Innovate and be appreciated

15 January 2013
Rebecca Ellinor, managing editor, Supply ManagementImproving stakeholder relationships, getting involved at the design stage of a product 
or service and forming better bonds with sales colleagues… These are all easy things to say 
(I just did in 21 words), but the doing is quite 
a lot more challenging. Still, it’s the tough stuff that’s particularly 
worth doing, right? The first two are things you’ve told us 
are on your wish list this year. 
All three could help you achieve a better 
profile for procurement, ensuring its importance and role is understood and appreciated. In terms of sales and procurement, while we found that a hard-hit economy has damaged the relationship between the two, we also know that better links 
with your commercial colleagues will help you get the attention of senior management. Kelly Hawson, head of 
indirect procurement at Napp Pharmaceuticals Holdings, says 
in this issue that both departments are concerned with “maximising profitability”, 
but not everyone knows that. She adds that purchasing has a lot to learn from sales’ 
position in an organisation, revered, as 
she says they are, by managing directors. 
That’s because they’re seen as the rainmakers 
and innovators. But procurement teams also bring in money, although this is more often through bottom-line protection of expenditure. The department also has close ties with suppliers and stakeholders and, by working with these partners, procurement can stimulate innovation. I’ve spoken to some CPOs who say their commercial colleagues are now coming to them 
for help when they’re bidding for business. You are, after all, the experts in this field having read through more tender responses than most. This strikes me as an easy ‘in’ with your sales peers. Help them win business and make sure your part in their success is known. Good luck and best wishes for 2013.
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