Indirect Procurement Challenges: The View From Madrid

Monday, December 9, 2019

CASME was in Madrid for the first time last week. In an interactive RoundTable hosted by Graham Crawshaw, CASME members discussed the Strategic Challenges and Opportunities for Indirect Procurement with peers from other organisations who were eager to exchange their views.

With the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change taking place in Madrid at the same time, sustainability was hot on the RoundTable agenda.  Delegates had many suggestions on the role that Procurement should play in improving sustainability. All agreed that developing a programme to reduce fleet CO2 emissions and banning single-use plastic are core actions which would get stakeholders’ attention.

Some businesses in Spain struggle to accept the value that Indirect Procurement brings to the organisation, according to delegates. In part, getting the function recognised at a strategic level is a challenge in its own right. Interestingly, there is no equivalent of the word ‘Procurement’ in Spanish.  It simply translates as ‘buying’.  This translation probably does not help the perception of Procurement as a tactical, service-led function.

The delegates recommended that addressing what matters most to the business should be the core focus for Procurement. All agreed that risk, diversity, taxation management and sustainability are the most important issues.

Procurement needs to sell its value internally and should talk in the language that stakeholders understand.  Storytelling is a tool which can help communicate success stories within the business.

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