"We know Procurement's value, but we have to demonstrate and deliver it continuously."

Sourcing Analyst Kaitlyn Krigbaum opened Orchestrating a Procurement Transformation: A Symphony of Recruiting, Branding, and Leading by expressing this sentiment. Procurement professionals, she suggested, are perfectly aware of the benefit they can bring an organization. They are not always effective, however, in communicating these benefits.

Throughout the presenation, she and co-hosts Nick Lazzarra (MRA Global Sourcing) and Scott Ottenheimer (QBE North America) offered ISM2018 attendees strategies for changing the conversation, gaining executive buy-in, and establishing a world-class Procurement department.

Taking a three-part approach to Procurement Transformation, the trio paid particular attention to building Procurement's brand, refining it's approach to recruitment, and delivering immediate value through more robust data analytics.

While Procurement's reputation has improved in recent years, its brand is still less-than-impactful within many organizations.  Before diving into the department's brand, Krigbaum took a closer look at what makes particular brands more impactful than others. She listed perception, reputation, relevance, and quality as particularly crucial to developing a strong brand identity.

No Procurement Transformation effort can succeed without buy-in from internal and external stakeholders. Without a resonant brand, this investment isn't easy to achieve. Procurement's re-branding efforts need to start from within. Before the department can sell itself to executives or clients, it has to understand its own objectives and establish a consistent message.

Soon, a unified Procurement department can start to communicate its wins and make other stakeholders into champions for the department. Change, however, will take time. Krigbaum took care to remind her audience that building a sustainable brand identity is a process of continuous improvement. While the term 'transformation' implies a quick-fix, these initiatives are typically quite the opposite. There's no one-size-fits-all strategy, but Krigbaum suggested the same principles almost always apply. A communicative, flexible, and engaged department will enjoy more effective branding efforts and produce more strategic value.

Nick Lazzara continued the discussion by identifying the dominant trends in Procurement recruiting. The market, he remarked, is as competitive and candidate-driven as it's ever been. As a result, employers have to devote considerable resources to setting themselves apart. How can small to mid-sized companies communicate with business behemoths? Lazzara recommends a strategic, decisive, and aggressive approach to pursuing A-list talent. 

Organizations can no longer afford to take a hands-off approach to recruitment. They need to develop a comprehensive hiring program supported by strong strategic partnerships. For many organizations, this will mean working alongside dedicated recruiters to develop flexible, transparent, and consistent methods for identifying and selecting new hires.

Lazzara concluded by emphasizing the importance of the candidate experience. Today's leading applicants know they've got a lot of choices. It's essential that organizations emphasize flexibility and growth opportunities while offering competitive compensation. 

Scott Ottenheimer brought the session to a close with more suggestions for innovative Procurement departments. The same old metrics, he reminded the audience, are no longer sufficient for measuring Procurement's value. 

He suggested that Procurement's ability to drive value through supplier relationships, data management, and process optimization often goes unrecognized. It's up to Procurement to earn this recognition by solving its problems differently, tracking its success with metrics beyond cost savings, and letting data tell the story. Once this story is out there, once Procurement's successes are clear, enthusiasm and executive buy-in will follow. 

Source One's Procurement Transformation team will offer more thought leadership as ISM2018 continues. On May 9th, Director Diego De la Garza will co-host Overcoming Procurement's Internal Image Problem. In this session, ISM2018 attendees will gain more insights into how they can better market Procurement's value and make the department a true business partner. 

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