Make Procurement Great Again!

Global Procurement Tech Summit

I decided to have some fun last week and change my Skype handle to “Make Procurement Great Again.” It has generated far more of a response than I could have imagined, and, yes, I admit to having a twisted sense of political humor.

But the notion of taking over a political slogan and applying what it means to procurement is not just an exercise in baiting your friends and colleagues on Skype. Rather, in this case, I do think there is something to it. I’ll actually be using this argument at the ISM and Spend Matters Global Procurement Technology Summit to talk about how to make procurement more relevant through innovative tools and solutions. (Check out the updated agenda and the now more than 10 sponsors supporting the event!)

But back to the subject at hand. We do need to make procurement great again, and like “The Donald,” we need to inspire the voting masses who would otherwise not get involved in politics, those with their own set of issues that they believe go unheard by mainstream leaders.

How do we do this? In part, we think about five core things:

  • We listen to the organization (and think of our “customers” as voters who can decide our fate) and give them enabling tools, expertise and smarts to feel good about making frontline purchasing decisions and working with us rather than having them continue to look at procurement as a roadblock
  • We quantify what we do for everyone — in their terms — so they can feel good about the value we’re generating and they’re contributing to by working with us
  • We make procurement into a mission, not a function — a cause, a rallying cry, a way of thinking and doing for all in the business to safely and cost-effectively tap supply markets for innovation
  • We make procurement a place people want to get involved to learn for their own career growth (even if they don’t join us officially, they join us in spirit)
  • We talk in plain language, repeating the concerns we hear from those on high and on low, while at the same time sticking up for what we believe in and those who should be heard, but so often aren’t

Of course, like certain presidential candidates, I’ve said very little about true policy here. But that’s not the point — and they would admit so much as well when it comes to winning the nomination.

Procurement needs a platform. It needs a campaign. It needs to be great, or at least seen as such. And it shouldn’t be relegated to participating in the undercard debate as it so often is. In short: We need to make procurement great again.

Join me in exploring this topic with more substance than rhetoric (I promise!) in Baltimore at the Global Procurement Technology Summit taking place March 14–16, when I’ll talk about how technology can form the basis of delivering on procurement’s platform promises — both today and tomorrow.

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