An engaging strategy

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
9 June 2014

12 June 2014 | Paul Snell

Paul Snell‘The customer is always right.’

Except, of course, when the procurement department is right and the customer is in the wrong. Does this attitude sound familiar?

You might accuse me of being unfair, but I believe it is still a common belief within the profession.

And why not? You are the experts with years of knowledge and experience at your fingertips.

Who does that stakeholder, trying to tell you the best way to run a tender process, think they are?

But pause a moment (before you send me a disgruntled email) and bear in mind the words of Rexam CPO Alex Jennings in this issue.  “If you have a style where ‘I decide, I say who, I say when,’ then prepare to fail, because the business can make you fail. If you try to railroad something through the business then you will be unsuccessful.”

The prompt for this month’s cover feature, was the revelation that more than half of procurement teams have no formal measure of stakeholder satisfaction. How do you know if you are making your customers happy, if you don’t check with them regularly? The article explains why it is important and why you should care what they think of you.

Improving stakeholder relationships was a prominent theme at the CIPS Middle East Conference in Dubai last month. Leadership expert Tommy Weir said companies often mistake doing something in a particular way
– because that’s the way it has always been done – as the best way to do it.

He urged people to consider whether it truly is, or whether there are other approaches. He also explained why the strongest relationships are built over a cup of coffee.

Suhail Bin Tarraf, CEO of shared services centre Tanfeeth, also pointed out that “putting smiles on customers’ faces” is a great way to prove you add value to the organisation and that it can earn you a seat at the executive table.

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