Sanderson Procurement consultant, Kate Garrett, discusses how procurement professionals can build stronger relationships within their companies
Procurement has become a more important department in recent years, as companies come to see the value identifying key strategies and processes necessary to move the organisation forward.
However, procurement do continue to struggle integrating themselves thoroughly into other departments – they are seen as a blocker, rather than a benefit.
In my experience, procurement regularly battle with their internal stakeholders as they don’t necessarily see the value of procurement.
Building internal stakeholder relationships can be challenging, particularly when their expectations are sometimes unrealistic.
The objectives and outcomes have to be the same – each area of the business has to be working towards the same goal.
The structure of the organisation in particular can really affect the impact that procurement can have on the business – in a traditional company hierarchy, procurement would report into finance.
However, if the organisation encounters a financial challenges, finance usually focus on the bottom line. This would be prioritised over spending time on long term projects that could simplify and enhance company processes and supply chains leading to major cost savings in the longer term.
Procurement have to continuously prove that they’re adding value to the company and its systems; it is their responsibility to ensure that savings targets are being achieved but also that the desires of stakeholders are met.
If their purpose is not relayed throughout the business, this could have a negative impact on the performance on other members of the team.
Rather than focusing on the overall strategic elements of procurement that lead to long-term success, staff would begin to focus solely on savings.
I am seeing more and more often that clients are looking to restructure their procurement teams to introduce a category management structure and are asking for candidates with ‘strategic’ procurement experience – they want people who look at the long term goals of the organisation.
So, what do businesses want in the future from Procurement; shorter term saving or long term gains, strong relationships and strategic plans?
It is important to make sure that you build strong relationships with stakeholders from the start:
- Tell them about your plans and the reasons for them
- Involve them in the processes and make sure that you keep them in the loop throughout
- Deliver on any previously discussed promises
- Ensure that any issues are brought up as soon as
possible and are rectified
By following these steps, this will
help to solidify the relationship and should enable to organisation to move
forward with strategic procurement plans that offer savings, continuous
improvement and help to accomplish their long term goals.
Has your procurement department embraced these measures? Do
you think they are useful in creating stakeholder relationships?
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