Procurement can often be an undervalued or unrecognized component of a business, especially when there is limited visibility into how their activities impact the bottom line. With more focus being directed towards procurement within the recent years, both internal and external stakeholders are beginning to see the benefit these teams bring beyond cost savings Last week John Sepcie explored how improving how procurement interacts with other areas of the organization can be critical to the success of the business. Examining the nuances of how procurement interacts with stakeholders can also heavily impact how this group is perceived by all other parties.
When we think about perception of procurement, there are several things to consider:
- Does procurement have a seat at the table? Does procurement have any strategic pull in executive decisions made for the business or are they simply seen only as a tactical group?
- Are job responsibilities proactive or reactive? Does procurement help build strategic purchasing plans, assess supplier performance, formulate market assessments, or simply function as short-term buyers when someone else identifies a need
- Does procurement have cross-functional engagement? Where does procurement stand in the company hierarchy and how do they engage with other areas of the business? How often do they work with other areas of the organization to help make their value known to stakeholders outside of the procurement team?
Communication, Support, and Understanding
Its important to start asking yourself the questions above to truly understand the image procurement portrays to the entire organization. If that image is murky, other stakeholders may not even know when to collaborate with procurement The good news is that there are always ways to improve upon that perception. Most of the work will be around improving the relationships procurement has with stakeholders, employees, and suppliers, and making the value they bring to these respective groups more transparent.
- Build cross-departmental relationships – Building relationships with other departments within the organization is critical for procurement to be seen a strategic asset to the company.
- Understand stakeholder goals – Does procurement understand the goals of organization and are they able to respond appropriately to have those needs met? A big part about showing procurement’s value is displaying that procurement understands the goals of the different departments and how the goals of different departments may intersect.
- Know what your organization is buying – When procurement understands not only what departments are buying, but how these goods and services tie back to overarching company objectives, it opens the opportunity for procurement to become an advisor on more strategic organizational initiatives.
- Improve Self Perceptions- With so much emphasis on how procurement is viewed externally, it’s also important to consider how they perceive themselves within the organization. If procurement feels as if they are contributing nothing other than being a tactical purchasing group, that can strain relationships they may be trying to build.
Altering the Image of Procurement
If you would like to learn more, Corcentric’s Jennifer Ulrich will be speaking at the ISM World Annual Conference about the ways businesses can maximize the value of procurement departments. Her talk will include ways in which you can alter the perception of the procurement team through specific case studies and personal challenges and successes she has experienced while working with clients in the industry.
Need help improving how your procurement team is perceived in your organization? Register today to attend.