It has become clear that the most effective procurement departments not only rely on their own departmental capabilities and resources, but also leverage internal partners to support their work. Below is a series of best practices that procurement leaders can follow to establish and make the most of their relationships with internal partners.
1. Build a measurable plan
To begin, consider building a departmental business plan that includes input from the departments that you serve, as well as departments that can support your mission. Such a plan should include long-term goals that serve both procurement and the other relevant departments, and that highlight the deliverables required from each partner.
By following this course, all parties that support or benefit from procurement’s work will have a shared set of expectations and will be more invested in the procurement process, leading to optimal results.
2. Create an open dialogue
In addition, be sure to lay groundwork for open ongoing communication among the departments partnering with procurement. Consider formal meetings to ensure that interests remain aligned over time and that procurement is getting the support it needs, including year-end or more frequent progress assessments. However, you may also consider more informal interactions, including social outings or casual inter-departmental gatherings designed to build rapport and ensure open channels of communication. The stronger the relationships that procurement has with other departments, the more productive those relationships will be.
3. Be inclusive with all departments
Finally, consider developing relationships with departments that may not be directly relevant to procurement’s short-term goals but which can support procurement’s long-term interests. Just because a department may not offer obvious value to procurement’s mission does not mean that you should exclude that department from your work. Generally speaking, the more departments that are aware of procurement’s efforts and familiar with its mission, the more support that the procurement department will be able to find when it needs it most.
The right formula
No department can succeed entirely on its own, and this is particularly true for procurement, which has a mission and day-to-day work that is directly tied to the needs and objectives of the overall business. By finding the right internal business partners and cultivating them properly, the procurement department can perform at its best and most effectively serve the needs of the company.