There are many articles out there bemoaning procurement’s relegation to the back-office. But few have evidence.
A few months ago, I asked whether Procurement spent too much time worrying about what others thought of it.
One respondent wondered whether this lay is an inadequate skillbase. The expectations of other departments were also pitched too high given procurement’s abilities.
Ronny stated: “As a result of that there is a question of credibility of Procurement teams that are still growing, they spend much time worrying about what Finance or Engineering teams think about them.”
It was this seeking to drive forward that often leads people to feel disappointed over procurement’s performance. However, even those achievements were rarely noted. As James pointed out, for a function that is “notoriously poor at self-marketing“, it fails to attract the attention of others.
For Cheryl, “[u]pper management support is the primary tool to get stakeholders to tender and procure the requirement through the procurement process. Upper management shouldn't endorse a spend“. In this sense, earlier involvement can be supported through a more top-down approach.
There is significant anecdotal evidence that the purchasing function is underrepresented, but is there any more information?
Google’s newly reported data tool may provide an answer. Google Ngram searches all books written in the English language and tracks their popularity over time. I put in “procurement department”, “marketing department”, “finance department” and “IT department”.
Procurement is a noticeable laggard. However, there may be hope. Finance was historically dominant before marketing quickly overtook it in the 1960s. This too was usurped by the IT department, which rose rapidly to prominence in literature during the 2000s.
It is perhaps unlikely that procurement will see a similar spike into the fore-front of everyone’s attention. But there has been a gradual rise since 2000, and perhaps there is scope for continued elevation in the future?
Clearly, there we have seen a renewed interest since the global recession. But, can procurement sustain this throughout the recovery?
[NOTE: Try it yourself here.]