Spend Matters welcomes this guest post form Brian Miller, vice president of services at Intesource.
If you’ve used e-sourcing technology, you’re likely familiar with the benefits it brings to your business – the frequent double-digit savings, the process efficiencies and the ability to quickly and easily source products and services across a wide range of direct and indirect categories.
Today’s procurement professionals have all the tools needed to support their organization’s growth and drive meaningful value – but doing so effectively requires them to motivate buyers to embrace strategic sourcing practices and continually dedicate themselves to securing the best possible results.
These are the sort of skills and business-focused accomplishments that enable procurement pros to become directors, vice presidents and c-level executives. But it doesn’t happen accidentally – it requires you to take the initiative to showcase your qualifications. Thankfully, e-sourcing puts you in a strong position to get noticed by upper management. Here are 3 strategies for leveraging your procurement success for career advancement.
Focus on the Right Metrics
To get the attention of the higher-ups, procurement pros need to speak the language of the c-suite and focus on what they care about most – namely, the top and bottom line.
Typically, procurement professionals measure and report metrics like addressable spend, managed spend, total savings, categories sourced and inventory levels. While these figures are important, you will more likely grab the attention of the CFO, CPO and CEO by reporting on key financial indicators like total cost of ownership (TCO), as well as operating margins, return on invested capital and profitability.
The key is to showcase how your team’s efforts directly impact the balance sheet – helping you earn more trust and gain instant credibility with management.
Support your Company’s Top Strategic Initiatives
While it’s widely recognized that e-sourcing helps procurements pros lower the costs of businesses’ day-to-day, operational expenses like raw materials, merchandise and office supplies, e-sourcing practices also enable teams to help ensure the success of the company’s most important strategic initiatives.
Think about the projects or strategies that have the most significant impact on the direction and future of your company. For restaurant chains, this might include expansion into new markets, or renovation of existing locations. Retailers might be focused on offering unique products that differentiate them from competitors.
These projects have important elements that should be brought under procurement’s umbrella to ensure that your company is getting the best value – the highest levels of customer service and quality and the most favorable payment terms. Doing so requires you to align yourself with stakeholders and decision-makers outside of procurement, which may be extra effort upfront, but if you can help the management team meet a sustainability goal that they promised to shareholders, for instance, procurement’s role definitely won’t go unnoticed.
Be Your Own Champion
At many organizations, sourcing teams operate under the radar, or as an afterthought to broader procurement processes. But if you’re delivering results that make a meaningful difference, it’s up to you to ensure that people know about the impact.
The key: Celebrate e-sourcing success – and don’t be shy about it. Distribute e-auction results to leaders within your organization, or create an award program in a highly visible area that showcases savings. By doing so, you’ll foster a corporate culture that recognizes the critical role of strategic sourcing.
Additionally, you’ll want to cultivate one-on-one relationships with the higher-ups, and ensure you and your team’s success is being recognized. Be bold enough to get out there – scheduling meetings with executives, even chat with them in the hallway or at their desk. Don’t wait for the opportunities to find you.
Take the Next Step
As a procurement professional, you have tools in place to help impact the success of your organization. This puts you in a prime position to extend your influence, become a leader in the company, and demonstrate your dedication to the company’s long-term vision – all of which are key to achieving your career goals. But in the end, it’s how you present yourself – and your accomplishments – to the powers that be that will enable you to take the next step.