Happy Pennsylvania Day! That's right, July 20th means its time to celebrate everything that makes our nation's second state so great. From Erie to Easton, from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, let's hear it for the Keystone State!
Pennsylvania officially earned its nickname in 1802. Honoring both its central position among the original colonies and its immense historical significance, the moniker identifies Pennsylvania as the essential piece in the American puzzle.
Despite the nickname, not everyone recognizes Pennsylvania's value. It's easily dismissed and often forgotten in comparison to states like New York, California, or Texas. Though Philly sports fans are recognized nationwide, the state hasn't managed to flip negative stereotypes into an identity quite like its neighbor New Jersey.
You might call Procurement the Pennsylvania of an organization. At their most strategic, Procurement departments are indispensable. They are well-equipped to manage risk, identify opportunity, and generate value across the business. Within many organizations, however, the function is still dismissed as a purely tactical entity. As a result, Procurement often occupies an obscure position and fails to reach its full potential. What ought to be a keystone operates likes any other brick.
Perception is reality. For Procurement to act as the value generating keystone of an organization it has to successfully present itself as valuable to earn the necessary buy-in. That'll mean working hard to establish and communicate a new, more impactful brand. Where should they start? Grab a hoagie and check out some of Source One's suggestions.
1. Align Internally
It's possible that even professionals within Procurement undervalue or misunderstand the function. Before Procurement can disseminate its value proposition, it has to ensure it's value is consistently recognized and articulated among its own ranks. Everyone within Procurement should work together to generate a mission statement that aligns with the entire organization's core values and will resonate throughout its various units. In developing this mission statement, Procurement should also take care to promote an innovative and proactive approach to technology. By framing itself as tech-savvy, forward thinking entity, Procurement will broaden both its internal and external appeal.
2. Broaden Procurement's Vocabulary
If anything has contributed to Procurement's middling reputation, it's the perception that the function is focused on cost reduction and cost reduction alone. The term 'savings' might look great on paper, but to Marketing or IT's ears it's likely to conjure images of sub-par products and disappointing services. Procurement must work to understand the goals, objectives, and values of its peers within the organization. Once the function has done its homework, it's got to encourage collaboration by presenting its value proposition in terms that resonate with IT, Marketing, Operations and other functions. That could mean, for example, tossing out the word 'savings' in favor of 'budget optimization.' It's not enough for Procurement to promote the value of its own work. It has to do so with a tone and vocabulary that will inspire and activate the rest of the organization.
3. Communicate Wins
Building a better brand for your Procurement function will take a time and a whole lot of effort. In that time and throughout those efforts, your organization will undoubtedly experience some setbacks. More importantly, however, you'll experience wins both big and small. It's essential that everyone within Procurement make it their business to advertise these successes. In time, no one across the organization will find it possible to deny Procurement's tangible impact. Staffing your department with professionals who are eager to evangelize the function will not only make it easier to claim a seat at the table, but will also help attract a higher caliber of talent.
Need help building or refining Procurement's brand? Reach out to the Procurement Transformation specialists at Source One today. In the meantime, don't forget to check out Source One's new Procurement Transformation eBook. Capturing insights from nearly a dozen Supply Management experts, it covers Procurement's brand, the history of Procurement Transformation, and much, much more.