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Supply chain leaders reaffirm commitment to digitization

Is digital procurement the wave of the future, or part of the present? Those two options seem to be the only possible paths for logistics departments to go, as high-tech solutions take hold in every imaginable industry. Sticking with heavily analog processes limits the kind of speed, efficiency and visibility open to companies. Exciting new processes such as predictive analytics don't work unless they have stores of digital information to use as raw material.

The move to more tech-savvy operations has been playing out in the supply chain for a long time, with leaders trying to find ways to square the technology's potential with existing processes that still have a foot in the manual operations sphere. The winning formula for companies will involve a direct path to value, with short-term and immediate gains opening the possibility of more permanent advantages to come.

Leadership shows determination
According to the University of Applied Sciences Wurzburg-Schweinfurt's new SAP-sponsored study of procurement managers, the entire industry is on the precipice of an evolutionary process that has been promised for decades. The next steps of digital investment will take businesses beyond the simple automation of existing processes and begin delivering strategic value rather than just operational savings. Though it's true that most departments haven't yet completed their adoption of the new projects, leaders have envisioned their next steps.

The split between executives who believe in digitizing and those who have accomplished the process remains pronounced. The university's survey revealed that 83 percent of the 450 employees surveyed are convinced digital implementation will change the way they do business. That number contrasts sharply with the mere 5 percent who have already gotten through the process of automating their operations to a significant degree. Evolution is on the way, but the tide has yet to turn in most organizations.

Actual effects of digital transformation can involve exciting new capabilities for procurement departments. According to the University of Applied Sciences, the wave of effective new processes coming to the supply chain won't take the form of robots occupying purchasing roles currently occupied by human employees. Instead of putting people out of work, digital algorithms will give high-speed insights that enable efficient and accurate buying decisions. Artificial intelligence is more of an enabling tool than a simulated worker.

A mind full of digital data icons.AI and employees work together to make sense of overwhelming data volume.
AI in a chaotic world
The kind of assistance provided by powerful new algorithms may be essential for analysts trying to wade through a sea of numbers and keep their departments on track. Suplari Head of Marketing Gregg Makuch told the vast amount of information flowing into and out of supply chain departments can be overwhelming. This chaotic flow of data can be hard to parse, which is where analytics tools come in.

Going digital is a process with many parts. Replacing analog record-keeping with digital solutions may swamp departments with data, leaving employees scratching their heads. Augmenting those human workers with advanced AI, as Makuch suggested, is a way to make the many kinds of information tell a coherent story. At the end of this digitization journey, there are exciting and timely insights waiting to be mined.

This blog is brought to us by MRA Global Sourcing

Recruiting Procurement talent is challenging and all-important, but retaining hires and keeping them engaged is often even more important and even more challenging. Incentives and benefits are a great start, but many organizations struggle to find an appropriate balance between over-the-top perks like unlimited vacation days and more traditional options like a good 401k. The right direction will differ for each company, but these tips should help everyone get a better understanding of how their employee benefits programs stack up.

Encourage A Good Work-Life Balance 
A manageable balance between work and life reduces stress and absenteeism in the workplace. Inc. recently reported that workers who feel positively about their workload will perform 21% more effectively than their more unhappy counterparts. There are a number of incentives companies can offer that will encourage a better work-life balance. These might include introducing a work-from-home policy that allows employees to function remotely on a regular basis. Inc. goes on to explain that working remotely improves both satisfaction and performance. You might also consider providing employees the opportunity (within reason) to create their own office hours.

Anne Hayden, MRINetwork's VP of Human Resources remarks, "Once a novelty, flexible and remote work options have become the norm in many workplaces." She continues, "Data has demonstrated that providing the means to create a positive work-life balance can increase engagement as well as output." These opportunities and incentives are also shown to improve employee retention. This, in turn, reduces the amount of time and effort an organization needs to reserve for hiring and recruiting new talent.

Establish Incentive Programs
Everyone wants to see their hard work acknowledged. Procurement managers should make honest, consistent efforts to recognize jobs well done and continued success. According to the American Marketing Association, recognizing employees for their productivity and innovation will promote engagement, motivation, and productivity.

