Ardent Partners is pleased to welcome back Harold “Hal” Good, a lifelong procurement practitioner, procurement “luminary,” and CPO Rising Hall of Famer, to CPO Rising 2017. He will host an Expert Roundtable session entitled, “How the “Internet of Things” Will Impact Procurement in the Next Five Years.” Hal is an accomplished professional with over 30 years of Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) level experience in procurement and contracting. He is a past national president of the Airport Purchasing Group and the National Procurement Institute, and was a founding member and past president of the California Chapter of the National Institute of Govern-ment Purchasing. He is a frequent presenter at industry events and is a well-regarded procurement expert.
We were fortunate to catch up with Hal earlier before the event to learn more about his background, notably: how he got his start in procurement, why he left the cold and wintry weathers of the East Coast for the warm and breezy West Coast, and how he returned before retiring to the calm and quiet woods of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Today, Hal writes about procurement and continues to evangelize for the future of the profession.
Education and Early Career
Hal attended Elizabethtown College where he studied business administration and psychology. Like many other procurement professionals, he got his start in the field somewhat accidentally at New York University (NYU) Medical Center (now NYU Langone) where he began working in the respiratory care wing of the clinical department, a 24-7 operation that required constant staffing and servicing. Over time, Hal became more involved in the procurement of goods for the department and less involved in the clinical-care side. One day, one of his managers said, “Why don’t we call it like it is and transition you into procurement?” From there, Hal’s career would be entirely focused on materials management and procurement.
Hal worked for NYU Langone Medical Center for 12 years, serving as Assistant Director of Central Services before taking a sudden and drastically different turn in his career. While on a family vacation to Disneyland, Hal noticed an opening for a Procurement Director for the City of Palm Springs. He and his family loved the location, and with nothing to lose, Hal applied for and ultimately got the job. He and has family uprooted from the East Coast and would make Palm Springs home for the next 21 years.
Hal’s long tenure as Director of Procurement and Contracting for Palm Springs was quite interesting because it encapsulated a lot of unique projects, including infrastructure, marketing, public safety, and tourism. For example, during his time the city built a convention center that accommodated the local economy – mainly, hospitality and tourism. Hal and his team helped to manage the expansion of Palm Springs Airport and allow it to serve international carriers. He was instrumental in the acquisition and installation of one of the earliest reliable and successful earthquake early warning systems in the US in Palm Springs, a city located on the San Andreas Fault.
After working there for more than 21 years, Hal and his wife, Jaye, moved back to the East Coast when he became Director of Procurement and Contracting for Frederick County, Maryland, a position that he would hold for about another eight years. Hal’s tenure in Frederick would cover the ground of the modern procurement professional – procuring direct and indirect materials, as well as construction and professional services.
In November 2012, Hal decided to semi-retire from procurement and move to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where he consults and freelances on procurement and remains active on social media. He hosts a LinkedIn group, Procurement Pros, in which he combines public and private sector issues, as well as supply chain and service-oriented issues, in a forum that he seeks to make as interesting for his members as it is for him. Although Hal is semi-retired, he remains interested in developing a common procurement language that procurement professionals around the world can use, as well as connecting the sourcing, procurement, and payment processes into the source-to-settle process. For him, hosting Procurement Pros and speaking at conferences are “give-backs” to a procurement community that has treated him well over his career.
What 35 Years of Procurement Change Looks Like
Since Hal began his procurement career in 1971, he has seen quite a revolution across the industry. At first, there were no thought leaders evangelizing the procurement role. It is a different story today, with thought leaders educating the workforce and tying the two ends of procurement and AP together, and linking contracts and risk management with procurement.
What he sees more than anything else is the recognition that internal and external stakeholders need to collaborate and work together. They need to be familiar with what procurement is working on, and they need to work holistically across the organization to pull in other constituent departments and functions, like AP/Finance, contracts, legal, marketing, operations, and so on. Hal also believes that it is no longer just about cost savings; they are important, as are cost containment (not spending more than you have to). But the concept of best value and looking at the overall value to the organization has really come to the forefront. Fortunately, he believes that the digital environment in which we operate has enhanced our ability to do that, as well as to collaborate and make the world much smaller than it is.
The Future of Procurement: It’s Already Happening
As Hal looks ahead, he believes that the term “buyer” will be a thing of the past, as category managers and procurement professionals are much more than glorified order takers. Also, more staple commodities will be automatically purchased, allowing practitioners to reallocate their time and effort to more strategic planning and execution. Sure, they will still need to setup, maintain, and QA/QC systems and processes, but they will be more involved in examining issues that pertain to sourcing, procurement, and best value to ensure that they are integrated within the overall organization. Hal also believes that procurement as a specialty will continue to be a multi-purpose operation that gets integrated into other things – a belief that Ardent Partners’ research shows has been occurring for the past several years. Hal believes (as do we) that if it has to be competed, sourced, or purchased, procurement should get involved.
There is also a lot of green field opportunity for procurement expansion and collaboration across the enterprise. According to Hal, “some of the things that procurement’s not involved in but could add a lot of value to are things like construction, insurance, and legal services that are still siloed within many companies.” Here, all parties ought to take a holistic view of the value that procurement can deliver to the whole organization. Marketing, in particular, is an underserved procurement relationship, and CPOs and procurement leaders need to ensure smooth collaboration between the two departments. “Sometimes there’s a lot of misunderstanding between the two – one of the most important things that procurement professionals can ascribe to in the future. The two roles need to understand each other.”
There is also greater opportunity for procurement to collaborate and align with legal departments, particularly regarding contract management. “When contracts get handed off, sometimes there’s a glitch,” he says, adding that the relationship between legal and procurement needs to be smooth and integrated because they contribute so much to each other for them not to be. In fact, some legal departments are starting to have their own procurement section, which is recognition that procurement and legal need to work together because they are all working towards the same ends.
It is a real treat to sit down with someone who has the breadth and depth of experience in an industry that has evolved as much as it has over the last 35 years and continues to evolve. Hal Good is a procurement pro who not only has ridden the wave from coast to coast and back, but also has managed to be an evangelist and thought leader even in retirement. For these reasons, we are so grateful to have him back at CPO Rising this week, and look forward to seeing him in a couple of days.
Want to meet Hal and a hundred other procurement executives and practitioners? Register here while you still can!