Procurement Is the Pit Crew for Your Business
Since kicking things off in Bahrain in late March for the first official Grand Prix Race of this cycle, the 2022 F1 season has been going full force and keeping us on the edge of our seats with some of the most elite racing machines and their drivers going toe to toe. Part of what draws so many to F1 racing fandom is the intrigue behind what it takes to orchestrate a win on the racetrack.
But we do not always see those on the sidelines ensuring everything runs smoothly. In fact, Formula 1 pit crews create a striking parallel with procurement teams and leave us with many informative lessons.
We will take a closer look at the parallels between Formula 1 and procurement with a brief history of F1 and the evolution of the pit crew. Just as F1 pit crews have adapted their methods and roles as racing technologies have changed, procurement has experienced a similar shift.
Pit Crew and F1 Evolution
Formula 1 has come a long way from the sport’s early days in the 1950s. Over the following seven-plus decades, the sport has undergone repeated evolution, from the cars to how the pit crew operates. A closer look at what has happened and why the pit crew is such an integral part of ensuring a racing team’s success will reveal how this compares to procurement’s role in keeping an organization on track and ahead of the pack.
Prep Work Takes Priority
Modern-day pit crews are acutely aware of how vital prep work can be and what a difference it can make. With pre-positioned resources, practice, and preparation, pit crews have reduced pit stop times by 96 percent*, getting the drivers back onto the track and competing for a spot on the podium.
Similarly, procurement teams benefit significantly by anticipating the needs of the business and preparing processes that will facilitate those needs. With programs in place to onboard new suppliers, assess supplier performance, address supplier risk, and more, procurement teams help to accelerate business growth without sacrificing security measures.
Efficiency is critical to the success of an F1 racing team. Since F1’s inception, pit crews have adapted and refined their processes, focusing on streamlining operations as much as possible. The result is a team that operates like a well-oiled machine, keeping everything running smoothly.
Sourcing Superior Parts
Also, part of F1’s evolution is an impressive improvement in the quality and performance of parts. Manufacturers have designed parts and pieces to work faster and more efficiently, allowing those using the parts to do their work in record time.
Car Evolution: Taking Shape
Originally, F1 cars sported a simple, tube-like body. Over time, the car’s design evolved, becoming lighter, sleeker, and more modular, allowing for faster iterations and higher efficiency.
With small, continual improvements, pit stops are almost unrecognizable.
Correlations of Procurement to Pit Crews
Pit crews must work in complete tandem with the driver and one another. Procurement is no different and should serve a similar function at your organization. A pit crew is a team that provides roadside support that keeps the entire team moving forward on course and on time. Procurement teams should also act as a facilitator, not a roadblock.
To accomplish this facilitation role, procurement teams must complete specific training, intense testing, and ongoing iterations, as with any good pit crew.
How Your Procurement Team Can Keep Your Business on the Road to Success
One of the best things your procurement team can do is to regularly evaluate and identify improvement opportunities in how they interact with the rest of the organization. During the evaluation, we recommend establishing a central communication system where all workflows can be mapped and tracked, giving much-needed transparency to the entire organization.
Rather than trying to make radical change happen all at once, making minor, progressive steps is far more practical. For example, aiming to stack 1% improvements over time is far more effective and considerably easier to implement.
Procurement innovators must also consider the transformative power of automation. Using automation where applicable helps to reduce manual work and mitigate inefficiencies. Using the right automated tools to reduce time and error will allow procurement teams more time to focus on vital, high-impact work, such as negotiating contracts and maximizing value from each transaction.
Recruiting Procurement Strategy Coaches and Professional Help
As with any racing team, procurement teams are not above recruiting expert help to ensure they operate at the top of their potential.
True teamwork relies on collaboration and effective communication to execute precise, predetermined actions based on highly complex and ever-changing data.
Get a world-class procurement pit crew on your side.
Enter Graphite. Graphite Connect was built to streamline your entire data management and procurement process and address supplier risk so it’s quicker, easier, and more secure for buyers and suppliers to connect. When you’re ready, Graphite Connect can help you turbo-charge your procurement and onboarding.
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*Stavropoulos, V. (2018, May 18). A Thorough Analysis of the Pit top Strategy in Formula 1 [web log]. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://statathlon.com/analysis-of-the-pit-stop-strategy-in-f1/.