#12 – The Image of Procurement

As promised, here’s the first in our “procurement issues” countdown, as voted by respondents to our LinkedIn survey. They are intended to be the start of discussion on the subject, with the aim being to come up with some ways to improve, or tips on best practice.

At number twelve, cited in 6% of the responses, we have The Image of Procurement

Here, we’re not just talking about how procurement personnel are viewed by fellow employees but also how people in general see the profession.

How much of this is down to what we ourselves project in terms of image is hard to quantify.

But for those of us who can remember that classic Monty Python line about being a chartered accountant and consequently too boring to be of any interest, there seems to be a certain similarity between accountancy and procurement – even if only in terms of other people’s perception.

According to your survey answers, procurement is still far too often only seen as buying – glorified or otherwise.  And as for what too many people think we actually do, it seems to be just a case of getting the best price … end of story.

Of course, it’s part of our remit, but even though there’s much more to it than that, they simply do not understand that procurement isn’t just about saving a few quid here and there.

So what’s the solution?

The word “education” cropped up in many responses, in relation to other departments elsewhere within an organisation served by procurement professionals, as well as in relation to stakeholders … and even to top management.

Such an education should demonstrate how we benefit an organisation before, during and after the actual purchasing process itself.

When it comes to projecting a new, more accurate (and more positive) image, it’s up to us to make sure we’re not seen as blockers who hold things up because we’re being pernickety for whatever reason.

We should, instead, work hard on being seen as enablers who are more than just fellow employees, but also business partners.

And trusted ones, at that.



June 23, 2015

Hi Oliver, good to see the site up and running. I have always tried to strive for long-term, trusted relationships with suppliers. All too often the deal is won by the supplier with the lowest price but who can’t necessarily repeat the price in the future or indeed provide the levels of service and support needed. I also value a decent account manager who delivers on their promises and is willing to help you out in your hour of need. You can’t really put a price on that.

July 14, 2015

My personal view is that we have to stop apologising for being in procurement and creating an image of being trusted, credible and highlighting what we bring to an organisation… but this has to be driven by the right metrics that are led by the right behaviours – so many CPO’s are too savings driven and this leads to the wrong image of procurement.. So my view is stop apologising and be at the table with the right image and the right behaviours..

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