If they can't appreciate the value that procurement can deliver or understand the sourcing process, stakeholders won't want to participate in the initiative. As supply chain, procurement and sourcing professionals, it is our responsibility to drive stakeholder engagement as a strategy for maximizing the success of the sourcing initiative. So how can we effectively communicate with the stakeholders of these other business units and encourage their engagement in our efforts to support them?

Here are a few suggestions for gaining loyal supporters in any sourcing initiative:

1. Understand their perspective - Every group of stakeholders within an organization has a unique set of needs, concerns and requirements. By making the effort to understand everyone's perspective, they will realize this sourcing opportunity has the potential for them to drive results and add value for their organization. The stakeholder's preferences with the incumbent supplier can also be established here and provide them with the guarantee that the factors they value will not be thrown aside for the lowest price. As an added bonus, understanding these stakeholders will offer the opportunity for them to understand your perspective as a procurement or supply chain stakeholder and establish some common ground. 

2. Encourage collaboration - The earlier stakeholders can be involved, the more they can offer their input on and ensure the majority of the decisions made are taking their expectations into consideration. These individuals possess the expertise, additional resources and access to data that can be supportive during the sourcing engagement. When supply chain or procurement stakeholders can effectively communicate their intentions with stakeholders from other functions in the organization, the relationship can be mutually beneficial. Procurement needs the groups of stakeholder's they support to offer visibility into their function so they can identify areas for additional value. 

3. Demonstrate the value Procurement offers- The inaccurate stigma associated with procurement and supply chain professional's willing to sacrifice value for cost reduction initiatives has left stakeholders hesitant for procurement's involvement in their function. To help stakeholders understand that procurement is not purely tactical and does not simply want to achieve a percentage of savings, procurement can share success stories from previous work of the procurement department. These examples will build credibility and establish stakeholder buy-in that can ease the process ultimately achieve optimal results for all stakeholders involved. 

Recently, Source One was recognized for bringing together supply chain and IT stakeholders in a strategic sourcing initiative by Supply and Demand Chain Executive's Top 100 Projects Award. This client was seeking a more efficient Warehouse Management System (WMS) that supported their goal of organizational wide sustainable practices. Both IT and supply chain stakeholder input was necessary for the success of this project, and Source One's procurement consultants prioritized the alignment of both of these groups. By gaining both the units' perspectives in their strategy Source One's team was able to identify the best-fit WMS that met the client's IT and supply chain needs. 

To learn more about Source One's procurement and strategic sourcing abilities, visit sourceoneinc.com
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