KPMG on Future Procurement Skills: Purchasing as Internal Consultant

KPMG’s white paper, titled FUTUREBUY: The Future of Procurement – 25 in 25, provides a forward-looking capability/maturity model that considers the skills that practitioners will need in the profession in 2025. One of these, KPMG suggests, will be an increasing focus on procurement as “internal consultant” to the business. We observe that many larger organizations today have internal consulting organizations (sometimes part of, sometimes separate from, a corporate development or strategy function). These small teams often feature former strategy and operations consultants deployed internally as if they were external consultants – but ideally with deeper knowledge of the business to offer more than just an analytical perspective on opportunities.

As KPMG looks at this emerging role within procurement specifically, they provide a five-stage maturity model. This begins with “ad-hoc” efforts and progresses through to an “optimized” internal consultant environment. See below the markers of each level of progression as an organization moves through this model:

“Ad-hoc: Small team handles ad hoc requests for transaction work”

“Defined: Quarterly reports generated and reviewed with stakeholders and follow-up”

“Leveraged: Global team coordinates with stakeholders via defined SOW’s
defined templates”

“Managed: Global team + site representation provides local and engagement”

“Optimized: Global team + co-located teams participate in team meetings and able to anticipate requirements”

One question we have regarding this concept is whether or not external consultants will bring the right skill sets to operate internally most effectively. In our view, the ideal candidate will possess a combination of operational experience (gained from the business and possibly procurement, but not necessarily a third-party consultancy) combined with strong analytical skills. Regardless of skill sets and how KPMG defines the maturity stages, the concept of procurement as internal consultant to the business is an important one to consider in structuring a supply management team that is aligned to specific business initiatives (M&A, new product launches, cost take out, etc.)

You can download the full KPMG paper if you’re interested in more on the topic.

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