By Lee Polevoi
The procurement process can be an underappreciated aspect of a business's operations when it doesn't effectively serve the larger organization's needs. In order to improve procurement's image, controllers and other procurement-related professionals must first develop a deeper understanding of how they can best support other departments; learn how to communicate what it is that they do; and consistently meet their targets.
To put your best foot forward as a procurement professional and have your work seen in a positive light, check out the following tips.
1. Seek to Better Understand the Challenges Your Stakeholders Face
It's likely that few of your co-workers from other teams understand the extent of your procurement responsibilities. On the other hand, how much do you know about the challenges other departments face?
One big step toward more efficient collaboration is gaining a better understanding of what each department's primary functions are, the objectives they set for themselves and the critical issues they confront on a regular basis. Even if you're not running a bid for a team, seek out opportunities to meet with department heads and/or key players in those departments to engage in discussions centered around these topics.
2. Know How the Products and Materials You Procure Serve the Organization
Much of your time is taken up with implementing procurement strategies, conducting supplier pre-qualification and management, negotiating contracts and so on. As a result, you may not be as knowledgeable as you'd like to be about what happens to the products and materials after they've been procured.
When you make an effort to see how these products are used by other departments, you're better positioned to offer expert advice on cost-saving measures, recommendations on future orders and other insights that enhance the value of procurement in your stakeholders' eyes. This, in turn, builds greater trust and stronger working relationships within the organization.
3. Jettison Procurement Jargon
Avoid using jargon and acronyms that no one outside of procurement could ever hope to understand. If the communications you share with other departments are replete with terms like process classification framework (PCF), supply-chain operations reference (SCOR), RFI and P2P, it's time to replace them with clear, ordinary language that your co-workers can understand.
By increasing clarity in communications, you'll see a greater willingness from others to share their specific procurement needs with you.
4. Always Deliver on Your Commitments to Stakeholders
Running RFPs and supplier contract negotiations are complicated tasks, and things don't always go as planned. But where your stakeholders are concerned, these internal glitches only represent problems in terms of getting what they want, when they want it.
To improve your standing, do all you can to always deliver on your promises, whether that involves promised savings on certain supplies or meeting specific deadlines for delivery. When you consistently honor your commitments, employees in other departments will feel better about your relationship and trust your ability to come through for them.
Once stakeholders feel more confident in the procurement process, your department's image will improve, and the entire company will benefit from the strengthened relationships.