Aboriginal Procurement Opportunities – 10 Procurement Focus Areas

Aboriginal Procurement Opportunities – 10 Small Steps Procurement Can Take to Open the Door to Opportunities

As the Western Australian government is rolling out its Aboriginal Procurement Policy, it is worthwhile looking at procurement’s role to opening the doors for Aboriginal Procurement Opportunities.

We often spend so much time on discussing policy and framework that we get distracted. We do not focus on taking the small steps and doing the small things that will ultimately be the kick starter for change.

What small steps can procurement take to open the door to Aboriginal Procurement Opportunities?

#1. Make a start

I can hear you say – really?


As mentioned before, we have so many conversations about implementing policy and frameworks that we forget to make a start. And before we know it, another 6 months have passed by without any results.

All businesses are different and will have different requirements and Aboriginal procurement opportunities.

Thus, by starting to open the door to Aboriginal procurement opportunities, however small, we get a better understanding of what it means for your own business.

#2. Understand why

In many businesses, Aboriginal procurement is just another add-on or requirement being pushed down the line. It is often met with resistance and those who would like to see this initiative fail.

It takes commitment and leadership to make it work.

There are many reasons why – such as correcting historical injustice and working towards Closing the Gap.

Personally, I would like to see Aboriginal business being able to compete in own right and maturity.

Therefore, work out the why for your business and make a start.

#3. Show leadership and commitment

Procurement needs to lead the way in opening the doors to Aboriginal procurement opportunities.

These quotes sum it up for me:

A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. —Douglas MacArthur

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. —John Maxwell#1

#4. Make use of existing resources

Supply Nation maintains a register of Aboriginal businesses.  In Western Australia, we have the Aboriginal Business Directory of Western Australia.

Both registers are clunky to use and may not always be up to date. Certainly lots can be done to improve search functionality, but both make for a good start of finding Aboriginal suppliers.

In Perth, the Local Contracting Alliance holds an annual supplier/buyer meeting – why not consider using the LCA to organise an Aboriginal supplier forum?

Why not consider inviting your suppliers and expand the opportunity for Aboriginal procurement opportunities?

#5. Review procurement spend

Look at opportunities for engaging with Aboriginal suppliers for:

  • direct engagement;
  • unbundling procurement spend to create Aboriginal procurement opportunities;
  • collaborative sourcing – opening up new Aboriginal supply chains;
  • partnering opportunities.

Reviewing your procurement spend, you will find a number of opportunities for start up business, small business and mature Aboriginal business engagement.

#6. Be prepared to earn respect and trust

One of the reasons why I enjoy the experience of Aboriginal procurement, has been because I had to walk the journey with the Aboriginal suppliers to build trust and lasting relationships.

Respect and trust form the cornerstones of what procurement is meant to be.

Too often in procurement, we forget that suppliers have reason to be distrustful; being on the supply side and been taken advantage of. We expect respect but do little to build relationships and respect.

Place the shoe on your foot for a change – earn respect and trust.

And be surprised at the results and outcomes achieved.

#7.  Pool resources

Contractors and suppliers have diverse clients and client requirements. It pays to involve your contractors and suppliers in Aboriginal procurement opportunities as they may already have far better experience and success than your won organisation.

Build a culture of collaboration and develop a journey for development and growth.

#8. Be open to learning lessons

Set your organisation up for success.

Be open to listening and learning.

However, prepare for both success and failure.

Yet, let every experience, whether negative or positive, be an opportunity for learning.

And implement the lessons learnt for even bigger and better success.

#9. Understand and manage risk

The maturity and experience levels vary from one Aboriginal supplier to another. Understand what your organisations’ requirements are, be open and frank about it but also provide an opportunity for development.

It is part of your risk identification and management process and risk management ultimately is critical for achieving success.

#10. Measure and monitor

The targets we measure, determines what we do.

Set realistic targets, objectives and goals and follow through on actions.

Measure success on a regular basis and hold both procurement and your organisation accountable for achieving results.

Where do we start?

It is worthwhile looking at our post on Mastering Social Procurement: Aboriginal Participation in Construction (APIC) Policy.  We wrote the post for the NSW Master Builders Association to assist their members on making a start on implementing their Aboriginal Participation in Construction Policy.Aboriginal Procurement Opportunities

The recommended steps include:

  • Plan;
  • Design
  • Pilot;
  • Build; and
  • Review.

In the procurement space, the recommended steps would be:

  • Plan – determine your targets, goals and objectives;
  • Design  – review your procurement spend and determine opportunities;
  • Pilot – connect your requirements with potential Aboriginal businesses, pilot your plan and measure and monitor success;
  • Build – expand your pilot project scope, expand the initiative to your contractors; and
  • Review – review lessons learned, re-evaluate your plan, targets and objectives and work through the cycle on an improved scale and manner.

Western Australian Aboriginal Suppliers

The following are a few examples of existing, capable and reputable existing  Western Australian Aboriginal suppliers that are procurement ready and will deliver economic benefits back to the Aboriginal community:

The above is only a sample of capable and reliable Aboriginal suppliers –  waiting for an opportunity to discuss:

  • how they can contribute not only to your organisation’s success but
  • also deliver economic benefits back to the Aboriginal community.

Aboriginal Procurement Workshops

Contact Ichiban today to work with your procurement team to develop their Aboriginal procurement plan and determine the best way to open the door to Aboriginal procurement opportunities.

You can also learn more about Aboriginal procurement here.

Have a great day
Celia Jordaan

About Celia:

Celia Jordaan has 21 years international and corporate experience and worked in the areas of procurement, tenders, supply chain, contract management, law and risk. She works with business, procurement leaders and teams to develop and implement strategies to boost business performance, make tendering easy and improve bottom line performance.
To learn more about Celia Jordaan, please click here.
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About the Author:

Celia Jordaan has more than 30 years international and corporate experience and worked in the areas of procurement, tenders, supply chain, contract management, law and risk. She works with business of all sizes and industries, procurement leaders and teams to develop and implement strategies to boost business performance, make tendering easy and improve bottom line performance.

To learn more about Celia Jordaan, please click here.

For more information on how we can assist your procurement team, your business with tendering or strategic business development and planning, please send us an email today.

Ichiban Commercial Solutions Procurement Advice and Tendering Solutions Celia Jordaan

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