The Growth Generation

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Strategic procurement teams are no longer just saving money for their businesses.

Rima Evans of Supply Business produced a feature in the March edition of that publication highlighting some of those procurement professionals who are branching out and are now making profit for their organisations.

Below is an excerpt that features Portfolio Procurement. The full article can be found at www.supplybusiness.com.

“There are examples of it in less obvious sectors, too, where procurement has moved swiftly from recently being made official to being used to its fullest potential. Pat Law, head of practice at recruitment business Portfolio Procurement, says that in some high-margin professional services firms that are focused on fees making rather than cost cutting, procurement has not previously been at the forefront. That has started to change as cost savings and spending process management are taken more seriously and greater rigour is applied to contracts with suppliers.

“Procurement has become more formalised,” Law says, “which is a bold step in itself for these kinds of organisations. However, in some cases, it has gone much further and been propelled right to the sharp end – helping the sales team to secure big money deals.

“Increasingly, professional services firms are selling services to procurement professionals at their customers’ businesses. It makes sense, then, that if these services businesses have procurement capacity internally, they work with the bid/sales team to give a bit of the inside line. It means sales people can glean an understanding of the process, procurement thinking and what the buyer in the customer’s business is trying to achieve.”

Law says he recently came across one international law firm that specified this advisory role in the job profile of the procurement professional being hired. “It made the role very attractive,” he says.

He points out, however, that delivering on this wider agenda more generally requires top procurement professionals who have mastered softer, as well as technical, skills. “It requires the ability to influence, emotional intelligence, leadership and so forth so they can interact with a bid team, partnership environment or sales force. It’s about engaging with the internal customer and demonstrating added value.”