I find it almost cruel to do this but I am going to interrupt your summer with the following work-related thought. Most companies operate on a fiscal year that corresponds to the calendar year. Some of those companies have already started developing their business plans for 2017 and almost all, even those who have not started yet, will be knee-deep in plan development in August and September.
Over the course of the past 12 years in consulting I have noticed that purchasing leaders address the annual business planning process in one of two ways:
- Go-with-the-flow – These leaders simply follow their corporate planning process. They provide all of the information required when it is required. Dedicated corporate soldiers, they deliver what is expected, when it is expected and achieve basically the same results year after year.
- Ahead-of-the-curve – Leaders who embrace making headway want to anticipate and improve the planning process for their organization, achieve better results than last year and demonstrate the value that a finely tuned purchasing organization can bring to their company.
The good news for the go-with-the-flow types; you do not have to read further, you can go back to enjoying the summer and wait for the process to start. While you are doing this the ahead-of-the-curve folks will be doing the following:
- Deep dive the current year results versus plan to understand what has worked and not worked in the current year.
- Assess their current organization, tools and practices.
- Strive to understand where the markets are going. Sales, commodities and exchange rates all need to be assessed.
- Addressing any gaps identified in their assessments.
- Start laying the ground work for objectives and resources.
Both types of leaders will achieve something during the summer months. The go-with-the-flow types will finish the summer well-rested with great tans. The ahead of the curve folks will emerge from the summer with a clear plan of attack for the 2017 business plan.