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Are procurement professionals honey bees of the organization?

By Bhavesh Shah
In Procurement Talent Management
Jul 31st, 2015

Where would we be without bees? As far as important species go, they are top of the list. They are critical pollinators: they pollinate 70  out of 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. Honey bees are responsible for $30 billion a year in crops. And that’s only the start.

For some people, bees are simply an annoyance. No matter we know how important they are to us, we care little about their survival and have done very little for them.The scenario with procurement is more or less similar. They are required by every organization in one way or the other but still procurement is not yet treated as an important function.

Sales is getting you direct revenue, marketing is creating an intangible brand value, finance is making your balance sheet look pretty and operations is managing your complete supply chain, their numbers and performance are visible to all.

The most successful companies will find ways to successfully manipulate or change industry forces and structure in their favor. While procurement clearly plays a huge role, it cannot operate in a vacuum. A company’s overriding competitive strategy must clearly articulate how it will attempt to exploit industry structure in its favor in order to reap a larger share of available profits or to change industry structure altogether (perhaps increasing the size of the total pie). The strategy, in turn, needs to be quite clear in articulating the various ways in which procurement is expected to behave and that needs to trickle down into all the daily activities of procurement practitioners.

The increasingly complex business environment, coupled with evolving procurement needs and objectives, requires procurement not only to focus on the right people, processes and technology but also give them the right amount of importance they deserve. The procurement technology landscape has evolved to provide cutting-edge technology for meeting the requirements at different point in the procurement cycle. With the evolution of technology, organizations need to give more importance to procurement professionals and treat them as strategic thinkers rather than just sourcing professionals.

This quote from movie The Dark Knight perfectly summarizes procurement professionals-

“They are the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one they need right now. So we’ll hunt them. Because they can take it. Because they are not our heroes. They are a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.” – Lt. James Gordon

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Bhavesh is a Marketing & Communications Executive at Zycus, a leading provider of Source-To-Pay Solutions.

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