"When praise is organic and genuine, employees are much more likely to feel connected to the work that they do and thus, continue to remain engaged," adds Hayden. "Going beyond verbal recognition, other forms of compensation for hard work can help drive success." Competitive compensation, for example, can keep teams and individuals on their toes and promote better performance.

Leverage 'Bonus' Perks
Driving employee engagement and improving morale is as simple as implementing low-cost bonus perks. If you're worried catered lunches or happy hours might break the bank, consider smaller perks like flexible hours, fresh fruit and vegetables, or game rooms. At their best, these incentives will promote social connections among your Procurement team and build a sense of camaraderie moving forward.

"Employee perks can at first appear to be bait on the hook - purely there to catch the biggest fish," writes Alex Holderness of the The StartUp. "But the truth is that a well-designed employee perk package can help the employer day-to-day as well."

If nothing else, small perks could mean more smiling faces around the office. A happy employee, one who truly has fun at the office, is far more likely to feel connected to their employer, its goals, and its vision. Even something as small as donuts in the break room can go a long way toward making your Procurement team feel valued and engaged.

Driven, satisfied employees will work wonders for your organization's brand. They'll take to social media to sing the praises of your workplace and its culture. As ambassadors, they'll attract new talent and continually make positive contributions to office morale. "Big changes start with small adjustments," concludes Hayden. "Start improving your day-to-day workplace policies today."

ICYMIM: April 23, 2018

Source One's series for keeping up with the most recent highlights in procurement, strategic sourcing, and supply chain news week-to-week.  Check in with us every Monday to stay up to date with the latest supply management news.
Sydney Lazarus, Spend Matters, 4/17/2018
A new study by Deloitte and the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation has found that manufacturers are increasingly aware of the benefits a digital supply network might provide. Implementation of these technologies, however, is still generally lacking. Unsurprisingly, the primary obstacle standing in the way of implementation is insufficient funding. Other barriers include fragmented data, poor strategic management, and an inability to scale up initiatives. While all of these ranked highly, talent is still perhaps the primary concern for organizations. Deloitte reports that recruitment, retention, and training each present distinct challenges.

Why a True Supply Management Professional Still Will Not Be Replaced by Technology
Michael Lamoureux, Sourcing Innovation, 4/17/2018
The Doctor addresses the concerns of Procurement professionals who fear they'll soon find themselves out of a job. He suggests that humans are safe so long as algorithms are unable to truly sense. Predictive analytics are making progress, but machines still can't accurately predict how humans will behave. As a result, we can only expect them to negotiate with other machines. Successful negotiations are depend on more than simply transmitting a message. For the time being, the human element is an indispensable component of this process and of supply management altogether. Technology can make Procurement professionals more productive, but it won't replace them (yet).

From Talent to Category Management: 4 Critical Development Areas for Procurement 
Sydney Lazarus, Spend Matters, 4/19/2018
According to a recent Hackett Group report, cybersecurity and talent are the primary concerns for today's CPOs. Other areas of concern include broadening Procurement's scope and influence, improving agility, better managing complex spend categories, and producing value beyond cost savings. More than a quarter of respondents say they're going about achieving these goals by pursing talent from outside Procurement. In general, the report reveals a considerable discrepancy between Procurement's goals and its present capabilities. For example, 83% of respondents consider category management a high priority, but only 56% believe their team is currently equipped to develop these programs. 
Procurement's agenda involves targeted improvement

Taking on new technologies, capabilities and priorities in procurement departments will largely transform these teams over the next few years. The current digital age represents a significant change from the way business was conducted even a few years ago, and firms that fully embrace new points of view may be better able to cope with the new reality than their competitors. While evolution is necessary, it can also be nerve-wracking for officials within the supply chain. The decisions they make today may set their course for years to come.

Deciding what to change and how will be essential, with firms needing a list of actionable and clearly delineated changes that address real-world issues they're facing. With clear priorities and a dose of market research, leaders can set their agendas. The supply chain of tomorrow will emerge as organizations across industries and regions executive their respective strategies and revolutionize the way they procure goods and services.

Four areas of attention
According to the Hackett Group's 2018 industry survey, there are four distinct functional areas that executives should target for improvement in the near future. First, leaders should ensure their teams are stocked with relevant skills and knowledge as requirements change across the sector. They should also find ways to determine the value of their departments in real business terms that the rest of the company will be able to understand. It's important for procurement departments to embrace supplier relationship management to optimize their contracts. Finally, they should embrace category management.

