Procurement doesn’t exist to just buy stuff. Procurement exists, at least if it’s a modern Procurement organization, to identify and deliver organizational value. Long gone should be the days when Procurement, staffed by the island of misfit toys, existed only to process the paper work that allowed manufacturing to buy the parts it needed or the back office the paper and calculators required to do the day-to-day accounting.
But the identification of organizational value, as long-time readers of SI know all too well by now, is not always straight-forward. Every organization is different, and every Procurement function has a different level of organizational maturity. As per the classic Hackett Hierarchy of Supply, a supply organization could still be at the level of supply assurance, could have moved on to analyzing landed cost, may have begun its entry into the modern era with an analysis of TCO, might be poised to become a leader with a foray into demand management, or, and this is the highest level of maturity, may be focused on the art of value management.
However, delivering value takes more than just realizing that your function is to deliver value. It is understanding what value is to the organization and how Procurement can contribute to it. Simply put, one way of defining value to the organization is whatever allows the organization to increase its revenue potential. (More sales, more market share, more brand recognition and brand love, and so on.) One way of assisting the organization in the capture of this value is to deliver products, services, and knowledge that will assist the organization in strengthening its Unique Selling Points (USPs) or Unique Value Propositions (UVPs) that give the organization the competitive advantage it needs to increase its revenue (or profit) potential.
It is not easy to do, especially since a Procurement organization has to understand not only what it must do, why it must do it, and how it will achieve it, but how to be good at it. Few organizations get demand management under control and step up to the highest level of the pyramid. Fewer still can stay there as they will struggle with the how. And even if they occasionally understand the how, they may never master the art of being good.
If one wants to be good and drive to success, one has to have a vehicle powered by a finely tuned engine that can deliver value lap after lap around the sourcing track. Such an engine must be efficient, effective, and sustainable. Only then will Procurement be able to get good and stay good. So what does such an engine look like, what sort of value will it deliver, and how will it deliver that value?
For the answer, check out the new white paper co-authored by the doctor and the procurement dynamo, sponsored by Pool4Tool, on how to Boost Your Procurement Value Engine. Part I of a II-part series (with Part II coming out in Q3), this paper will give you the insights you need to understand the various levers you have to deliver true value and how you can do so in an efficient, effective, and sustainable manner.