Where is Procurement Headed?

Will Procurement ever graduate from the status of misfit toy to that of
one eyed one horned flying purple people eater?

Procurement is still the back room function in many organizations. The early achievers adopted new technology and new processes in the early to mid noughts. The leaders adopted new technology and new processes from the late noughts to the early teens. But the laggards are still on the fence. And not just because they are laggards — but because their organizations are laggards and not giving them the respect and support they deserve.

Let’s face it, with the vast majority of Procurement organizations not having a seat at the table, they are still being treated as a misfit toy. Graduating to the status of one eyed one horned flying purple people eater would be a grand accomplishment — if they could get there.

But first they need to be a rockin’ band. But in order to rock, they need instruments. Technology, which they don’t get budget for, processes, that they haven’t been trained on, and knowledge, that they don’t even know they need. And even if they could get the tools, processes, and knowledge that they needed, they still need to learn how to play in sync.

We’ll start with the second issue first. In order to learn to play in sync, they need training. Training that they never got, even when training was a top procurement survey issue for almost five years in a row. But this is not only hurting Procurement, it’s hurting the organization. Because if Procurement had the training, they would not only know how to play in sync, but they would have the knowledge. In particular, the knowledge they need to not only obtain great savings, and value, for the organization, but the knowledge they need to institute better processes, identify better technology, and convince the organization of the proper steps to achieve savings success.

Good training not only provides knowledge to execute, but knowledge to educate, and knowledge to entice the rest of the organization to follow your lead.

So if your Procurement organization wants to excel, it has to get training. If it can’t get it by hook (by getting it in the budget), then it has to get it by crook (PO now and take the consequences when the invoice come in later), or if there are no other options, with the personal check book (and replace the funds with the bonus you’ll get when the savings materialize). And only then will Procurement be a band of one eyed one horned flying purple people eaters.