Strategic goals of a typical procurement department include things like reigning in more spend categories, reducing maverick buying, and getting involved earlier in the product development and procurement process. These are among the more challenging procurement goals because internal customers are often resistant to earlier, more, or even any procurement involvement in the responsibilities that they have historically handled.
Procurement departments typically try to overcome such obstacles by explaining what their strengths are: procurement can identify all the alternatives and then lead a well-defined process to select the best option. And, at the end of the day, the company will end up with better quality, lower cost, and minimized risk.
Instead of doing things the way they’ve always been done, procurement departments encourage internal customers to really think through things with an open mind and do everything the best way using the best available information at the current point in time. Sounds good.
But does the procurement department eat its own cooking?
Think about the things your procurement department spends its discretionary budget on. Does your procurement department apply the same strict process to those purchases?
Maybe it does. But I see plenty of procurement departments make at least two decisions where they do things because “that’s how we’ve always done it.”
What are those two decisions?
1. Which procurement association they join; and
2. Which procurement certification they get.
Can you honestly say that your procurement department has investigated all alternatives for these two procurement decisions every time it’s ready to spend company money on them?
Is there a less expensive association out there? Is there a higher quality certification out there?
Your internal customers are watching. Is your procurement department guilty of hypocrisy?
If so, how will you ever convince internal customers to follow directions that you don’t follow yourself?
To quote Mahatma Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”