Understanding of Overall Process Enhances the Growth of Organization
As emerging trends, what exactly is happening in the procurement landscape? Do you have any expectations of a trend taking over a new trend emerging in the market? Where do you see the industrial going?
Over the past couple of years, automation and proliferation of data gave the ability to take large quantities of previously unknown data and synthesize it into a purchasing pattern, making purchasing more efficient and effective. The automation has made it possible to make algorithmic data-driven decisions and enabled an automated way to place POs with suppliers for replenishment programs without human touch. I think procurement is becoming more of a strategic function within the organization instead of a transactional-execution only function. For instance, procurement sees a lot of things that sales, marketing, operations, or I.T. doesn’t. We deal with the vendor base and at the same time look for emerging trends in marketplaces by dealing with cutting edge vendors. We see things from a supplier point of view. On the flip side, we also need to understand the customer requirements from our sales teams to purchase more efficiently. Today, procurement is continuing to evolve and grasping a greater seat at the table for strategic decisions from a company perspective than ever.
Understand the business, strategy of the company, the role of procurement, sales, and marketing and their key priorities, and ensure that you are aligned organizationally to maximize procurement impact on other groups’ success
With these trends, do you see any challenges that you or your peers face in the industry?
Managing a massive amount of data is a big challenge. You still need human interaction on synthesizing some of the data or putting the parameters in place for the algorithms to be able to leverage the data. With data proliferation and augmentation of the sourcing programs to use that data is still a challenge as we are going from nothing to light speed in terms of amounts of transactions and how we are currently doing the procurement function. The challenge is finding people that can take care of huge data and then put programs and procedures in place to leverage it.
How do you choose vendors or solutions out of so many vendors in the market? What are the things that you keep in mind before adopting any technology or solutions?
You should be aware about the maturity of your business and leverage system accordingly. Since we are sourcing procurement people, we are always going to try to get the biggest bang for the buck. As a procurement leader, we have to do it with the leadership of the company as we may be able to leverage this data and information for other decisions that are outside of the procurement function. So the checklist is more about—understanding what step is necessary for leveraging this data and what do you want to do with this data—is it solely in the procurement function or are you going to leverage it across the organization. Once you are clear about these steps, then you can look for the vendors and their offerings to help you utilize this data to make business decisions.
How has the journey been to you within the industry? How had the whole success been to in your overall career? What is your secrets to success ?
I have been very blessed to have a lot of fantastic mentors who guided me throughout my career from procurement, marketing to operations and sales process improvement. My journey has been focused on how to drive tangible business results within an organization regardless of the function that you are in. I had some very difficult business challenges that needed to be overcome and was accountable and responsible to put together teams to drive business performance. It is all about building relationships, understanding the business criteria, aligning the goals, and objectives to mission and vision of the company; then whatever function you are in, you can drive performance. Because of these factors, I have had a very fortunate and successful career journey so far. The secret to my success is authenticity, an execution mindset, and aligning the strategy. When you run large teams, you should know the importance of every spoke of the wheel. Focusing on each individual and drive them for their best performance with constant communication and transparency, hard work, and dedication ultimately improve business results and bring success to the organization.
What would be some of the key things that your peers need to keep an eye out for if they wish to succeed in this competitive marketplace?
From a procurement perspective, I would say, don’t stay in your bubble and don’t just focus on procurement as historical procurement. Understand the business, strategy of the company, the role of procurement, sales, and marketing and their key priorities, and ensure that you are aligned organizationally to maximize procurement impact on other groups’ success. Since things are moving at the speed of light, you need to truly understand the entire business and align procurement to drive results not only within your area but also partner with other areas for overall company success.
What would you advise young professionals who wish to step into the procurement landscape?
Make sure you have clear cut goals and objectives and know what you are trying to drive. Understand where the evolution of the procurement function is within the organization—is it a status quo, or is it a transformation, or is it business as usual or do things need to change fundamentally? Ask a lot of questions during the interview process about culture, alignment, personal brand, and what the company is trying to accomplish. Try to understand where the procurement function sits, what is the true mission and vision, and how it relates to the other functions of the organization. And as a young professional, you should know what your peers are doing in sales, marketing, I.T., and operations so that you realize how your role impacts all the other components of the organization. Be true to yourself. Be authentic. Make sure you are having fun. If you are in a role in a company and spending hours of the day without enjoying your work, then take a hard look in the mirror, maybe it is time for a change.