They say only two things in life are for certain, Death and Taxes. Well I believe there are at least three! For me the biggest certainty of them all is Change! Change happens everywhere and everyday even if you or your business does not change. The world, people, technology, best practices, and perceived norms are evolving and changing around you every day.
Often in organizations Marketing and Sales and charged with the task of being innovators and coming up with the next big thing. Or, in manufacturing companies, the operations group are seeking out new tools or equipment to improve processes.
So why do we seldomly hear about the Procurement and Purchasing functions innovating? Fear is the most common answer I hear. Being driven and measured by metrics on cost, supply performance, and quality (which has itself been an innovation over the last decade) has had the unseen consequence of making leaders and teams risk adverse.
This does not mean we should avoid supplier reviews, specification spot checks, or index linked costing. It means we should operate with an open mind, answer the telephone to new suppliers, search for new solutions, or listen to a pitch about a new product or a new way of doing things. Take the blinders off and look up from our desks and embrace the change in the market place that is going on around us.
Innovation and change is at the core of what feeds economic development and has created some of the most transformational impacts to our global economy today. Companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon drive change and seek out new ways of doing things. It’s in their DNA.
As a Procurement professional, when you think about it, you are often the gate keeper of change in your company. If you are in a procurement role, ask yourself this question: What would happen to your company’s bottom line performance if every time your company launched a new product or entered a new market the Procurement professionals at the other end operated with a closed mind and did not take the time to hear your sales person out?