June 2016 |

The answer, we believe, is a targeted narrative.

It’s hard to argue that we are not living in some uncertain economic and political times, perhaps best demonstrated right now in the UK and US.

The Referendum on whether the UK remain in the European Union, aka, Brexit, and the American Presidential race are two examples. Without offering any predictions, there are insights to draw and some indications of what will determine the result for both of these voting events. I believe the lessons apply beyond the political landscape and into procurement.

In Procurement, the ability to effectively influence various audiences within an organization is critical. Take for example, IT. If  you are looking to change, improve or enhance  how you source your IT products and services and you have not taken the time to understand your CIO or CTO’s needs and strategies then you will likely find you have a disconnect and IT will struggle to see the value to be gained by working with Procurement. The same can be applied to other categories including Marketing, Facilities Management, and so on. Having the insights into these areas as well as the agility to adapt as business needs change, enables the credibility needed to influence the functional owners and is key to winning their vote of confidence that Procurement can deliver what they need when they need it.

Two of the biggest voting events in recent memory teach us the same lesson. Take a look at Brexit. Polls show us that the two groups most in favor of the UK remaining in the EU are the two groups least likely to vote:

  • Traditional Blue Collar and Pensioners (CDE3): 62-percent say they want to stay in the EU versus 38-percent want to leave;
  • The young: 27-percent want to leave versus 73-percent are for staying

This translates to victory going to whichever group is successful in mobilizing most effectively one or other of these communities to go out and vote. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing in the U.S. Presidential campaign.

Republican candidate Donald Trump has been very effective at getting the traditional working class and seniors out to vote as well as the middle class voters, while Bernie Sanders, on the Democratic side, has shown that he can mobilize the young. Both are changing the face of politics by reaching the voters other politicians do not reach through their heavy digitally savvy campaigns that connect to previously ignored communities.

And that brings us back to Procurement.

Procurement has the ability to have a bigger impact on the success of their organization by reaching out and influencing parts of the business that may have otherwise been ignored. If you are going to source digital marketing services you need to offer insights and value to your CMO.  If Procurement can focus on a narrative and on targeting efforts with the right audiences, often in unexplored, unexploited areas of business, they can achieve more. Over the last six months, in fact, we have seen success when Procurement has focused on a consistent narrative around on demand ‘surge support’ and have striven to provide the business with targeted agility and insight.  The good news is that this seems to continue to resonate as our variety of new client projects and the expansion of engagements are realized in both in the UK and the US.

The message for Procurement is that you must continuously interpret, and align to, the strategy of the company. That’s not a one dimensional measure – it’s not solely about profit. Only by understanding the broader objectives and developing an approach that works across different parts within the organization, can procurement support long-term, sustainable value creation, and ultimately be declared a winner.

Learn more here on how Proxima is redefining procurement and your role within it.