How Sourcing Supports Change Among Stakeholders and Suppliers

Did you know that a mere 29 percent of procurement organizations are viewed as valued business partners? It’s true: 71 percent of procurement organizations are still working towards being a valued resource to the business.¹

With the majority of organizations focusing on business impact, we reached out to one of Scout RFP’s first five customers, Zebra Technologies, to share how they seamlessly collaborate with the business and suppliers. More importantly, we wanted to show how Team Zebra has matured their department through communication and change management, becoming the strategic right arm of its stakeholders.

In our recent ISM webinar, Stuart Andrews, Director of Indirect Procurement at Zebra and Ammar Al-Rifai, Leader of Global Indirect Procurement Systems at Zebra, walked through a few ways Procurement can earn support from key decision-makers and stakeholders, using effective communication.

Read on for answers to these questions:  

    • How did Zebra earn stakeholder and supplier trust?
    • What is Zebra’s advice on how to reframe stakeholder and supplier discussions within an enterprise?
    • How can you repeat Zebra’s methods to drive successful change management across your organization?

Key Tip 1: Effective communication starts from within Sourcing itself.

When Zebra Technologies bought Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise business in 2014, two company cultures merged into one, leading Zebra’s Sourcing team to rethink their communication style. Stuart says, they completely changed their mindset of how Sourcing defined business impact delivery to their stakeholders.

The business was tired of hearing the same thing: cost savings, cost savings, cost savings! What did Sourcing do to help stakeholders understand Procurement better? “We reframed Procurement perspective by developing a new vocabulary with our stakeholders and saw how much more Sourcing could capture with savings and business impact for Zebra Technologies.”

Take it from Zebra. Defining what business impact and value means to the business units across the enterprise is critical to understanding stakeholders’ needs and ultimately earning their trust.

Key Tip 2: Reframe the conversation and change your stakeholder’s mindset.

How does Zebra’s team understand their stakeholders’ needs and vice versa? They break down stakeholder goals and then align them to map to their own.

Webinar attendee’s question to Zebra: With Finance focusing on cost reduction, and Sourcing focusing on compliance and optimization, how can Sourcing communicate to Finance that cost reduction isn’t the only focus?

Zebra’s Stuart Andrews shared,You have to reframe the discussion. Communicate to stakeholders that compliance and optimization can actually lead to cost reduction and cost avoidance.

Key Tip 3: Honesty is always the best policy when building supplier relationships.

Zebra’s Stuart Andrews says the key ingredient to strong supplier relationships is transparency. To foster that transparency, begin by asking questions like, “What are we doing that’s costing you money and what are you doing that’s costing us money?” This initial question helps Sourcing and suppliers open the door to a collaborative conversation around each other’s goals, efficiency, and future opportunities together.

Zebra’s team prides itself on true strategic supplier engagements, and it shows. By being consistently clear with their supplier needs and goals, Zebra consistently “achieves long-term supplier commitments and long-term cost reductions.”

Want more insight into Zebra Technologies and their change management engagement strategy?  Enjoy the webcast or read Zebra’s case study!

Or even better, join us at SPARK, where Stuart Andrews, Director of Indirect Procurement at Zebra Technologies, and dozens of other speakers will help support you in becoming a valued business partner to the business. Let’s just say, that 29 percent won’t stay small forever.  

Register today and join us at SFJAZZ this February 26 & 27.

— Michaela

PS: Drop me an email at with your name and company, and we can send over some free passes for our SPARK conference!


  1. “How to Increase ROI with Clear Communication to Business Stakeholders.”, Accessed Feb. 5, 2019.

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