Changing the ‘Procurement is the Enemy’ Sentiment

By Lauren O’Neil, NA Head of Marketing 

I recently saw a “procurement is the enemy” comment on LinkedIn from a marketing meme post and it made me realize that people are openly condemning procurement on social media. “Procurement is the enemy” is the brutal truth in some organizations, and we’ve seen this throughout many organizations.

And it's not a new sentiment. One historical and common complaint about the Procurement function from users and internal stakeholders has been that it does not move quickly enough. The IT Manager wants the new software NOW, not next week, and the Marketing Director doesn’t see why the process to work with an agency should take months. Meanwhile, Procurement talks about sourcing processes, due diligence, supplier onboarding and so on, all of which take time.

This post is for all Procurement people who have seen the negative reviews or heard negativity from coworkers. Our mission is to change the sentiment of how people feel about Procurement, so we’ve put together some do’s and don’ts to help turn Procurement from enemy to friend.

Do:

  1. Put policies in place that makes it easy to get work done, for all involved.
  2. Make sure the function is able to respond to requests and changing conditions positively and dynamically.
  3. Give employees access to software that is easy to use, but still offer training and refresher training options.
  4. Ensure workflows align with your policy so that your approvals automatically notify the right people.
  5. Communicate: make learning about the policies and solution fun with lunch and learn sessions.
Don’t:
  1. Make buying goods and services cumbersome and complicated for staff.
  2. Require employees to track purchases in an Excel sheet that they can never find. You’ll most likely lose visibility.
  3. Just develop and send out a booklet of policies attached to an email for employees to read at their leisure – this can lead to “workarounds” and misunderstandings.
  4. Take away all credit cards. Have at least one credit card on hand for each department so that when employees need to subscribe to services and those suppliers only take online payment, they can make the purchase quickly.
  5. Don’t read the comments or reviews on the internet. It’s not worth it.

There is no need for Procurement to be the enemy anymore. It’s all about keeping things simple and easy to understand. The more simplistic, and thorough, the faster business gets done. This is when growth happens, and benefits are realized. Procurement is our friend, and it can be your company’s too.