The set of priorities identified by Hackett is so vital because the net effect of the changes within could involve a transformation of the supply chain's overall role. Procurement departments that are more concerned with delivering value to the whole organization and aligning with overall goals may find their importance snowballing in the years ahead. Corporate managers that work more closely with their logistics teams may find a positive cycle emerging - greater decision-making power and integration with business operations go hand in hand.

A meeting in a boardroom.Do supply chain leaders have a stake in company-wide decisions?
High hopes for the future
Another survey of chief procurement officers, this one by Deloitte, found there is a gap between the ways these departments want to contribute to organizational performance and their current abilities. As of the study, 24 percent of CPOs see their teams as valued partners of executives, with a strategic role and proven track record of value. Many more, 86 percent, want to take on this kind of role in the future. This shows the path supply chain groups will work over the next few years, even as plenty of work remains to get there.

When the C-suite is on board with procurement's agenda and operations, the relationship between logistics and overall operations tends to thrive. This is a bond employees will likely focus heavily on building in the future. There is a need for improvement, with Deloitte noting that the amount of supply chain leaders who feel supported by their companies' executives actually declined between the 2016 and 2017 results. With a clear agenda ahead of them, managers can take on this relevant strategic challenge.

It's that time of year again. That's right, Look Alike Day is finally here. Established by a Pittsburgh television reporter in the 1980s, everyone's favorite unofficial holiday celebrates doppelgangers, doubles, and duplicates everywhere.

For Procurement professionals, it can sometimes look like every day is Look Alike Day. The department's huge catalog of relevant terms and phrases includes a number of words that look and sound almost identical. To make matters more complicated, the majority of these lookalike Procurement terms mean completely different things. Need some help getting your definitions straight? You're in luck. Source One's terminology team can help you make sense of Procurement's dictionary.

1. Digitization vs. Digitalization

Digitization: This term refers to the process of transitioning from analog to digital technology. Think of the ongoing move from CDs and DVDs to MP3s and MP4s. For Procurement, this could mean shifting from physical contracts to digital files in a contract repository or abandoning paper purchase orders in favor their electronic counterparts.

Digitalization: This is ultimately the more meaningful term for Procurement and Strategic Sourcing professionals. It describes the use of digital technologies to change business models and create new opportunities. A Procurement team looking to digitalize itself might look into spend analytics platforms, eProcurement tools, or other solutions for streamlining and optimizing the sourcing process.

2. Managed Spend vs. Spend Under Management 

Managed Spend: Procurement professionals often mistake managed spend for true spend under management. To qualify as managed, spend only needs to be tracked and made available for analysis. Just because your Procurement team has entered historical spend into a spend analysis or opportunity assessment platform does not mean they've brought it under management. They've certainly put down a nice foundation, but they've still got quite a bit of work ahead of them.

Spend Under Management: For manged spend to qualify as spend under management, Procurement needs to make sure that all of their spend is effectively categorized, strategic purchases are made across all categories, and that all purchasing decisions are inspired and reinforced by a dependable platform. Procurement can't reach its full potential until it gets the entirety of their managed spend under the management of an expert team and cutting-edge platform.

3. BPO vs. GPO

BPO: Business Process Outsourcing providers offer Procurement teams support for all or some of their operations. The best of these organizations offer flexible, fit to purpose support for Procurement organizations at any maturity level. Many, however offer little but boilerplate support and inexperienced consultants. Source One cautions any organization from selecting its Procurement BPO based on price alone. The seemingly cost effective choice is often anything but.

GPO: A  Group Purchasing Organization leverages the buying power of multiple businesses to negotiate discounts with vendors. In theory, this collaboration makes it easier to obtain favorable prices, terms, and conditions. Industries ranging from health care to industrial manufacturing favor this system to optimize their purchases. You might think small businesses are more likely to take part in a GPO, but research from Spend Matters suggests that 15-20% of Fortune 1000 companies take part in purchasing groups as well.

Still feeling confused? Contact the Procurement team at Source One today. We'll leverage our years of experience and wealth of resources to fill in any gaps in your understanding and prepare your team to produce long-term value.

