process also provided a starting point for assessing the skills within the current organization and their potential needs for training and other development strategies.
The second part of the assessment explored the attitudes, perceptions and concerns of the existing strategic sourcing team, further defining skill gaps and investigating their view of the new organization. This was accomplished through very detailed job analysis interviews for a sample of employees across different job families. This helped TMG to understand the "unique" nature of working in the FMC environment. In addition, this interview process placed the TMG consultant shoulder-to-shoulder with the employee as they walked through job-related successes and failures in their job at FMC. This provided TMG with insight into the competencies that would be necessary for an employee to be successful in the FMC environment.