Procurement doesn’t exist for its own sake. It exists to serve the needs of the business it’s purchasing for. That said, a business which knows just how valuable procurement is to its profitability provides the resources needed by their procurement professionals to do the best job possible.
Procurement is in place to serve cost reduction, which in turn serves profitability. But professional purchasing is a value-added function which, by its very existence, serves the needs of the business it’s purchasing on behalf of.
Influence and procurement.
Procurement has its fans, in the final analysis, but it also has its detractors. With an eye continually leveled on finding savings to feed the profit margin, procurement professionals are often seen as prophets of undeclared austerity – just one rung beneath the bean counters.
Increasingly, companies aren’t looking to place people in procurement who aren’t necessarily experienced in the realm of purchasing. Rather, they’re seeking recruits who model good business instincts and an exceptional facility in inter-personal skills. This trend may prove to be the missing link when it comes to the institutional influence procurement people currently find elusive.
Internal customer service.
Automation is looming on the horizon as a solution to the procurement influence gap. When those in the sector are heavily focused on cost savings, but don’t communicate the added value their work brings to the business, they’re missing a valuable opportunity. Colleagues in other departments need to see clearly what procurement is producing, in real terms, and brought to an understanding of its intrinsic value.
That’s where people skills and intentional communication come in. To avoid the threat of full automation replacing the need for human resources, it’s essential that procurement make the leap beyond the rung below the bean counters of the corporate world.
Servicing the interests of internal customers and developing relationships with them is one way to ensure that automation doesn’t take over. In the same way that brick and mortar retail has suffered because of a failure to offer a value-added customer experience in response to online retailers, procurement professionals need to stand up and get out of their penny-pinching silo.
Results + presence.
Clearly procurement is in the business of delivering cost reduction results on a consistent basis, but they can signal value to their fellows by being present to their interests. But being present is just the beginning, with analytical tools now becoming increasingly important to the sector. The value of these tools heralds a whole new age of the procurement process and, naturally, more added value.
We’re trusted procurement advisors who utilize our member base’s pooled resources to deliver outstanding cost reductions on a variety of infrastructure needs, from office supplies to cell phones. Because we’re working from a significant advantage in terms of liquid assets, we’re able to provide our members with material savings.