Consultancy message for indirects purchasers

24 September 2010

24 September 2010 | Lindsay Clark

Buyers managing indirect procurement should see themselves as internal consultants focused on influencing stakeholders instead of simply offering cost savings, according to Guy Strafford, client director of buyingTeam.

Speaking at the CIPS Conference 2010 yesterday, Strafford – who works for a procurement outsourcing company – said that buying indirects required a distinct set of professional skills, because ultimately your stakeholders choose which suppliers to use.

“You are not deciding,” he said. “That immediately has a huge impact on the skill set required, because it is not your call: you are an influence.”

Although many purchasers may not have joined the profession with the role in mind, those in indirect procurement are, in fact, consultants, Strafford said. “Once you get over the self-loathing, it’s actually quite a key point to the nature of what we are and what our role is.”

He said the key to developing internal relationships in order to influence was not to lead the conversation with savings, because that is not the top priority for stakeholders.

“These guys are not buying to save 5 per cent,” he said. “[For example], the marketing director is not trying to save money, he’s trying to raise the brand profile.”

BuyingTeam’s clients include British Airways, Morrisons and Siemens.

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