“Ugh – we have to go through the procurement department for this. It’s either going to take forever or just get rejected!”
Does this sound familiar?
Often the procurement department is the first to be blamed when an order request is denied, delayed or adjusted – regardless of how and why the decision was made. Some think it’s personal, while others think procurement professionals only do these things to save a couple of dollars.
While the reasons and misconceptions may vary – there are several simple steps to change this perception.
• Provide explanations and solutions. Provide your co-workers with an overview of how preferred vendors are selected and why choosing preferred vendors is a better solution for the business. By giving this context, you will position yourself as a partner and not as a hindrance for future requests.
• Work with your co-worker to understand why a specific vendor may be a better solution. Colleagues may have their favourite vendors for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t mean that vendor has provided the best negotiated price for the selected goods or services. Talk to your co-workers to gain an understanding of why they want a certain vendor. This may even create an opportunity to work with the vendors to renegotiate better prices and terms and conditions. In addition, this allows you to engage in a healthy dialogue with your colleagues around similar goods or services that are available from existing approved vendors. Either way you have opened the door for more productive and open conversations with colleagues focused on finding mutually beneficial solutions, which can serve to solidify your working relationships.
• Communicate the results. Current trends indicate procurement departments are tracking not only cost savings but also cost avoidance and value added activities. Instead of just reporting that number, successful teams are providing recommendations for additional projects and opportunities. As the results are shared, the procurement department’s overall value and credibility will be elevated and respected.
Transparency is the real key to having a successful relationship with your coworkers. While it may take more time to explain the full reason behind a decision, it creates a team decision-making environment. This will in turn build trust and confidence so that procurement becomes the BFF (best friend forever) to everyone in the company.
☛ Nancy Jorgensen is product marketing director at SciQuest