If you’ve not watched or read Fiddler on the Roof, you should, if only for the portrayal of a yenta or marriage broker in old Jewish culture (note, the concept of one who brings people together is not common just to the Jewish culture – it’s common throughout other regions and religions as well). This lady – and the yenta (really known as a shadchan if you want to be accurate) is always a woman – is as critical to an old-fashioned village as the biggest land owner, most experienced farmer, or skilled blacksmith. And she has a lot to teach procurement as well in terms of networking.
In reading KPMG’s analysis, FUTUREBUY: The Future of Procurement – 25 in 25, I had a back-to-the-future moment after delving into the section on procurement as the “relationship broker” of the future. Procurement as yenta to the business, suppliers and partners? You bet!
Here’s what KPMG has to say on the subject:
“Procurement teams are being asked to align their strategies directly with business unit requirements, and also to effectively link business unit managers to external suppliers for important dialogues. These introductions may serve to ensure alignment on technology platforms, increase understanding of performance gaps, drive root cause analysis for product issues, or other forms of problem-solving sessions. This requires increased contextual understating of business needs, and skill associated with managing relationships in multicultural environments, virtual teams, and various operating models. Important capabilities required for this include effective interpersonal skills, ability to influence, and listening.”
Bingo. But like a yenta of old, procurement must draw on its knowledge of the “players” in the market in addition to its gut.
To wit, “procurement will also draw on their market intelligence to better understand the supplier landscape, and will be able to marry this knowledge to global product design and Research and Development (R&D) team requirements for new technical capabilities and innovation. As the enterprise moves into new emerging countries, procurement will precede them to identify new suppliers as well as create joint ventures in the supplier community to create capabilities that did not exist previously. As a relationship broker procurement will create vertical and horizontal linkages through introductions of people with similar objectives, leading to productive discussions and relationships that produce new forms of technology, value, and capability.”
Stay tuned as we examine how this can look in procurement practice. And in the meantime, you can download the full KPMG paper if you’re interested in more on the topic. It’s worth the time to read it. We promise!