Buyers should identify and engage with key stakeholders to increase procurement's influence

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
4 March 2015

The key to increasing the influence of procurement in an organisation is to identify key stakeholders and then actively engage with them, a conference was told.

Christopher Barrat, director of Greystone Partnership, told delegates to draw up a shortlist of personnel who have a big impact on the business, identify their personal characteristics, and then “you have to find a way to engage with them". “Give them something they want,” he said, adding: “Engaging with people is all about focus.”

Speaking at eWorld Procurement & Supply in London yesterday, Barrat said procurement departments should consider how they are perceived and what their “brand” is. He said buyers were often seen as “blockers” who rated themselves as less important than other departments such as sales and marketing.

“Marketing and sales could not turn up for six weeks and no-one would notice,” he said. “If procurement didn’t turn up for six weeks what would happen? You would probably have to shut down operations.”

Barrat said positioning was important. “It’s about positioning within yourself and positioning within your company. If you get that right your chances of influencing are much higher,” he said.

“It’s very much about a leadership skill. It’s about how you communicate with people and how you can become more commercial.”

Barrat said it was important to recognise that team members had different levels of charisma. “If you have personable people in your organisation, get them out there. They are people who will change your brand.”

He summed up his advice: “Get your positive head on, give your folks a boost, do a team analysis of brand [and] target key people.”

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