Why Does Procurement Struggle With Complex Services Categories? Join Our Webinar Next Week

You can sign up here for our free upcoming webinar on Thursday 5th May at 12.30pm BST with our friends at 4C Associates, the procurement consulting and managed services firm, with the provoking title - Is this the end of marketing procurement?

You can hear Milan Panchmatia, Managing Partner at 4C Associates and me as we discuss the future of marketing procurement (that is, the procurement of marketing services, not how we market procurement, if you see what we mean!). But whilst it will focus strongly on that category, we believe it will be interesting for anyone involved in the procurement of complex services.

As preparation for this, I’ve been thinking about what makes certain complex services categories so challenging for procurement professionals. Marketing certainly falls into that category, but so do many professional services sub-categories, such as management consultancy, and some elements of the IT services market. Why is it important to understand what the difficulties are? Simply because it is very hard to overcome something that you don’t understand, or aren’t even aware of!

One factor these supply markets have in common is that they are dynamic and fast-moving. New marketing agencies spring up all the time, for instance, as do new management consulting firms. This means that the internal user – the procurement “customer” if you like, is constantly faced with different options when they look for potential suppliers. Now procurement has traditionally looked to aggregate spend as a key strategy, to offer longer-term and larger contracts in return for savings or other advantages.

But in dynamic and fast-moving markets, this risks alienating the user, who sees procurement pushing the “tired old suppliers”, whilst there are (apparently at least) great new and young firms out there who appear to be better potential choices. So this is the sort of issue we mean when we look at the future of procurement – in marketing and elsewhere – with some trepidation.

Of course, we hear you saying “but procurement just needs to respond to those dynamic markets and suppliers in an appropriate manner”.  Indeed, and we will no doubt look at how we can best do that during the webinar. But the fact is that too many procurement functions are not doing that – to borrow a cliché, they are still stuck using analogue processes whilst we motor through the digital age!

Please do join us for 40 minutes next Thursday – register here.

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