A week from tomorrow is Halloween. While until recently meant to celebrate All Hallows’ Day, it’s common observance today is to provide an opportunity for kids to trck-or-treat, high school and college students to throw parties, and adults who miss their childhood an opportunity to play dress-up once again.
As part of this festival of tricks and treats, celebrants (regardless of religion), will carve pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, light bonfires, bob for apples, attempt to divine (and contact the dead), play pranks, purposefully visited haunted attractions (whether supposed to be fake or real), tell scary stories, and even watch horror films.
But for some Procurement departments, this is every day. Every day they are beaten up by the CFO and feel like they are being carved up like jack-o’-lanterns as their performance is dissected with biology lab precision. (Performance that’s not as good as it should be since the CFO won’t let them buy the best tools.)
Stakeholders, who bring (new) requirements, are constantly lighting fires under the team at the last minute, not realizing that great results takes great planning, and that doesn’t happen overnight. That sometimes strategic acquisitions take 3 to 6 months of hard work to find and unlock the hidden value, and that one cannot expect miracles when Procurement, already at 100%, is asked to (re)source a category 30 days before contract termination (and the date was known 1065 days in advance when the last contract was signed without Procurement involvement.
Senior buyers are constantly bobbing for new opportunities, checking out random whims because they don’t have a modern spend analysis system to help them identify the best possibilities for savings. At some point they will get so desperate they will go to gypsy diviners in their quest to identify savings opportunities, and even ask to speak to dead business gurus of ages past.
They will feel like they are constantly being pranked by sales people as they won’t have the insight to build true-cost models, the IT dungeons they have to go to for help normalizing market data from the free feeds they have access to will feel like haunted houses, every new request made from them is a scary request, and their entire
existence feels like a horror movie.
And the scariest part of this story, is that it’s not just a few departments, it’s a sizeable number of Procurement departments. Remember, 40% don’t have modern Supply Management tools, and of those that do, the majority have major holes in the Source to Pay to Delivery Cycle.
So, CFO, this Halloween, only you can change Procurement’s existence by giving them a treat — the budget to acquire new systems next fiscal year. Trust me, Procurement needs them.