So many times, I think about procurement as the function only of the procurement organization within a company. In my mind, these are the functions for category managers, CPOs and the like only. And yet, as someone who works for a procurement software company, I should know better! None of this was more obvious to me than a few months ago when I needed to find a new vendor for one of our marketing services. I spent weeks reaching out to different vendors, sitting through presentations, looking over proposals, and negotiating rates. Trying to find one vendor was taking over my life! Why was there not an easier way to get this done? It honestly felt like a slap in the face when I realized I tell people all the time how to manage this process through Synertrade and yet it never occurred to me to use it for myself. I so often build demos, design presentations, and write one-sheets about how we help optimized for things like laptops, direct materials, freight, etc., that I forgot that anything you are buying from a vendor is procurement. I know this should’ve been a no brainer, but sometimes we get so stuck in getting things done, we don’t stop to think about how to best approach the problem itself.
Here’s the thing that really stuck out to me though: procurement isn’t always about savings in the monetary sense. I know that I get stuck in the rut of thinking that to run a sourcing event, it has to be about driving down the bottom line. For the particular service I needed, I knew my budget and had already weeded down my top six finalists based on price. Everyone was comparable and within what I was looking to spend. That wasn’t the hard part: the time it took me from completing the rest of my work going through presentation after presentation was what made everything drag on forever. I’m so good at telling other people about how Synertrade’s supplier score-carding and RFP templates allows you to make apples to apples comparisons and yet I wasn’t comparing my vendors this way at all. After weeks of tracking things through spreadsheets and getting headaches from trying to sift through what was the best fit for our needs, it was so frustrating to realize that I could’ve been using a system that would’ve done all of that for me! Luckily, I have learned from my absurdity and next time, I will be working smarter, not harder when it comes to sourcing.
Are there team members in your company that are missing out on realizing that procurement impacts them too? Help them learn from my mistake and bring them into your processes. Everyone uses procurement… just some of them don’t see what’s sitting right in front of their face.