How do we know what we are getting unless we give it a whirl or actually trying it on for size? Unfortunately, we do not always get this opportunity for all business exchanges.

In this series we will be exploring the problems with the management consulting industry, from my vantage during my experiences in this industry.

While at times this series might seem as though that I am bringing straight heat to your standard white glove management consultants, from the likes of Mckinsey, Bain to Accenture and IBM, but in truth, behind the snark, I think these points are much more positive in spirit, I am really just an advocate for a better work product and result, while seeking tones of snark to entertain. <Disclaimer done!> (for potential future prospective client employers)  

Now that is out of the way, let me paint this scene: You are down to two suppliers and lets call one of the presenting company’s Srey Dickinesy Marketing..To be confused with companies that have similar names...
They do their pitch, coming in with loads of energy and with people who have off the record job titles of something to the effect of the “The Closer” and “The Finisher”. They show up with a team of 15 and naturally of course, requesting a larger room last second - Just to show their shallow might and to make this statement: "if you buy us, we will bring departments for your $500K engagement." Thinking from their perspective, they got to like one of us. In my space we call this the Ka Bookie Okie Dance. KBD for short. We all might know someone who fell victim to KBD…  
...Welcome to the world of Sourcing, Management, and Specialized consulting...

You of course select one of the 2 KBD providers for your outsourced, augmentation and or consultative capacity and you get the ol’ switch a roo when it comes to services being rendered. Day one of the engagement, you get meet the B Team. Lets talk about the B team in our next post on this series. Our focus here is really about managing expectations and making sure you engage with what's really needed.

Should fall victim and Prey to predators transmitting KBD you will likely experience the following symptoms:

·       Amnesia, forgetting that you ever liked this company to begin with

·       Extreme buyer’s remorse, resulting in doubts on other purchases seemingly not related, like your pants you have on today.  thinking thoughts like “ would I be in this situation if I bought pants with pleats?”

Here is how to prevent and Treat KBD:

Scope of work! Scope of Work! Scope of Work! & Review and interview. From my experiences  I have been interviewed by clients 4 times before being placed on an actual engagements. That’s just how we do things in the NON KBD Transmissions transactions, there is integrity… Weird right. Make Corporate Great Again? Nope, just kidding. Anyway hope you enjoyed this read and will check out the next post in this series. Problems and Solutions with Management Consulting: The People.

Even in an era of emerging technologies and software solutions, talent is still the most important tool in Procurement's repertoire. There's no replacing the right team of dedicated subject matter experts.

CPOs recognize this. PWC reports that a whopping 93% consider talent management a primary concern. Only 39%, however, believe they've already taken the necessary steps to improve their processes.

As Procurement grows more important to leading organizations, identifying the right talent grows even more important for the department. That means devoting resources to recruiting, interviewing, and hiring the wrong person can prove especially costly. So what exactly does Procurement lose when they pursue the wrong resource?

Want to learn more about making the right hiring decisions. Reach out to Source One's Procurement recruiting and staffing experts today. 

April 20, 2018

Here's a look at where Source One's cost reduction experts have been featured this week!

Recent Podcasts:
ISM2018 Session Insights (Episode 9) - Becoming an Employer of Choice in Procurement
MRA Global Sourcing's Nick Lazarra joins ISM2018 Session Insights to offer insights for companies looking to better navigate the competitive and crowded market for Procurement talent. As blue chip organizations continue to boost their Procurement function, it becomes increasingly challenging for small and mid-sized companies to distinguish themselves as employers of choice. Lazarra presents his tips for standing out and attracting world-class Procurement professionals.

ISM2018 Session Insights (Episode 8) - Responding to Supply Chain Disruptions
These days, data breaches are a fact of life for supply chain professionals in just about any industry. Torey Guingrich, a Procurement IT expert, joins ISM2018 Session Insights to provide her tips for managing these risks. It's not enough, she suggests, to prepare for a data breach. It's essential to develop response plans for when a breach occurs. In these instances, Procurement should function as an internal project manager to ensure stakeholders in each department know their role and communicate effectively among themselves.

