13 Jan 2010 Time for a Reality Check
Ironically purchasing people are like sales people. They think and are motivated in the same way. They both driven by the desire to outwit their adversary; to squeeze a little bit more out of a deal and, most important to make money. Both have a finely honed commercial instinct; they’re terrible at administration and they have a higher opinion of themselves than anyone they know.
So why is it that procurement, unlike sales and marketing, is often found at the least glamorous end of the spectrum of necessary evils? Procurement will never actually be glamorous of course. No TV executive will ever commission “America’s got Supply Chain” even if it is hosted by Simon Cowell. But why is procurement so rarely seen as truly strategic and a critical part of the business? Because it should be.
Time for a reality check. Procurement is a supporting function. It’s not core business. It’s a supporting function but it is as strategically as important as finance or HR and it’s critical that the organization understands this. Would a department ever take it upon itself to run it’s own HR operation because it felt that only they, in that department, could understand their special HR needs? No. Would a department ever take on its own procurement because only they would appreciate their special procurement need? Yes. In most large organizations all the time. It is very, very common.
Internal PR is crucial and procurement professionals need to start to stand a bit taller and communicate a bit more clearly the strategic importance of procurement.