This week, Associate Director  and Procurement Transformation Lead Jennifer Ulrich joins the Source One Podcast to discuss a troubling trend within many of today's Procurement groups. In their pursuit of the latest and greatest, she suggests, many organizations forget to educate their teams on the fundamentals of Procurement and Strategic Sourcing.

Whether it's thirst for a new technology, a fundamental misunderstanding of Procurement's role, or something else entirely, the issue affects organizations of all shapes and sizes. Ulrich urges these companies to take a step back and rethink their priorities. Without the necessary training, she remarks, organizations will "struggle to even support an effective Procurement function, let alone prepare for the digitalization of it."

For some organizations, internal knowledge gaps are simply the result of low budgets. All is not lost, however, for these teams. While investing in third-party support might be off the table, these organizations can more than afford to invest in online resources. Educational materials like webinars and eBooks are often available free of charge. Though these resources can't truly replace a formal training program, they'll provide a useful supplement to any internal efforts.

Before committing to training of any sort, Ulrich advises Procurement's leaders to interview their team members and thoroughly assess their capabilities. A program will prove infinitely more effective if its tailored to build on Procurement's strengths and correct its particular shortcomings. Such a program will provide for a more engaged, motivated, and productive team. Gradually, any issues related to poor employee retention will fall by the wayside as Procurement grows more strategic and impactful.

Ulrich concludes by reminding listeners that Procurement training is not for Procurement alone. "Procurement's processes," she says, "impact all business units." For that reason, it's essential that individuals across the business possess at least a working knowledge of what Procurement does and how it enables the business. With these cross-functional training programs in place, Procurement should excel at promoting collaboration and delivering on its business objectives.

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