In recent months, I have read many posts on this blog and others about the role strategic sourcing plays within an organization. I have even read some posts that indicate that the “tool” known as strategic sourcing is becoming a thing of the past, and that the strategic sourcing professional needs to evolve into the “relationship manager”. All this talk of change and evolution makes me scratch my head, because most of the companies I deal with - large and small - still don’t practice true strategic sourcing. Also, my head is itchy.

In most organizations, purchasing is still seen as a tactical function. Administratively, it is important to get product in, on time, and on the cheap, but how hard is it to place an order? Strategic Sourcing, while popular as a buzzword, still isn’t done effectively. In fact, many of the people I meet with Strategic Sourcing in their title still have operational and administrative roles within their organization, with a small amount of time, if any, dedicated to the strategic procurement of goods and services. Strategic sourcing and purchasing are pretty much still held in the same regard, and the responsibilities, regardless of title, are held by the same people within the organization, with the same level of oversight and involvement in strategic planning as in the past.

That being said, I do come across organizations where sourcing has broken through the stigma, received sponsorship/oversight from the executive level on down, and changed company culture so that procurement is looked at as a strategic function rather than a tactical one.

In my next few posts I will write about the roles and responsibilities of a Strategic Sourcing Professional, what makes their role truly unique, and what traits are required to push through the cultural barriers and develop a Best-In-Class sourcing organization.
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Joe Payne

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