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Setting the order: Intelligent procurement talent management to get exceptional people

In order to achieve enhanced capabilities and improved efficiency, companies spend millions of dollars into transformation programs, software and third-party services. These goals include globally adaptable supply chains, regulatory compliance, mergers and acquisitions outcomes and stewardship of products and brands. Based on factors like first wave sourcing opportunities such as execution of strategic sourcing processes, better bidding and compliance tracking as well as spending awareness and visibility, procurement teams could manage to achieve savings while achieving the above mentioned goals at the same time.

In fact, they are not only top-performing procurement functions but are evolving into service providers for the business. They aid in aligning with other enterprise areas in savings, sourcing and risk management efforts and help to enable capabilities with them. They help the procurement function to manage commodity volatility, source-to-pay integration and control the broader risk of systematic performance tracking.

In all of this, the individuals who make it happen are either mentioned as just a part of a team, unit or function without a name and a face. The focus mostly is only on executive buy-in without actual consideration for the individuals who perform these roles with proficiency. This is the missing factor when it comes to procurement talent management. If the human capital is applauded for its efforts and recognised for its contribution, then a plausible intersection between human efforts and procurement can be obtained and the dynamics of procurement can be transformed though a four-step process.

· Planning and designing a talent procurement structure

· Identify, attract and orient new talent (especially millennials)

· Managing, developing and cultivating the skills of the existing human capital in the business

· Retaining talent

By identification and orientation of an exceptional talent pool, companies or businesses can aim for higher performance goals and drive the procurement function.

However, there are several challenges that businesses still face in regard to human capital as it is seen as a weak link in achieving and improving the business outcomes. There are several perceptions that form the basis of this analysis.

Procurement is no more about a particular department in-charge of the responsibility, it has now tilted towards becoming a decentralised activity with several business units handling their own purchases themselves and not depending on a specific department for it. Companies can arrive at the actual number of people who play an active procurement role by multiplying supply chain, procurement and accounts payable resources with a factor of 10. That is where the problem lies as companies find it difficult to establish a talent management capability that suits all needs for everyone involved.

Another issue with finding and managing procurement talent is with the changing dynamics in a business environment. These have an impact on how businesses look at talent in keeping with their changing needs. Then it boils down to how procurement stays at the top of the corporate table, not how it reaches there. The way around it is to address talent gaps within the business in keeping with the never-ending changes and the several decisions that impact the procurement process.

In order to strengthen procurement talent management, companies often pursue initiatives such as centre-led procurement organisation, training and enhancing skills, enable category management and develop specific reporting structures. If they are launched in isolation and as individual activities, they can waste time and resources of an organisation. A lasting procurement impact can be achieved if businesses have a talent-centric approach, secure needed funding and gain executive buy-in.

Exploring the potential and understanding the challenges can help businesses to make the necessary changes to close the gap between human resources and procurement which starts from planning and design of the talent management function of the business.

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