Contracting in Africa - best practices and leading change | by Kate Ferreira

Kate Ferreira 2Our 8th Contract Management Summit was held in October, and explored the theme of 'Contracting in Africa', with a focus on leading practices in contract performance and compliance. This event is the final in Bespoke’s annual series of prestigious summits, and brought together experts and practitioners for an insightful and engaging two days.

The keynote speaker was Professor Ozias Ncube, a senior lecturer in supply chain management at the Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL), University of South Africa (UNISA). Prof. Ncube offered attendees a vulnerability analysis framework for supplier performance, and contextualized this and contract management within an era of much media focus on mismanagement thereof.

“As a society we are not happy with the contracts implicated in state capture. So as supply chain and contract management professionals, we must consider who our stakeholders are in our contracts. We need to think broader than two parties, and include society in the picture,” he said. This is why, he believes, we must position procurement as a proponent of financial responsibility and sustainable development.

“[Additionally] we can now source globally from anywhere but this means we need more integration and better information,” he continued, arguing that these are essential characteristics of an agile supply chain. As part of this global thinking, we must also consider jurisdiction of the contract, and the local implications and regulations of this.

Prof. Ncube ended his address with a challenge to delegates – to embrace lifelong learning and professional development, herein quoting leadership and organizational change practitioner Charles Middleton who said that “the rate of learning must e greater than the rate of change”.

CMS2018 Group ShotThe next speaker in the line-up was Ndabeni Bagosi, head of cost and agility at Total SA. Ndabeni discussed how we can drive collaboration through stakeholder engagement and change management by drawing from his own experiences in these areas. Ndabeni told delegates that a chief procurement officer must, in practice, be a chief collaboration officer – bringing together disparate business units and fostering knowledge sharing in the organization. This is a key means of mitigating maverick buying, he says. Give this need, he argues for mapping each type of stakeholder and knowing how to engage each category to allow for a meeting of minds. He left delegates with three top tips, specifically building agency in the company, identifying your champions and quick wins, and then enabling these to take action.

Following this, Realyst’s Andrew Hollick spoke about digitalization and the opportunities inherent in automating aspects of the contract life-cycle. He warned against falling behind in this, and how automation can be a key lever to pull when pursuing compliance with legislation like the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPI), and in maturing your internal contracting processes.

Aviat’s commercial legal council for Middle East and Africa Didier Mbayo then gave delegates a crash course in negotiation, which he says relies on being utterly prepared and maintaining your confidence. Didier believes his career in negotiation is underpinned by the ‘homework’ of knowing not just what you need to get out of a contract, but anticipating what the other party may want. This will allow you to go in prepared for most on-the-table offers. With your ‘homework’ done, remember to really listen, says Didier.

Risk reduction is also a primary element of contracting, said Aecom’s Fransisco Nassaux, even more so in the age of globalization and outsourcing. His presentation unpacked the six stages of contract life with a view to risk. Chris Wasike of House of Procurement Kenya then presented on reducing value leakage. The event was then wrapped up by a panel of experts who answered delegate questions.

“We continue to be extremely proud of the quality of speakers and presentations that the annual Contract Management Summit offers, and 2018 was of excellent standard,” said Bespoke Group CEO Andrew Hillman. “Our attendees were also very engaged, and this hopefully speaks to the underlying talent in SA’s contract and procurement fields. It’s so significant that we as professionals come together in these ways to share our knowledge, learn from experts, and push responsible procurement and contract management practices in Africa.”

Kate Ferreira is the Contributing Editor of Bespoke Bulletin -
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Posted on December 06, 2018