Last night, the Institute for Supply Management's Philadelphia chapter held its October Dinner Meeting. Jennifer Ulrich, Source One's Associate Director and Procurement Transformation lead, served as the keynote speaker. Leveraging her years of experience supporting Fortune 1000 organizations, she discussed 'Sourcing Excellence Through Category Management.'

An industry-recognized expert and an advocate for Procurement's strategic evolution, Ulrich has helped numerous companies replace their tactical practices with more nuanced approaches to managing spend and suppliers. In many instances, she has done so by building Category Management frameworks from the ground up.

"Realizing Procurement's full strategic potential," she says, "is only possible when companies allow their purchasing unit to continually grow and evolve. This begins with laying the groundwork for collaborating with other business units and proactively addressing every category on its own terms."

Ulrich's call to action focused on three key considerations for making Procurement a Category Manager: attracting and empowering Procurement talent, establishing strategic relationships with suppliers and other external stakeholders, and marketing Procurement's value internally.

Enablement and empowerment were crucial themes. Misconceptions, Ulrich acknowledges, still hamper Procurement within many organizations. Couple that with poor communication, and the function can struggle to deliver on its strategic objectives. She reminded ISM-Philadelphia's members that the function has to "speak the language" of its peers if it really wants to reach its potential.

She suggests that no stakeholders within the organization should ever wonder how Procurement will enable them to reach their goals. Instead, they should feel confident in Procurement's value and proactively seek out its assistance. It's up to Procurement, she believes, to create a culture where this happens.

Ulrich's thoughts on Procurement's ongoing evolution are also featured in Procurement Transformation: Industry Perspectives. Download the comprehensive eBook today to learn more from Ulrich and a collection of Supply Management thought leaders.
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