There is much tosh talked about how procurement is commoditising and driving down margins in our industry. I come fresh from an hour long meeting with one of our biggest global clients and her procurement colleagues in which we were treated with respect and the notion of ‘good, fair value’ was applied to the benefit of both parties. ‘Good fair value’ recognises that this client wants to see good value as they spend more with us, but that this value to them cannot be at the price of what is fair for us. They say this and they act this and the result is a good relationship and the basis for great work.
Not all procurement is as enlightened I concede, but here are a few reasons why when you next meet your friendly, local procurement manager, you should be optimistic:
- procurement is involved and therefore it’s safe to assume you have a BIG budget. They only focus on the big budgets and so you are in the big leagues which is where we as an industry have always said we want to be rather than scrabbling round unseen with the flower vendors
- once a procurement manager is engaged with you they will ask for things you want to give them. For example, they will want to do more business with you, because they know volume breeds efficiency for both partners
- they are much more likely to want to be brand loyal to you across practice discipline and across markets because, again, they KNOW this breeds financial and operational efficiency. They even have the numbers to prove it
- You might learn something about your own business. They sit opposite all sorts of other marketing and professional service people and can provide benchmarks for costs and ratios that can help you run a better business
- They want long term relationships and are usually happy to sign up for them because again, they have the data to prove this works best for both sides
- They will advocate for you within the client business because, once you have an agreement with them, you are an approved supplier, and they are taken seriously within their businesses as business managers
- Their rational approach is sometimes a refreshing change from the more emotionally driven relationship-based-relationships (if you know what I mean)
- They may be there longer than the person who hired you
We always wanted to be taken seriously and now we are and that means we have to operate as serious businesses. Rejoice.
[tags] Procurement [/tags]