Procurement Today and Tomorrow: Becoming a Fire Starter (Five Pyro Initiatives)

Click for the first installment in this series: Procurement: From Finance's Poodle to Attack Dog.

When it comes to starting fires versus fighting them, procurement has a great opportunity to take out not a teeny book of matches, but a flame-thrower aimed squarely at the apathetic naysayers in the business. During my talk at the Zycus Horizon conference, I shared the following five opportunities that procurement can take to start some serious fires. In subsequent posts in this series, I'll flesh out each of these initiatives in more detail including sharing a basic "how-to" guide for each program.

  1. Tackling services procurement taking responsibility not just for savings, but value. For services procurement (including but not limited to contingent labor, basic services categories and more complex and often high visibility areas) procurement has a huge opportunity to stand up and take control of what has become a scattered and greatly decentralized organizational mess, even in cases where much of indirect spend has been centralized.
  2. Educating and leading finance to get more value from procurement, including the top line! Finance does not have to be: A) Our boss. B) A quiet non-believer in procurement's ability to identify and deliver savings or top-line value. C) The wall that stands between our programs and additional funding. D) The function that has taken over supply risk for us because they don't trust us to fully manage risk on our own. E) All of the above. In fact, it's possible to truly partner with and educate finance to get CFOs, treasurers, controllers, AP, internal audit, risk management and other finance leads into our camp.
  3. Taking risk off the table (e.g., commodity management). 'nough said. If you read this blog and you're not up on risk management, you should be. And we'll give you a primer later in this series.
  4. Redefining sourcing. Procurement teams can redefine sourcing and change the basis of engagement not only with suppliers, but also the business. This involves creative approaches, new technology and new skills across existing categories and those we're seeking to exert greater influence over for the first time.
  5. Putting on a supplier management cap by driving both risk and compliance initiatives. Supplier management and compliance intersections don't just touch procurement. They deeply involve finance, legal, operations/supply chain, environmental, health and safety (EHS), HR, sales, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and virtually all other areas of the business.

Stay tuned as we explore each of these areas in more detail!

- Jason Busch

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