Kelly Barner, Buyers Meeting Point, LLC

Traditionally, procurement works to deliver superior value to internal  stakeholder groups: including finance, operations, marketing, R&D, and the executive team. Many procurement teams have adopted a traditional ‘customer service’ model to guide their interaction and communication. While it is well-intentioned, using a customer service model with internal stakeholders limits procurement’s understanding of how their priorities are connected to the end customer. Only the creation of customer and shareholder value allow procurement to contribute to operational and financial health. Anything done for the company’s own sake (or by one internal group for another) offers limited benefits to customers.

Procurement must establish a deep understanding of the customer value proposition: broadening its efforts to emphasize revenue generation, market share, and corporate competitive advantage. In some cases, customer expectations surpass the conditions required for commercial growth. This requires procurement to play an active role in fostering corporate citizenship by investing in supply chain sustainability and corporate social responsibility. When looking at the supply chain from  a consumer perspective, procurement’s responsibilities seem very broad.

Below are the 5 ways to tell if your procurement team is customer centric:

  1. It meets with sales and marketing outside of a sourcing or spend analysis efforts.
  2. It takes into consideration how customers will feel about a given supplier choice.
  3. It doesn’t dismiss consumers just because their company is B2B.
  4. It asks current and prospective suppliers to explain how they advance the corporate brand.
  5. It can articulate how any spend category contributes to perceived customer value.

Want more detail?  Download the detailed checklist here.