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Procurement matters more than ever – but how do you explain that to outsiders? 

The pandemic brought supply chains to public attention and highlighted the level of skill procurement demands. But there are many other factors driving the transformation of procurement: Brexit disruption, the climate crisis, escalating cybersecurity risks (especially given Russia’s war on Ukraine), and the increasing need for cutting-edge technology. 

With procurement becoming central to any organisation’s value proposition, it’s time for procurement professionals to level up how they market themselves to internal and external stakeholders.

That means deepening your knowledge of your business and its supply chains. The board and other stakeholders will want information on supply chain resilience, such as whether your suppliers can keep their services going during the energy crisis. You need to understand and be able to explain how events in the wider world will–or preferably won’t–impact your supply chains, so that stakeholders can be prepared.

Have a clear value proposition

This means that despite the post-pandemic budget pressure, your procurement elevator pitch will go better if you don’t make it all about costs. In the new normal, procurement isn’t just about saving money, it’s about making money. Focus more on ESG, corporate responsibility and using relationships to secure your supply chain.

If you’re trapped in a lift with your CEO, they won’t ask you how much you’ve cut costs this year, they’ll ask you about sustainability, Scope 3 emissions regulations, and how you’re contributing to the company’s value proposition. 

Investors too are taking more and more interest in environmental responsibility and supply chain issues, which again is making procurement a board-level issue. If you’re not taking serious action to make your supply chain greener, you’ll be facing shareholder activism.

Think about your elevator pitch in advance–don’t wing it. Work out how to present a clear value proposition for the procurement function, and make sure everyone on your team fully understands that elevator pitch and can deliver it on your behalf.

Find your soundbite

Every stakeholder has different priorities, so you can’t just write a one-size-fits-all pitch and have everyone rote learn it. Rather, you need to highlight the key aspects of your value proposition that align with that person’s priorities. You want about five different elevator pitches that lead with different elements: sustainability, innovation, risk management, and so on.

While it may seem difficult to get people excited about procurement, if you get to know your stakeholders well enough to find a soundbite that pushes their buttons, you’ll create genuine excitement. Focus on telling a story that gets the message across authentically and with a bit of passion.

We may be living in interesting times right now, but for procurement professionals it’s an opportunity to add value, to improve procurement’s standing in your organisation, and to change your organisation for the better. It’s about demonstrating that you have the market insight and data at your fingertips to enable the whole business 


If you are looking for your next role in procurement or looking for your next hire please get in touch with us today.

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