Upcoming Events:
REV2018 Jaggaer Conference: Las Vegas, NV
Since 1992, Source One's Procurement consultants have emphasized innovation, education, and acceleration in supply chain management. From April 24-26, Jaggaer's REV2018 conference will bring other industry professionals together to discuss these ideas, exchange best practices, and lay the foundation for supply management's next generation. In addition to sponsoring the event, Source One will attend as featured presenters. Associate Director and Procurement Transformation Practice Lead, Jennifer Ulrich, will deliver offer tips for aligning Procurement's people, technology, and process in Maximizing Fuel Efficiency.

ISM2018: Nashville, TN
It's almost time for the year's premier supply chain event. May 6-9, Source One's strategic sourcing experts will join industry peers at ISM's Annual Conference. In addition to serving as premier sponsors and exhibitors, Source One's team will co-host a pair of presentations. On May 7, Analyst Kaitlyn Krigbaum will offer tips for building a leading Procurement function in Orchestrating a Procurement Transformation: A Symphony of Recruiting, Branding, and Leading. On May 9, Director Diego De la Garza will present his insights for rehabilitating Procurement's reputation in Overcoming Procurement's Internal Image Problem.

ExecIn: Nashville, TN
May 7-8, Source One will serve as the exclusive host and sponsor of ISM's ExecIn Forum. Reserved for executive-level supply chain professionals, the event features expert-led discussions, private sessions with ISM2018's keynote speakers, and countless opportunities for Procurement and Supply Management's true leaders to network, exchange best practices, and discuss their industry's emerging trends.

Whether you have undergone a merger or acquisition, are experiencing significant changes in company structure, or are constructing a fleet policy or management structure for the first time, it is important to consider how re-evaluating your fleet could lead to significant savings. At Source One Management Services, we assess every aspect of your Vehicle Fleet to find cost-savings not only in price per unit, but through contract negotiations that provide you with comprehensive services that satisfy the needs of your company. These contracts not only save money in the short-run, but ensure vehicle safety, efficiency, and maintenance, so your fleet investment doesn’t fade due to a shorter vehicle-shelf life than you had expected.

Before negotiating these contracts, however, there are important questions and considerations to think over when assessing your company’s fleet needs. 

The first aspect of fleet to consider is your company’s vehicle make-up. Fleet is a large category, and it is important to consider the types of vehicles you are using for specific purposes. Are these vehicles similar? Are they stratified into distinct categories?

Depending on your company’s needs, it may be valuable to standardize your fleet. By standardizing your fleet, you may be able to find lower maintenance costs from limiting the variety of parts needed to repair or maintain vehicles. Standardizing your fleet also opens a door to more competitive contract pricing if your fleet volume is large enough. 

The next aspect of the fleet process to consider is fleet leasing. Are you leasing from more than one company? Are there incentives to streamline your fleet dealer?

Although every company’s needs are different, it is important to consider how streamlining your fleet sources could create savings. At Source One, we can help consolidate fleet spending to cut costs by developing a supplier scorecard. These appraise your supplier's performance to ensure they are capable of meeting your needs. Contracting with one dealer in larger volumes creates opportunity for more cost-control and allows both you and the supplier to negotiate vehicles and services that match your company’s needs. Some of these negotiations could include establishing a consistent vehicle replacement schedule, receiving a retainer bonus, rebates through fuel card programs, loyalty incentives, or unit discounts. By limiting the number of dealers with whom you are contracting, you are typically able to purchase in larger volumes. This, in turn, leads to fewer contract negotiations and provides additional leverage for those negotiations that are necessary. 

It is tempting to believe that all fuel programs have the same benefits. However, the type of vehicle fleet you are utilizing may determine the types of fuel services that suit your company’s needs. Here, we consider how your fleet’s fuel needs could be best accommodated.

Fuel cards are perhaps the most common fuel service provided by fleet dealers, and can allow drivers the flexibility to fill up when needed. For heavier-duty vehicles, however, looking for an OEM dealer that provides wet hosing services may be a more practical option. They eliminate the risk of fuel-card misuse and keep your company from paying retail price for fuel. Wet hosing services can also produce soft dollar savings by reducing the time it takes to fuel off-site vehicles. 

Every supplier can provide something different. Sometimes it is easy to look at the baselines for all suppliers and assume their services are the same. Though cost per unit is important in terms of OEM fleet, it is often the additional administrative and maintenance services that make the biggest differences in both price and convenience.

