Every company obviously has various stakeholders with varying levels of influence and power from the investors to the board executives to middle management to lower level employees. Given their varying interests and responsibilities, these stakeholders often have different views with respect to what is significant and what is perhaps less important. Procurement professionals have a very discrete skill set and business goals in mind to fulfill their objectives. In many cases, however, those goals and objectives do not always perfectly align with those of the stakeholders within the larger organization. The procurement folks are tasked with establishing workable supply chains while seeking maximal value as they simultaneously try to ensure cost savings. This may run a bit counter to what professionals in other departments are accustomed to worrying about, and when different departments have an incongruent focus this can lead to friction and stall operations. Here is how to get stakeholders to support procurement efforts:
Open the Dialogue and Reconcile the Differences
As mentioned, different professionals within a company have unique perspectives regarding the company’s priorities and value. But, just because people have different job titles and thus have vastly diverging roles and responsibilities, this does not mean that they should be in the dark about what others are doing to propel the business forward. It is always helpful for everyone to recognize the importance of what others within the company are doing and to even seek to align their goals in some way. The only way to do this is by simply opening the dialogue amongst the different departments. The marketing team has to understand what it is that the procurement team is seeking to accomplish and vice versa. Rather than engage in a kind of tug of war and assume that there are competing priorities, everyone must understand how they can contribute to creating synergy among the various operations.
Highlight the Important Points
There is no way that everyone is going to completely grasp every facet of a business’s operations, nor is there time to even try to do this. For this reason, the dialogue and reconciliation process has to focus on the most important points. From the procurement perspective, this will no doubt pertain to hammering home the importance of creating a strong supply chain and the need for consistent quality. Depending on the type of company you work for, the procurement team may be sourcing parts for the goods that the company creates, or it may be responsible for finding service providers or other slightly more intangible business opportunities that will factor into the company’s operations. The only way to engage stakeholders is by clearly explaining why it is that they should be engaged, and by doing so in a convincing albeit concise fashion.
Keep Everyone Informed
As with many business issues, timely and effective communication is clearly at the heart of success. There first has to be that opening of the communication lines and the initial introductions must be made during which time everyone can become acquainted and begin to understand the interplay between the various departments and personnel. But, it is critical to ensure that the information exchanges do not stop there, which tends to be what happens and which inevitably leads to tension. Dynamic companies are committed to team-building and interdisciplinary collaboration to further their business interests, and for the discrete sectors of the business such as procurement, these sorts of activities are even more important.