Procurements dilemma – leader or support function

The writer’s experience Procurement professionals want to collaborate with their internal customers, but at the end of the day, they are hardly convinced of their sourcing strategy.


The writer’s experience

Procurement professionals want to collaborate with their internal customers, but at the end of the day, they are hardly convinced of their sourcing strategy.

How many procurement professionals have spent their careers with this echoing loudly in their minds?

Procurement professionals are indoctrinated into the profession with messages such as “You have to take the internal customer along with you”. “You have to persuade them”. “You have to get their buy in first”

Well why is this the case? Surely procurement “owns” the procurement process and must therefore have the authority to drive procurement strategy. Furthermore, whilst these statements are in themselves not wrong, all speak to the same problem. They emphasize a core helplessness within the purchasing profession caused by the absence of a clear and unambiguous endorsement from senior leadership that says what procurement is mandated to do.

One reason for this may be that procurements role is frequently not associated with the key business goals or one that must be “done right”. Instead, it is perceived to be about support and cost reduction to help other functions achieve their goals and objectives.

Procurement itself suffers from a “support mentality” and frequently defines itself as a “support function” whose status is derived by the size of money it spends and the amount it saves. Procurements dilemma is to lead or support and to lead effectively procurement needs a clear mandate to define its role especially in terms functional position. Other views are welcome.

Procurement is not optional. If you are in business then you are in procurement, and procurement has three key roles in any business; the business role to contribute to company strategy, separate out its procurement implications, and then act to make the strategy happen.

They also include functional role to develop and maintain the supply markets to meet the business needs for sustainable success and transactional role to provide the systems and processes to enable day to day procure to pay transactions to be optimized.

To be successful, companies must optimise procurement by positioning it strategically within the business, raise awareness of its importance across the business and harness the talents of its workforce to deliver tangible benefits. ‘‘Class leaders have no doubt about procurement’s role and their goal is to excel at it’’.

The author is a procurement specialist
Email: willienice99@yahoo.com
Tel: 250 788517182

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