In December 2015, members of the French Post Office’s Procurement Division (DAPO) attended the Eurodecision “How to optimize procurements to enhance stock management” course. We met up with Eric Autret, Task Officer, and Jean-Yves Barré, Research and HR Management Officer to get their feedback.

Members of the DAPO team who attended the course, from left to right : Eric Autret, Jean-Yves Barré, Céline Le Goff et Maryvonne Jamin
  • What is the remit of the French Post Office’s Procurement Division?

DAPO primarily manages supplies of stamps, postage-paid stationery, printed forms, POS media, postal equipment, personal protective supplies and equipment, etc. These items are intended for use in post office establishments (post offices, sorting centres, etc.) in mainland France and overseas.
We manage the stocks, process control orders received electronically, and handle the despatch and invoicing. All of this is carried out in close cooperation with the Post Office’s National Procurement Centre (CNAP).

An outside firm recently conducted an audit that pinpointed shortcomings in our procurement policy and concluded that stock management was one of the areas requiring improvement. We decided that our purchasers should be trained on this issue to make more relevant use of the IT systems at their disposal. It was hoped that this type of professionalization exercise would also curb the team’s use of parallel management tools (such as Excel) which results in fuzzy overall management and overstock.
Accordingly, we decided that the procurement department manager and his deputy, the training manager and the training course designer for DAPO purchasers would attend the Eurodecision course and then share the lessons learnt with the rest of the team.

  • Why did you choose to attend this training course as an intra-company event?

We were keen on having the opportunity to discuss our specifics with the trainer and time to work together on the real life problems we face in the course of our business.
Our four trainees on this course had different profiles and the trainer adapted his presentation to make the various concepts understandable despite the fact that we are not all experienced mathematicians. Furthermore he spent time with each of us individually and we were thus able to grasp and more importantly, retain the concepts.

  • Did the training course come up to expectations?

As a result of the course, we are working on a document that will be used to train a dozen purchasers by the end of April 2016. Once they are more familiar with the theoretical concepts and calculation methods, their understanding of the instructions transmitted by our IT systems will improve. They will be in a better position to identify any contradictions in the suggested results, change the parameter settings to improve the solutions (instead of developing ancillary tools under Excel) and thus focus on the tasks where their business expertise offers higher added value.