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Form Purchase/SCM Team

Purchase/SCM Teams play a critical role in the supply chain management (SCM) process throughout the SCM life cycle. A Purchase/SCM Team is formed when the Client organization determines that a need exists, and the need is communicated to the Contracting Officer. The mission of the Purchase/SCM Team is to provide overall guidance, direction, and oversight for a given purchase or series of purchases. Assigning roles and responsibilities (and, for complex purchases, establishing team charters) and conducting project plan kickoff meetings are critical activities during the formation of a Purchase/SCM Team.

Assigning Roles and Responsibilities

Because teams have different requirements, roles and responsibilities should be agreed upon when the Team is formed. Functional roles need not necessarily correspond to a single individual, job title, or organization in the Team. While a task may be assigned to a specific individual (e.g., Contracting Officer, Client, or Item Manager), responsibility for a task may also be given to a group of individuals capable of performing the work within the Team.

Team Charters

Depending on the complexity of the purchase, a team charter can be very helpful for defining roles and responsibilities. The team charter sets the ground rules for the operation of the Purchase/SCM Team, and joining the Team implies its acceptance. The charter is developed and agreed to by the Team at the beginning of the project, sometimes during what is informally called the "kickoff meeting," or when a person joins the Team. It contains the following information:

Project objectives

Expectations of team behavior

Key roles and responsibilities


Team structure

Decision-making methodology


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Project Kickoff Meetings

The project kickoff meeting serves as a vehicle to discuss the project scope and objectives. It is used to educate the Purchase/SCM Team about the Client and to reveal the Client's strategy and goals. The project kickoff meeting transfers information on how the project will be conducted from a process and procedural standpoint. Generally, the Client and the Contracting Officer collaborate on scheduling the kickoff meeting. The objectives of the project kickoff meeting are to:

Provide an overview of the Client's environment, problems, and goals

Achieve consensus on the project scope

Describe the roles and responsibilities of Purchase/SCM Team members

Review the high-level project timeline

Review project deliverables

Review key work products for the different phases

Review tracking processes and deadlines

Members and Types of Purchase/SCM Teams

Supply chain management (SCM) is a team effort. At a minimum, the Team comprises the Contracting Officer and a representative from the Client organization. Where assistance from Legal Counsel and/or Finance is required, these members serve as business advisers. The makeup of a Purchase/SCM Team may change as it moves through the six SCM process steps, and the roles, responsibilities, and business skills necessary to success may change accordingly.

Generally, Purchase/SCM Team functional roles include:


Contracting Officer

Market Analyst

Pricing Analyst

Item Manager

In complex purchase situations, multifunctional teams should be created. Multifunctional teams are made up of representatives from all appropriate functional disciplines working together to provide the best service to the Client. Teams may include selected suppliers or consultants.

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