What not to do in procurement

4 January 2012
Procurement has to fight very hard to get a seat at the table in many organisations so it is demotivating to see our own behaviour drive us further away from our business. So what should we avoid doing to make sure we don’t ruin our chances? 1.     Don't highlight what didn't work  – it is crucial to build on what has been achieved. Nobody needs to know that the past five years have been a waste. 2.     Don't push your agenda – listen to what is important to the wider business. Is cash flow a concern this month? How about the quality of the product being produced? Procurement is a function and our role is to make our business look good. 3.     Don't be a walkover, either. Procurement must bring independence and separation of powers. Know when to be firm and stand up for your vision or goal. 4.     Avoid being reactionary. This can be unavoidable to some degree, but you must have a strategic vision of where procurement is going and time to bring others along on the journey. 5.     Don't presume you are valued by the business – you can assume you probably won't be, at least to start with. You are going to have to earn respect. 6.     Don't be process-focused – bring value. If the business knows you care about it and are helping it to succeed, it will generally help you bring rigour to the process. 7.     Finally, think of the business as your client at all times. You need to help it meet its goals, not the other way around. Procurement does not exist as an entity in its own right, but rather as an enabler to good business outcomes.
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