With the intention of giving a better service as a functional department of procurement, I went on asking my stakeholders several questions. Many on the quality of our services, time frames, results on benefits, etc. Got the expected answers that matched pretty well with our KPI´s and what we aimed to give as a service. One question though was pretty insightful and made me ponder. What do you see towards the future for procurement so we can contribute even more? For me I was expecting more or less stakeholders pushing to higher results on the same themes, benefits, faster leaner process, etc. To my surprise the answers went in a complete different direction and all with the same theme. I got a future vision from stakeholders that in unison said, we want strategic input from you guys. We want to partner with procurement so we can get analytic predictions of markets, innovation from vendors, and new ways of doing things. The idea of pushing the strategic envelope of procurement just blew my mind! I had always liked the idea of procurement being strategic centered but the way the stakeholders are now asking for it just made my day!
Thinking on how our stakeholders came back asking for more strategic input from procurement I think it comes from the shift in the way business in going. I have always believed in business, that procurement is like the Ying and the Yang is marketing. They pair up to do sort of a dance of offering and sourcing. If globally marketing is shifting to a more data analytic, artificial intelligence, sort of strategic offering, procurement should react and morph to match this shift. In that you add more value with innovation, analytics and strategy to the organization than just benefits; especially when benefits have being negotiated and a mature procurement department is in place. You can only get so much juice out of a lemon, you need to grow into that “next” that will continue to add sustainable value.
Taken the new stakeholder vision into account, I see a procurement department with experts sitting alongside the key business stakeholders adding value through ideas more than just numbers, getting more benefits far beyond just the bottom line.