Procurement’s View of Outsourcing (Part 2)

In the first part of this series, we looked at why procurement people and functions are often not welcomed with open arms by stakeholders into outsourcing situations. Reasons can be around the importance of the outsourcing to those managers, or a desire to weight relationships more strongly in the supplier selection decision than procurement would perhaps advise. It can also come from a genuine desire to focus on the people issues around outsourcing – or less admirably, the line manager may have a vested interest if they too are likely to end up transferring to the service provider.

We finished by saying that procurement needs to understand and be sensitive to the feelings of stakeholders. Let’s assume that the right attitude is now in place, and the stakeholder is allowing at least some access to the task in hand. The next conundrum for procurement is this – what role can we play to be useful and add genuine value?

That is a tougher question than it might first appear. I’ve seen major outsourcing projects where even if procurement does establish some involvement, it becomes merely a process manager – a “post-box,” as I’ve heard it described. Receiving tenders, sending out documents, and managing the records and audit trail. Now someone has to do this, but I would rather not have a skilled category or sourcing manager engaged on those tasks for months on end.

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