9 Things to Know If You’re a Procurement Professional

Whether you’ve been in procurement for a few years or a few decades, there’s always something new to learn. With this in mind, we couldn’t have been more excited to gather procurement and sourcing professionals from all around Boston to learn from their insights, advice, and observations on the evolution of procurement.

Mary Kachinsky, Vice President of Strategic Sourcing at Kaleido Biosciences, and her daughter, Amanda Kachinsky, Strategic Sourcing Manager at bluebird bio, kicked off the lunch session. We started with a look at how far procurement has come since the days of typewriters and typeballs. It quickly spiraled into a lively discussion about trends we’re seeing and how we stay ahead. 

No matter if you’re a rising procurement specialist or a veteran CPO, some key points hold true. Here are 9 things every procurement professional needs to know:

Sourcing as a profession has evolved significantly. 

  1. Sourcing is more important than ever. 

The potential for procurement to influence and drive business strategy is only going to grow. Managing enterprise spend and creating competitive advantage through sourcing has never been more critical. In one organization, the money saved through collective procurement negotiations was added to fund end customer programs, resulting in more customers served.

  1. It’s not just about savings anymore.

Procurement today is so much more than locking in savings. We’re now focused on supporting greater company objectives, mitigating risk, building trust, driving collaboration, reducing time to market, managing a sustainable supply chain, developing strategic relationships –– anything to help improve our place in the market and further our organization’s competitive advantage. 

  1. The skills we need are changing.

No number crunchers here! Today, we look for strong negotiators who can build relationships, take initiative to make good decisions, and demonstrate empathy with all. We now work with suppliers around the world, juggling time zones and cultural differences with poise, and acting as consultants and facilitators. 

Technology isn’t an option anymore.

  1. Some tasks only humans can do. Let technology do the rest.

We need to outsource the tactical work to technology so we can manage the overall strategy. With the right technology, stakeholders are eager to get involved in what’s going on and they become better advocates for their projects. 

  1. You need to be strategic with technology. 

Don’t just use technology to get your job done; use its dashboards and reporting to raise awareness of your impact. Now, you can point to the ROI and benefits generated by your procurement organization to help back up decisions and make the case to leadership. 

Careful career management can take you far.

  1. Every team is unique, but you can make things easier on yourself.

Every sourcing and procurement team is unique in size and scope. Whether your team is large or small, having easy-to-use technology can be an enormous help. Leverage configurable templates, multiple choice questions, short answer forms, and weighted scoring to take the repetitive tasks out of processes like RFPs while still comparing apples to apples. 

  1. Stakeholders are a key component of your work.

It’s critical to make stakeholders feel engaged and important because they ultimately enable us to do more. Engaging and building stakeholder relationships will take your organization from a reactive fulfillment center to an empowered, strategic player. 

  1. Choose your battles wisely.

A few short hours can open doors! When you run into an issue, try to understand the root of the problem. For example, don’t fight for control with your stakeholders. Empower them to launch their own events, which you oversee. This flexibility and nimbleness will lead to trust, serving you both.

  1. It’s critical to learn from and grow with each other.

Grow, learn, avoid mistakes, and get better, together. We all have something to learn, regardless of our tenure in the procurement profession. Newcomers can learn from the experience of those who have been in procurement for a while, and procurement veterans can appreciate the fresh perspective that younger team members may bring.

What’s Next?

It can be a challenge to stay ahead of the pack, but when we come together and learn from each other, it gets a little easier. For more procurement tips, tune in to one of our upcoming webinars. 

On Tuesday, July 30th, MDC Partners’ VP of Strategic Sourcing Jason Cammorata will share best practices for corralling the contract chaos that we know so well in procurement. And on Thursday, August 15th, we’ll hear from Mark Zafra, Head of Global Strategic Sourcing at Twitter, on three change management tips for sourcing and procurement transformation –– register here!

Michaela Dempsey | Tags: , ,

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