HR Services procurement: Beyond the purchasing department’s scope?

Who is responsible for contracting Human Resources (HR) services in your organisation? “In essence, this category falls under ‘Services Spend’ and should accordingly form part of the Strategic Cost Management portfolio of an organisation…

In general, the modern procurement department will be sufficiently equipped and resourced to be given the responsibility for the procurement of this basket of services.  After all, procurement and supply chain management personnel are trained and experienced in the sourcing, contracting and supply management of most other similar services such as auditing, consulting, marketing, advertising and so on”, Priscilla Gibson, Managing Director of Tech-Pro Personnel, told SmartProcurement.

To fulfil the above responsibility within an organisation it is incumbent on procurement to ensure that the allocated personnel (usually at Commodity Manager level) are properly trained and well versed in matters concerning HR, as it is a complex area of management and requires specific expertise.  We are also aware of the fact that the procurement of services is invariably more difficult than the procuring of goods as you are dealing with intangibles, internal politics, unfamiliar briefs and a vast array of competing suppliers.  The challenge here is to thus put in place processes – similar to those that apply when buying goods such as IT equipment or output devices – that make the buying of services more objective and manageable.

A crucial aspect of the necessary expertise required to manage this spend is an in-depth understanding of where the suppliers are coming from, how they structure their business and what their cost drivers are.  For instance, in a climate where there is a scarcity of skills, what is the premium to be paid for securing a top IT Manager? It is then for this very reason that SmartProcurement, in conjunction with Purchasing Index and Tech-Pro Personnel, are hosting a breakfast in Centurion on the 6th of November 2008 on the topic of Industry Skills:  An Update.

The focus of this breakfast will be to provide procurement and HR personnel with an industry update on the present state of the HR recruitment playing field.  Delegates will have the opportunity of exchanging ideas with leading role-players, as well as to hear how the top HR agencies go about the business of recruiting skills in South Africa and abroad.  Of particular interest will be the presentation by Natalie Fraser, Executive Director of the Association of Personnel Service Organisations (APSO) – the industry representative body – on the ethics, norms and future prospects in this field of expertise.

To register for this upcoming breakfast session, or for more information, please contact Erieka Santos on 086 133 4326 or on 083 454 6915, or alternatively email

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