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Time for procurement to become Entreprocurial

natalie henfrey and jj van der meer | procurement leaders | 19 january 2017

Entreprocurial™ is the idea that procurement should behave like an entrepreneur in order to help deliver an organisation’s growth ambitions.

It is a mindset that procurement professionals should adopt to stay relevant in today’s changing world.

What does Entreprocurial mean?

There are 3 Rs in Entreprocurial, literally as well as figuratively, that provide a framework for procurement to think in this way:

1. Stake your Reputation: Entrepreneurs stand by their ideas and the decisions they make, even in the face of pressure to do otherwise.

2. Be Ruthless: Successful entrepreneurs focus only on four or five things that make a difference.

3. Stay in the Room: A phrase heard often from the mouths of innovators, this involves making difficult and objective decisions and not taking the easy option.

So why is this focus on innovation and entrepreneurship so important?

Innovation is a top investment priority across all sectors of procurement, according to PA Consulting’s 2016 Procurement and Innovation Report.

However, 90% of innovations fail, with financial constraints during development cited as the main reason. Procurement is in a uniquely influential position as regards to these financial constraints and, in turn, the success or failure of innovation, through its management of third party spend and those relationships.

Yet, often, procurement’s role is one of unfulfilled potential, where it stays in its comfort zone of contributing bottom line savings.

In a world where the pace of innovation is unprecedented and is necessary for survival, procurement must be flexible and agile. Adopting an Entreprocurial approach pushes the function towards that all-important top line contribution. 

So what does Entreprocurial behaviour look like in practice?

  • It is the CPO who convinces the executive board that building new factories to service a new and competitive market is high risk, but that the supplier network is reliable enough to contract manufacture and distribute the products, and so it is a risk worth taking.
  • It is the procurement manager who not only secures a great innovation idea from an external party, but also takes personal ownership to turn that into an actual product.
  • It is the CPO who shifts the focus from the supply market to a focus on adding value to the customer.

Procurement can continue to stay in its comfort zone. However, adopting new behaviours and focusing on the top line gives vital innovations a better chance of succeeding. It’s time for Procurement to get Entreprocurial.

Natalie Henfrey and JJ Van Der Meer are procurement experts at PA Consulting Group

 

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