Achieving Procurement Leadership Through External Services – New Paper Available Now

We have a new briefing paper for your delight and delectation. The title is “Achieving procurement leadership through external services”, and in it we look at the various ways in which external procurement services can be used to augment internal procurement functions and capability. You can download it here, free on registration.

We wrote it (with support from consulting and managed services firm 4C Associates) because we believe there is both a lot of interest in the topic and quite a lot of confusion. We’ve been involved in quite violent arguments about the difference between “managed services” as opposed to “consulting” or indeed “contingent labour”. So, one of the purposes is to provide some proposed definitions, then explain what the various options mean, and most importantly perhaps we can then discuss the pros and cons of each.

There is no doubt that the growth in the use of external resources to support internal functions is one of the biggest changes in many procurement organisations in the last decade or so. Whereas the “procurement team” or function was once pretty much self-contained, look around any large organisation now and you will probably see a blend of internal staff, consultants, outsourced services (such as research or elements of the P2P process), “temps”, and of course significant use of software tools.

So the role of the CPO and other procurement leaders is now in many ways more complex. There are still the inevitable issues around managing the team, but now it is all about blending the different resources available, internal and external, to achieve the best possible results. Indeed, this skill has become one of the most critical for leaders, because leveraging the vast range of potential external capability can bring benefits far beyond what could be achieved by a purely internal group.

But we need to understand those different options if we want to make the most of the possibilities. That’s the insight and ideas we’ve tried to provide in the paper; we hope you will find is useful and interesting.

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