Five Ways to Make Your Procurement Team Indispensable

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Procurement teams are in the business of delivering maximum value to their organizations through hard dollar savings, more efficient processes and improved compliance. But does your organization really need a dedicated procurement team to do these things?

That’s the question that keeps procurement pros up at night. Rest easy, spend management scholars, we have five ideas to help you become indispensable within your organization.

1. Think broadly about ROI

Of course dollars and cents get all the glory – for good reason. But build your fan base beyond the accounting team by couching your return on investment using the language that matters most to the areas you’re trying to win over. For the CFO, that will be bottom line savings. For your legal department, risk and compliance will win the day. Operational areas likely care most about efficiency. Get fluent in discussing your team’s impact in all of these languages.

2. Make friends

Simply put: if you’re sitting behind your desk all day, you’re doing it wrong. Talk to the people in your company. Find out how they do their jobs, what their challenges are and what their bosses care most about. Then think creatively about how your team can support them. Building a loyal fan base within your organization is one of the best ways to become indispensable.

3. Get savvy about marketing

If you don’t shout your successes from the rooftops, who will? At its most basic, marketing is the art of communicating the value of your product (procurement expertise) to your customers (other departments and key leaders within your organization). You’ll be most effective if you frame your value proposition using the metrics that most resonate with your audience (see tip #1). And remember that there is no better marketing than a happy customer sharing his or her story (see tip #2). Spread the word about your successes big and small, and give other areas of the company credit for the wins you help them achieve.

4. Tap into supplier innovation

You’re not the only one thinking about how to bring more value to the equation. Your suppliers are focused on this, too. Have conversations with them and prioritize human-to-human contact. Find out what they have brewing on the innovation front, and explore ways to leverage new capabilities to benefit your organization. If there is something they could do to make your job easier, let them know. Nobody said you had to do this all by yourself!

5. Monitor your talent

Of course you’re focused on hiring the best procurement professionals to support your organization, but make sure the talent you bring on board matches your organization’s specific needs. If you’re heavily dependent on interactive supplier relationships, you’ll need someone with the people skills to nurture those affiliations. Likewise, if your C-suite likes to poke holes in your data, make sure you have someone whose analytics chops measure up.

There’s no “silver bullet” in this list, but by doing all of these things consistently, you can help ensure that your procurement team has the best possible reputation within your organization.

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