I interviewed Natasa Cikac who discussed Continuous Improvement in Procurement.
Can you first provide a brief background of yourself?
Sure, Dustin. Thank you very much for your call and for your interview. Well, my name is Nataša Cikač. I have worked for more than 20 years in procurement in Croatia. Varying from different branches food industry, rubber industry and metal industry. [inaudible 00:00:31]. Moreover, three years ago, I decided to start my own business, company Cronata. Well, I am very passionate about procurement, and I wanted to involve all my experience I have had and all my knowledge to help others to improve their procurement processes in the companies.
How is procurement being accepted in your country, Croatia?
Well, I have made some research last year. First, procurement is present in every company [inaudible 00:01:11] for sure. This is the process. The companies without it cannot function. However, the position of the procurement is still not so strategic. Bigger companies, they know and they notice the value of the procurement and they started to transform it from operational and tactical procurement to strategic and now we can find CPO as members of the boards and part of the top management. Nevertheless, some companies still do not recognize the value of this function. This is one of reasonswhy I launched a Procurement Academy Cronata in three models and try to make awareness of how procurement function is an important for a companies, how their employees could help to achieve strategic goals of companies and how to create value added.
Can you talk about continuous improvement tools and strategies?
Well, of course. It is not enough now to implement strategic procurement. You have to improve this process and the people, of course, on an everyday basis. Some tools could help even procurement to become better and to achieve the goals of the company as well. Continuous improvement, its rules are from Kaizen, which means Change for the better. Moreover, small changes could be done for better procurement processes. Well, we could implement some tools and strategies, which could help even the boards to achieve better saving, better relationship with suppliers, to find value-added... Moreover, the concept of continuous improvement is oriented to the final customer, not to internal stakeholders but to the final customers and clients. If we look at that way, then procurement could be a very important part of the organization and it could achieve much more for the company and customers. [inaudible 00:04:06].
Of course, it is not enough just too continuously improve procurement. It is also important continuously improve the whole organization. This is the concept. It has to involve all the employees and all the parts of companies. Nevertheless, the procurement is a very good field, and a very good space in the company and function, where small steps could achieve very good results.
Can you share some of your experience regarding continuous improvement?
Well, continuous improvement as a concept in Croatia it is not maybe so largely present. However, some parts of continuous improvement techniques are found in companies where I worked and who my clients became in the last three years, such as Lean, 5S, PDCA, KPI,…Improvements in procurement could be done through supplier relationship management or category management or the very important part of continuous improvement is risk management. Usually we improve processes, working place, communication, quality, depends on companies goals and priorities. However, clients how recognize the importance of improvement and decide to start using approved tools and techniques, could achieve, with our help, measurable results.
Well, thank you, Nataša, for sharing today in this topic.
Thank you very much, Dustin. It was my pleasure.
About Natasa Cikac
Procurement and SCM Expert, helping companies to achieve excellence in Procurement ąnd Inventory Management