Knowing Your Internal Customers

January 7th, 2013

What are you doing to make sure you stay connected to your company’s internal customers?”

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing.

If you look at best-in-class procurement organizations all over the world you will notice that they all have several traits in common.   Understanding the products and services the company needs to run its business, effectively managing the suppliers, and reviewing the effectiveness of deals that are made are all very important elements that make a successful organization.

One area that frequently gets overlooked by many companies is the relationship that needs to be fostered internally with all of the other departments.  So many times departments like IT, Research & Development, Engineering, Manufacturing, Legal and Real Estate are allowed to create and maintain their own supplier relationships outside of the procurement department because these departments tend to need goods and services that have a much stronger emphasis on value and fit rather than on price.   These goods and services also tend to need a lot of expertise in order to understand them fully in a way that will result in an effective evaluation of the different offerings.

The fact is, these departments are still buying products and services and a good procurement organization can help them with this process as well helping get the best price.

Internal Discovery Sessions – One of the greatest ways to get stronger in assisting the rest of the organization can come in the form of scheduled meetings with each of the departments in the company.  Discovery sessions with each department can begin to uncover how these departments operate and where their needs are.  Knowing these areas can begin to highlight where a procurement team can help the rest of the company.

Third Party eProcurement Help – Another way to can help a company’s other departments, especially those mentioned above, is to engage a third party strategic sourcing who can bring some of the expertise to augment the procurement staff in order to assist with projects of a more technical nature.  Gaining the confidence of other departments, whether it is which your staff or a third party, will open the door to help with many other projects and services.

Lead with Value (not price) Proposition – Many of the departments like those mentioned above are very sensitive about a “low price” approach for sourcing their goods and services.  While getting a good price is always important to every company, it will be important to emphasize the ways the procurement team can assist and bring value to the other departments rather than getting them the lowest price and rightfully so.  Many of the products and services are mission critical and vary widely from supplier to supplier.  Finding the right fit for these departments will always be at the forefront but that does not mean there won’t be ways to help them ensure their selection is at the best price possible.

For assistance on helping work with your internal customers, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

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