What if savings were taken off the agenda? A new set of resolutions for Procurement in 2016.

There are so many worthy, value-add initiatives a procurement team can channel their energies into, but the need to prove the worth of the function through savings always seems to take priority.

That’s why, as the year draws to a close, we want Procurement Leaders to imagine that savings are no longer featuring on the Board’s ‘must have’ list to Santa and to think about all the other areas of activity that might creep onto your resolution list for 2016 if this really were the case:

  1. Your corporate social responsibility.

This probably tops the list of things that fall to the bottom of must do’s simply because it can be seen as a ‘nice to have’ rather than an essential. The thing is, CSR is so closely linked to savings it really should be seen as part and parcel of the whole cost saving process. A procurement team that actively supports their company CSR initiatives must ensure the suppliers they work with are also compatible.  This inspires far more input and engagement and ensures the supply base is diverse and properly developed. Longer term this promotes greater collaboration and innovation – all of which impact the bottom line.

This was proved in a recent study by the IBM Institute for Business Value which found that 97% of the best performing procurement teams also place a significant emphasis on CSR.

  1. Your team.

There is not a Procurement leader around who wouldn’t like to be able to devote more time to the engagement and motivation of their team, but the ongoing demands of the day job are often relentless and prevent most from doing anything more than a standard 6-month review. The fact is that engaged employees are not only more productive, they are also far less likely to leave you for one of your competitors. Taking the time to know the individual strengths, motivations and challenges of your team may seem like a big investment, but long term you can only reap the rewards. Low turnover and high productivity equals more time to focus on the strategic elements of your role and will help you create a true legacy for your procurement team and the wider business.

  1. Your commitment to innovation

This really is a big one. Every procurement leader wants to bring innovative solutions to the table, ideas that will create value and which can be shared with the supply network to bring about greater results without focusing on cost. It could even be said that Innovation is the antithesis of savings but with the power to delivering far more sustainable growth. In fact, a piece of research by Capgemini has highlighted how innovation is integral to the way procurement’s value can really be measured. With this in mind can you afford not to let it push the bottom line from the top of your agenda?

There are many other things clamouring for the attention of Procurement Professionals, so whatever you decide is going to take centre stage for you and your team in 2016 always remember, there are many ways in which you can prove procurement’s value without focusing on savings and the majority will be far more sustainable long term.

About the Author


Founder and Director of Procurement Heads. Level headed, solutions focused, highly experienced recruiter with a detailed knowledge of the procurement market and the ability to challenge accepted norms to achieve effective outcomes. Specialist for the Southern region.

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