Finding a needle in a Haystack

The Mission

Our client, a global management consulting firm operating across a wide range of practice areas, including Strategy and Operations, Capital Projects, Safety, Procurement and Digital Transformation to deliver bottom-line improvement, approached us to identify a short list of possible candidates to fill the role of Associate Principal: Procurement Africa.

Our brief was to develop a view on the existing talent pool of Procurement skills and map the relevant candidates, incorporating details on career history, qualifications, gender, race, nationality and specific technology expertise. We focused on Tier 1 and Tier 2 Consulting firms with Procurement disciplines, as well as leading corporates that have built strong, internal centres of expertise around the Procurement function.

Challenge and Outcomes

Sounds easy – on the contrary!  Identifying candidates that met the specific client requirements in terms of procurement expertise and a track record of having delivered large sourcing savings, was a bit like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

We quickly realised that this is a complex, narrow field of specialisation, with scarce skills that are often tied in with restraints of trade.  Many of the identified candidates did not meet the client’s qualification criteria and those candidates in corporate roles, usually lacked the required management consulting experience.

So, while this role was not filled, we were able to provide our client with detailed reference data on the Procurement skills pool in South Africa, cross-referenced with Management Consulting expertise.  We delivered a long list of candidates that included 65 candidate profiles, of which 49 were employed in Consulting firms, with 16 in Corporate roles with a with previous consulting experience.  End result – a happy, informed client.