Making the most of procurement expertise

Published July 2014

The shifting procurement landscape has been throwing up some interesting theories and predictions of late, with many people speculating where the sector may be in ten years time and how the function can be of even greater value to businesses.

One theory of interest from KPMG is that procurement professionals will increasingly act as consultants and experts with their internal stakeholders and customers. Skillset The skills and competencies procurement professionals have are largely transferable; they have financial acumen, project management expertise, people and relationship management skills and strong analytical abilities. These are powerful capabilities that can all be of use in many other areas of a business. While the external nature of the role doesn’t limit professionals, it seems remiss for companies to have such skills in house and not use them more widely within the business. Customer focus Utilizing procurements analytical and forecasting skills for the customer side of a business could prove beneficial in predicting needs based on previous sales patterns, using the information to challenge conventional thinking on sourcing and models and generally providing an external view for those directly involved in the process – hence the term internal consultant. By working across multiple expenditure categories and business units, procurement can identify opportunities, savings and efficiencies that might otherwise be missed by the business. Internal forecasting Forecasting is essential for businesses to retain competitive edge, understanding the needs of their market and being able to flex with those demands. This cannot happen if stale systems and processes or lack of innovation is hampering internal functionality. With procurement’s knowledge and understanding of risk management, streamlining and simplifying processes they are in a prime position to take an outsider look and advise management as to how internal operations can be improved to meet the external demands of the business. This theory would see procurement professionals moving away from being purely a cost-saver within the business, to a vital tool for the board and wider business to utilize across all functions, transferring the innovation and analysis already proving effective in one area to benefit the rest of the company. Claritum’s View By deploying easy to use spend management platform’s such as Claritum, departmental buyers have easy to use sourcing and procurement tools that make it easy to buy from approved suppliers within a centrally controlled, compliant and streamlined process. This approach also provides the analytics needed by procurement experts to drive further efficiencies and savings for the business.