I recently had a lengthy email conversation with a certified SPSM, who first earned that most prestigious of procurement qualifications several years ago. He had benefitted from the SPSM Certification in a number of ways, but there was one instance where the benefit felt rather dramatic.
This individual is a procurement leader for one business unit in a conglomerate of business units. So, when there is an enterprise-wide supplier relationship being contemplated, there are many constituencies involved.
The conglomerate was working on one particular enterprise-wide deal and brought together stakeholders – including business unit procurement leaders like our graduate – at headquarters to discuss, and potentially decide upon, the selection of a supplier or combination of suppliers. This deal was so significant, the CEO was involved. It was the first time our graduate had met the CEO.
It turns out that the CEO and our graduate had different ideas on what the optimal configuration of the supply base would be. Our graduate spoke up and made his case on why the situation was not ideal for a single source supply relationship and why dual sourcing would be more appropriate.
The CEO seemed a bit miffed that someone would have a different opinion than his. But the CEO seemed equally impressed at the strong logic that our graduate had used in presenting his analysis. But, mostly, the CEO seemed quite curious. He had never encountered a procurement professional who was able to communicate at an executive level so articulately.
So, the CEO a bit gruffly asked our graduate what his background was and what kind of training he received.
Our graduate then confidently shared his procurement qualifications, saying that he had the SPSM Certification and that he stayed up to date with procurement best practices through the NLPA’s online courses. The CEO was impressed and our graduate subsequently got the backing of other stakeholders.
Now, our graduate was lucky. He had the procurement qualifications to defend himself. But what about you? If your CEO questioned your procurement qualifications, do you have the resume to back yourself up? Is your background impressive enough to persuade your CEO to change his/her mind?
Many people “fell” into procurement. They have had no formal procurement education. They have no impressive qualifications. And if they were asked point-blank on why their opinion should matter to a CEO, they would shrivel like a raisin.
I hope that you’re not one of those people. But if you are, I hope that you prepare yourself for situations like the one our graduate found himself in and bolster your procurement qualifications by taking action like earning your SPSM Certification.