Procurement isn’t boring.
Procurement is bold.
Procurement serves a purpose.
Procurement drives bottom-line savings, whilst leveraging global supply chains to create top-line gains. Procurement drives sustainability initiatives in the right direction. Procurement plays an integral role in the majority of businesses globally, even if it’s regarded as a secondary function in the broader value chain.
I work in procurement. And, I’m proud of it.
Let me tell you why…
Making it look easy
The food you eat, the table you sit at, the chair you sit in, the plate you eat from; these are goods produced from a global and complex supply chain where buyers and suppliers have collaborated in order to bring you (the consumer) the commodities we consider to be a normal comfort of everyday life.
The availability of goods and services has built an illusion that a global supply chain is ‘simple’. We’ve grown accustomed to the small luxuries of ‘normal life’ and without recognizing it, we may have become less appreciative of what we have. The illusion of accessibility and simplicity is really a mark of procurement, sourcing, quality and supply chain professionals doing their job in an orchestrated and knowledgeable manner; navigating complex supply chain networks so we can enjoy cashew milk from California and sardines from Spain, without having to leave our own zip code.
Trade is essential to organizational development, and value creation, and procurement is at the top of that funnel.
Procurement drives business from the source to the end customer. Literally, procurement has a hand in every element of the value chain: from sourcing of a commodity, purchasing of the commodity, production and quality control, product-market fit, go-to-market, and after-market.
There’s this notion that procurement is a function that serves as an administrative means. Somewhere along the line, the trend lines of expectations & respect for the function of procurement have gone haywire.
Current expectations on procurement look something like this:
Input: The business needs something
Output: Procurement buys it, and preferably with top-notch quality, from a sustainable source, within a risk-averse supplier network, at a cost that is very cheap.
Procurement is actively changing this narrative, shifting from a secondary function - described narrowly in John Kotter’s Value Chain model as "responsible for the acquisition of inputs, or resources, for the firm" - to a primary function, playing a pivotal role in value creation and top-line revenue growth.
Procurement have accelerated adoption of digital solutions and emerging technology, getting smarter every step of the way. There’s no sign of slowing down… All gas, no brakes!
Just 5-7 years ago the ProcureTech market was primarily populated by end-to-end suites, giving the market, of procurement teams in need, limited options when it came to digital solutions.
As seen in the infographic above from DPW & Kearney, the Startup revolution of 2017 and beyond has shifted the mindset from end-to-end to best-of-breed. This has provided global procurement teams the opportunity to accelerate their adoption of niche solutions, covering more ground faster, with the help of more nimble ProcureTech vendors. This democratization of technology has allowed procurement teams to build best-fit ecosystems; rather than trying to follow the template of S2P suites.
Thousands of emerging tech vendors, a huge Market Cap growth, and flooding of VC capital into the Procurement Technology category show that digital transformation in procurement is here to stay. Read this article on the Top 10 Stats on Supplier Relationship and Procurement
Impacting Sustainability at the source
Procurement, as a role, is committed to positive growth and sustainable development.
“According to the 2020 Ovation Pulse, 92% of CPOs remain committed to their long-term goals. This, they say, includes value delivery through supplier- enabled innovation (SEI); sustainability through environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals; as well as agility through digitalisation — all of which will enable the business to deliver on its growth agenda” (Procurement Leaders 2021).
Procurement is one of the sole functions in an organization that can truly implement and realize sustainability initiatives in the line; considering procurement’s ability to impact the supply chain at the supplier level.
This is something to be proud of, but it’s also something that’s important to continually preach.
Procurement is cool
I’m not afraid to say I work in procurement and you shouldn’t be either.
Procurement is not a nice to have, it’s a necessity.
You’re a driver of innovation, sustainable value creation, savings, risk aversion and material business growth.
You’re in a pretty cool position.
So... be proud to be in procurement!
Read more on Procurement's most valuable players