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The Alignment Gap Between Procurement Professionals and Buyers

01 March 2019

5 minute read

The Alignment Gap Between Procurement Professionals and Buyers

Depending on whether you’re a procurement professional or a buyer, chances are high that you see the procurement process quite differently. At least that’s according to some of the latest research from The Hackett Group, which shows a range differences between the two groups.

 

For instance, if you’re a  procurement professional, you’re far more likely than buyers to say that compliance monitoring would help reduce maverick spending. By contrast, buyers are far more likely to say that it would help to have all direct and indirect spending decisions channeled through procurement. In addition, as a buyer, you’re more likely to say that quality, service, and other issues arise from unapproved suppliers.

This chart shows many of the details:



Here are some highlights of key differences between buyers and non-buyers:

  • 67% of buyers say it would help to have all direct and indirect spending decisions channeled through procurement. Only 29% of procurement professionals say the same thing.

  • 11% of buyers say that it would help to limit purchasing access for non-procurement employees, while 29% of procurement professionals say the same.

  • 22% of buyers think compliance monitoring would help, while 57% of procurement professionals say it would.

From this data, one thing is clear. There’s an alignment gap between buyers and procurement professionals. At first glance it might seem like this gap isn’t a big deal but think of what it entails year after year as employees involved with procurement can’t agree on foundational aspects of the procurement process. What happens when one group is consistently biased to their own point of view? What if procurement professionals stop listening to buyers? How will the business suffer if neither group can see eye to eye?

At a fundamental level, fixing this alignment gap can make or break your procurement process. So how do you make sure that everyone involved is on the same page?

Here are three ideas.

1. Get informed about what the data says.

A team may believe they have an intuitive sense for how buyers and procurement professionals view the procurement process but seeing how data validates that intuitive sense can help you feel confident in making a buying decision.

For example, you might sense that procurement professionals are more likely to say that your company should enforce compliance monitoring, but once you see that 57% say that, while only 22% of buyers say the same thing, you might ask what procurement professionals know that buyers don’t. You really might ask them — whether it’s in an anonymous digital survey or a face-to-face question by the water cooler.

Once you understand why procurement professionals are interested in compliance monitoring and, perhaps, how they would implement it, you can get a clear sense for whether you should implement it in your business.

2. Create a cross-disciplinary team.

When it comes to procurement, it’s clearly not enough to have one team make all the decisions. Instead, create a cross-disciplinary team, consisting of procurement professionals and buyers. Together these two groups can contribute to the decision-making process that will result in a mutually beneficial outcome. In this way you can ensure that you have a cohesive procurement process that works for your entire company.

3. Amp up communication.

Ultimately, there needs to be a procurement strategy and the entire organisation needs to be on board and fully aware of that strategy. Once you have a focus and a cross-disciplinary team to implement the best ideas, you’ll want to ensure that your communication of that strategy is crystal clear to everyone across the entire organisation. To do this, you’ll want a simple, easy to understand document — something that focuses on necessary details to explain and support the procurement strategy.

As buyers and procurement professionals bridge the alignment gap, you’ll start to see any resistance to the procurement process dissipate, resulting in a smooth compliance and procurement process that can guide your business for years to come.

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