Services procurement – still on the rise

My colleague and founder of Spend Matters US, Jason Busch, has written an interesting piece here about services procurement and why it is going to get increased prominence in 2014.

I guess I’ve never seen services procurement as less important than goods, perhaps because my three Procurement Director roles were all in organisations where services were the major part of our spend portfolio. I guess the UK also ‘de-industrialized’ so much in the 1970 and 80s that we became a services-driven country before most. So if anything, I’ve always felt that Spend Matters UK/Europe doesn’t give enough coverage to manufacturing and procurement of goods (components, commodities, raw materials) in that environment.

That’s an aside really – Jason’s points are all well made. He talks about the growing interest in measuring the performance of services providers and their delivery, mentioning Impacore as one firm who are making waves in this area. He also touches on compliance and control mechanisms. Here’s a good way to worry your CFO or CEO – ask them whether they (or anyone else in the organisation) really knows anything about the people who are wandering freely around their head office, factory, or call centre, rendered all but invisible by their “contractor” badge of course!

Vendor Management Systems are still on the rise, with firms such as Fieldglass growing internationally, and amongst other capabilities, they provide a way of improving those control issues, as well as cost reduction opportunities in most cases. And we’re also seeing specialised capabilities emerging in the services field. That’s true both in terms of more people with deep category skills in services areas, and tools that are firmly targeted at specific categories, like ProProcure and their platform for managing marketing collateral and related spend. 

So, I’d argue that services procurement is not exactly the forgotten world in the UK at least, but I’m with Jason in his interpretation that it will continue to grow in focus and importance. And if you’re interested in the topic, and you probably should be, then do read his whole piece here.

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