More suppliers whingeing about procurement…not ad agencies this time

Money Marketing website has a fairly technical article about pensions and risk management, but part of it (about two thirds of the way through) is about the increasing influence of procurement people and functions on the purchase of pension and related services.

"Procurement - and the increasing involvement of those working in this field - is something that is becoming part and parcel of the group risk adviser’s role".

Some of the comments are balanced and fair - like Jamie Winter of Towers Watson, who says it would be "quite dangerous" if procurement were involved in scheme design.  Fair enough I would say.  That sounds like an HR role. A smart organisation - and smart procurement people - will make sure this is a team effort.  But others take a more aggressively anti-procurement line. Katharine Moxham, Group Risk Development’s (GRiD) spokesperson, says:

“With procurement, it’s all about the widgets and that’s something we don’t want to see.”

When we were interviewing people for our book, Fiona (my co-author) and I found that this was a common complaint from providers of professional services and budget holders; that procurement folk involved in complex categories of spend, such as Professional Services, treated it 'as if they were buying widgets'.

We can smile (and I do) about suppliers in sectors such as marketing, pensions or consultancy getting worked up about those nasty procurement people, but we've got to make sure we don't give them real ammunition that might enable them to exclude us from the picture.  The best procurement people we spoke to - CPOs and category managers - understood the need to combine real understanding of specific category issues with deep capability in our professional body of knowledge.  And that is true whether the category is packaging, consultancy or pension services.


First Voice

  1. pietro:

    absolutely right Peter. Procurement is not a basket to be filled with some peoples and skills, no matter what. Procurement is an high qualified area bringing lot of advantages to the whole company and their divisions but you know, once we discuss about procurement and its importancy vs saving and legal terms, they do not understand it. Just once they realize the “more” in their department for their OWN profit, they start smiling….. communication and a broad experience is also everything 🙂

    All the best
    Pietro Mutolo
    ITALCONSOR Procurement Services

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