Procurement – the profession no-one chooses to do...

Procurement – The Profession No One Chooses To Do...

Procurement can often be known as a profession that people fall into. Operations Manager, Sophie Quenby takes a look at how it is a worthwhile profession that businesses should prioritise.

I once heard it said that procurement is a profession people fall into. I don’t know how accurate that is, but I do know whenever there’s an opportunity to do careers talks at my children’s school or club, procurement is not top of the list.

Have you ever tried to explain to someone who hasn't come across procurement before what it is? “Basically, buying things”, “we put contracts in place”, or “you have to follow certain regulations”. It can be even harder to try to explain consortia. 

Anyone that works within a business will have an understanding of procurement, so why is it not taken more seriously? Procurement is often the last to know, the last to get involved and seen as an administrative function to dare I say it, make already made decisions compliant.

Do these sound familiar to anyone?

  • Procurement cause delays for time sensitive projects
  • Can you magically negotiate prices and service levels for the supplier we have already picked?
  • Procurement police - Telling businesses how and where to spend their money
  • We buy things all the time, we don’t need procurement it’s just shopping with someone else’s money
  • Just get 3 quotes and we’ll go with the cheapest
  • The contract runs out in two weeks, can you sort out a new one

The misconceptions that surround procurement can be easily alleviated if stakeholders engage with the procurement team right at the start, and businesses realised the strategic importance of the function.

The definition from the Oxford dictionary seems so simple, ‘the action of obtaining or procuring something’ yet the procurement department is there to allow businesses to solve commercial problems that involve third parties. They’re not there to beat supply chain partners but to enable a collaborative working relationship right from the start to make the contract as successful as possible.

It takes years to qualify professionally and maintain up to date knowledge in the ever-changing legislative landscape. In my opinion if you have fallen into it, or looking to progress a career, I believe procurement is a worthwhile profession that businesses should prioritise.

If you need help with your organisation's procurement operations you can contact us, here.