Depending on the size of your fleet, perhaps it’s important to consider how services like vehicle inventory and managing replacement schedules may take a load off of your shoulders. If you are a larger firm, you may already be hiring third-party providers to manage these aspects of your supply chain. However, many OEC suppliers like Ford, GM, Nissan and Toyota offer onsite management services and telematics technologies that oversee pricing and administrative functions. This type of vehicle inventory monitoring can ensure that maintenance is taken care of in a timely fashion, and vehicle replacement is occurring when necessary. Cutting back on 3rd party fleet management services can cut internal costs and create a more streamlined approach to vehicle management.

Although this is only a sketch of things to consideration as you re-evaluate your fleet spending, a sourcing specialist at Source One can assist you with the ins and outs of picking the right supplier for your company’s needs.

Procurement can become Marketing's Knight in Shining Armor

Procurement has long-since tried to be the knight in shining armor who saves marketing by slaying the proverbial dragon, implementing cost-reduction tactics to slash costs and save money. But what may have been a well-intended happily ever-after has evolved into a Brothers Grimm plot twist. Read on for actionable insights Procurement can take today to transform this tragedy into a fairy tale.

If measuring success based on cost-reduction, you’re on the wrong quest

The irony in this tragic tale of procurement and marketing is in its room for interpretation. Procurement defines procuring as saving, while marketing defines procuring as killing: killing their talent, creativity, and brand. As history would have it, Procurement began working alongside Marketing in more tactical categories such as coupons and commercial and operational print, but as Procurement pushed harder for cost-reduction and savings, a divide was created and the seeds of conflict began. What was once a united effort is now the Marketing vs. Procurement dichotomy. So, what’s the resolution to the age-old conflict of procurement fighting the wrong battle? The quest for procurement is not to kill the beast, but instead to tame it and train it. In other words, the goal is not cost-reduction, but investment and reinvestment to achieve harmony.

To revert back to our knight in shining armor example, you wouldn’t buy a wooden sword to ward off a dragon just because it’s a cheaper alternative to a steel sword. Similarly, evaluating a marketing agency focused solely on the immediacy of cost-reductions and ignoring the consequences of long-term sustainable quality and market impact is like battling that dragon with your wooden sword. It’s crazy, and will utterly fail. When you make an investment decision based solely on costs, the outcome is grave at best. If you’re measuring success based on increasing marketing ROI, you’re on the right track. Increase agency value through supplier relationship management and budget optimization to improve marketing efficiency and become the fairy tale hero.

Procurement must give up specificity and embrace ambiguity
Marketing is inherently creative and innovative, and is driven by elements like insights and intuition, which are difficult to quantify, difficult to track, and yet absolutely essential to growing the business. Simply put, marketing is focused on the intangibles. Procurement on the other hand is analytical, metrics driven, and almost entirely focused on tangible, quantifiable values, such as cost reduction and spend under management.

In marketing, quality is often a variable, and creative agency evaluation and selection may not always be the apples to apples comparison procurement is used to. Direct materials sourcing is static, but marketing agencies and marketing suppliers are in a highly fluid marketplace. Direct materials sourcing employs cost reduction strategies to cut costs associated with the annual fixed budget; however, the budget associated with marketing isn’t always so concrete. So how can Procurement add value to the marketing team? Procurement must relinquish the need for control and learn to find creative and innovative solutions for problems across marketing’s network of agencies. By demonstrating a complete understanding of the investments marketing wants to make and helping marketing determine how agencies fit into their overarching strategy, Procurement strengthens the marketing procurement alliance. Therefore, Procurement needs to be comfortable with ambiguity, and respond to it accordingly.

Ultimately, Procurement can become a collaborative "hero" to Marketing if they focus on delivering the right message, and track success with the right metrics. While cost-reduction is still an important component of any sourcing strategy across any spend area, its importance is second to overall quality, brand differentiation, and customer loyalty for Marketing. Source One’s contingency cost-reduction experts are committed to driving brand value and optimizing the marketing category by increasing marketing ROI, and can help your Procurement team implement Marketing Procurement best practices today.

