Enabling policy and practice change

The idea of GROW is a natural fit for our business. … Before the change we would have stated very clearly that our business buys locally and this would have happened naturally and I would have stated that that policy view would have been well communicated to the team that was making purchasing decisions/procurement decisions every day . What we discovered was that while this is a big part of the way we operated, it certainly wasn’t as well implemented/agreed or understood and therefore wasn’t executed as we would have thought and hoped.

Through the GROW process reporting of our spend and the first iteration of the Dashboard, what we discovered was that there was a fair amount of leakage, not a lot, but a fair amount in real terms (more than we thought), of purchases made outside the Geelong region that were influenceable. So you need to define ‘influenceable’ and not influenceable.

When I talked to the team about why, we discovered that our procurement policy wasn’t defined well enough. It did not break it down enough to give the team the authority or delegation of authority or the confidence so that they could make the decision to buy something locally. So we went through the process of reviewing and writing a policy and communicating it. We wrote the policy – in small business we tend to write the policy in our head and communicate it with the voice but never write it down. We now have a well defined written policy that those people now making the decisions are accountable to.

The timeframe for how this all transpired was late 2017 early 2018. This part didn’t take long. What really took the time was to get it communicated and then it started happening within the team. Part of it was getting it communicated and part of it was getting the team to stop doing what they had always done and  say “hang on a bit, we can do something  different here to meet my policy, I need to review that.” […]

From the point of view of the staff making buying decisions, we are 80% there. The biggest impact has happened more recently where a couple of team members have really picked it up and questioned those purchases now and are actively seeking  local providers – not just local providers but those that are also locally owned and operated, with a preference to those that are GROW compact signatories.

The spin off to that is I have my team members talking to businesses and saying “the reason we are ringing you is because you are a GROW compact signatory.” Peer to peer impact.
Although as I understand this […], this is about employment for people in targeted postcodes. While local procurement doesn’t directly do that, it will have an impact but is a pretty easy change given the reporting is not that difficult and the dashboard is good – and it is not that hard to identify and buy it locally.


What is a Most Significant Change story?

The Most Significant Change (MSC) technique is a form of monitoring and evaluation that involves the collection of significant change stories across the GROW collective. This MSC story was collected as part of the GROW Review, where a total of 35 stories were collected. Participants at a Summit Workshop in February 2019 were asked to select the story that had the most significant for them. This story was selected by participants at the Summit workshop because:

‘It is practical and tangible – this is what and this is how we do it. It shows the changed from before GROW to after GROW. It shows the act of review, reflect, act and change and it reflects peer to peer teamwork.’