Leveraging is Key to Procurement and Supply Chain Success, New Report Suggests

Editor’s note: “The Eggplant” is a new series of satirical posts in the style of “The Onion.” Check out the first one in the series here.

New research published this week shows that more procurement organizations are leveraging in 2017 than ever before, while the range of activities, situations and things that can be leveraged is also expanding to historic levels.

“Over the years, we’ve seen a steady evolution towards leveraging,” says Kirk Stromberg, one of the lead researchers behind the report. “Whereas a decade ago, only the best procurement minds were leveraging their expertise at work, now you find even average-performing procurement organizations leveraging everything from best practices to technological solutions to office equipment.”

Plenty of procurement and supply chain professionals in the real world are in agreement with Stromberg’s assessment.

“Everyone has gotten the hang of leveraging technology,” says Marina Brown, chief procurement executive at Quayle Foods, “even our stodgy senior VP of indirect procurement, who had to ask what Twitter was in a meeting last week when someone said something about the marketing department leveraging social media.”

Indeed, among the 600-plus procurement and supply chain executives surveyed in this study, 94% reported that they leverage technology on a regular basis, while smaller but still significant percentages leverage expertise (90%), data (87%), cost-cutting initiatives (82%), reports (81%) and innovation (72.5%). Survey respondents also reported leveraging internal team strengths (22%), Microsoft Excel (10%) and the office coffee pot (9%).

“For years we utilized supplier management to increase ROI, minimize supply chain risks and boost company reputation, but it wasn’t until we started leveraging it that we saw real results,” says a strategic sourcing director at a Global 2000 apparel company who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reproach for sharing strategy secrets.

Everwater Head of Purchasing Tom Dorset has noticed similar results at his pharmaceutical company.

“Leveraging has been a gradual process for us,” he says. “I’m pleased to say that we’ve gotten to the point where we can leverage almost anything for something or other.”

Not everyone, however, is on board.

“I’m a great believer in the ‘Goldilocks’ rule,” said Roberta Giacomucci, senior commodity manager at Atecco, Inc. “Sure, there are times where leveraging is a must, but I disagree, for example, that we need to leverage best practices when using them is sufficient.”

“Actually, in this case adopting is ideal,” she added as an afterthought.

A few Gloomy Guses have pointed out that leveraging is in fact impossible, given that leverage is a noun. The majority of leveraging enthusiasts pooh-poohed this as the complaint of peevish grammar sticklers.

But when pressed to define leverage, the enthusiasts could not come to a consensus. Some grew incensed.

“God, why are people so literal?” said Dorset. “It’s just a metaphor, or an allegory, or… something."

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