Procurement's internal reputation is a hot (and hotly debated) topic. Recent years have seen the department's standing improve. What were once backroom purchasing teams have become fully strategic business partners and agents for change.

Getting internal stakeholders on-board, however, is just one part of the battle. Procurement still has to attract applicants and inspire them to stick around and see the department through its next era. The incoming wave of young talent has more options than any generation before it. For Procurement to differentiate itself, it will need to establish and communicate a new, more compelling value proposition. Check out Source One's tips for communicating the value and potential of Procurement's brand.

1. Align Internally
Before Procurement can communicate its value, it needs to internally codify what its value is. An inconsistent, imprecise, or incomplete argument won't impress a leading applicant. Everyone who touches any portion of the hiring process has to align and communicate freely with one another. This will not only keep messaging consistent, but will ensure that efforts are amended as necessary. Messaging should focus on the company's history, mission, and vision while emphasizing (wherever possible) Procurement's critical importance.

2. Emphasize Agility and Flexibility
It's entirely possible that your applicant still associates Procurement with rigidity, compliance, and purchase orders. Take pains to disabuse them of this idea throughout the recruiting and interview process. Your listings should speak to the new, more nuanced role Procurement plays within organizations. Your interviews should include discussions of diverse engagements and challenging initiatives. Millennial applicants are hungry for surprising and dynamic careers. It's up to Procurement hiring managers to remind everyone how well their field fits the bill.

3. Be Aggressive
Procurement needs to build the business case for itself. This is true both internally and externally. Ensure that Procurement exercises the same determination in recruiting that it reserves for chasing down cost savings and efficient supplier relationships. Posting to a job board won't cut it anymore. Procurement teams should supplement their recruiting efforts with visits to colleges, career fairs, and other relevant events. Putting a human face on supply management, your team will not only directly interface with promising candidates, but will also help refute the idea that Procurement is a hidden or obscure function.

4. Take the Lead on Ethics and Sustainability 
Young consumers and professionals are discerning when it comes to ethics. They won't purchase from a company they consider untrustworthy, and they're even less likely to work for such a company. Procurement is perfectly positioned to emphasize sustainable practices across the supply chain. In addition to spearheading these efforts, they should emphasize them throughout the recruitment process. Socially-conscious organizations love to emphasize their practices. Procurement should feel comfortable doing the same. Don't just explain how green your company is. Make the extra effort to underline Procurement's role in making it green.

5. Build Career Paths
It's important for employers to communicate their investment in each applicant's future. Discussing career paths during interviews is an easy way to show this investment. Internally, work to develop a clear trajectory for Procurement hires. Introduce it to applicants and make it clear that their investment and efforts will earn recognition and advancement. If your applicant feels like a part of something, they're far more likely to accept the position and grow with your organization.

Procurement certainly faces a talent gap. That doesn't mean the gap needs to keep getting wider. Taking the right steps to refine and communicate Procurement's brand could help your organization start narrowing the gap and building the right team. Looking for more help? Contact the Procurement recruitment and staffing team at Source One today

Want to learn more about Procurement's brand. Make sure to check out Orchestrating a Procurement Transformation: A Symphony of Recruiting, Branding, and Leading and Procurement's Internal Image Problem at ISM2018. Co-hosted by experts from Source One, both discussions will offer insights for emphasizing Procurement's value and establishing a world-class function.

Today, Source One Analyst Kaitlyn Krigbaum will attend Day 2 of the Strategic Sourcing & Supplier Relationship Management Conference. Hosted annually by The Conference Board, the event is a favorite for Procurement professionals looking to gain a competitive advantage through more strategic supplier relationships.

The two-day event features dozens of sessions hosted by recognized supply management experts and countless opportunities to network and share best practices. Attendees can expect to gain a better understanding of what differentiates truly valuable supplier relationships and learn best practices for reaching such agreements.

Source One's Procurement consultants offer world-class supplier relationship management services, but that doesn't mean they've learned everything there is to know. The entire team looks forward to learning new strategies and sharing them with our clients.

Next month, Krigbum will attend the Institute for Supply Management's Annual Conference as a featured presenter. On May 7th, she will leverage her considerable expertise to deliver Orchestrating a Procurement Transformation: A Symphony of Recruiting, Branding, and Leading.