Who can Procurement trust?

I have just read an article that summarised the findings from interviewing 250 procurement people from around the world. The interesting statistics that stood out to me are that they on average spend 25% of their working day in collating data on the marketplace and suppliers. Then 92% of the respondents rely on getting this data from their suppliers. With 60% replying on ‘costly management consultancies’ for this same data.

For me this is quite staggering. Of course you get the most reliable spend data on your organisation from your supplier as it will always be better than your Accounts Payable system. But knowing your market and the category of spend that you are responsible for is a key part of any procurement person’s role – can you trust suppliers to be open and honest, or will they want to play a game in controlling the data that they will provide you. What happened to Mintel reports; Keynotes; attending industry conferences; reading relevant market publications (such as Media Week); using Google to search for this information and of course talking to peers and suppliers is part of the data gathering process. When I talk to Procurement people about the basics e.g. industry magazine subscriptions, they say that they cannot afford it. One of my clients last year was a High Street retailer and I was passing them my old back copies of my magazines.

But as the heading to this article says, who can Procurement trust, and should they trust suppliers to help them know the market. Many of my agency clients do moan (a lot) about the lack of knowledge and skills that many Procurement people do not have, especially in growth areas such as digital. It seems to be more of an issue in training and education which would then lead to having a better awareness of the marketplace.

The only training courses that exist for Marketing Procurement people are the ISBA ones and you have to be a member. Our trade body – CIPS, do not run their Marketing Collection training programme any more but maybe 2012 is the year to focus on training and development.

  • DANIEL JEFFRIES

    Fair call Tina.

    Official training for marketing procurement professionals is sadly lacking but there are ways of gaining knowledge through other means; Professionals like yourself mentoring ‘up and coming’ colleagues is one way of improving standards in this space and taking ownership for your own development is another.  

    Complaining that ones department cannot afford to buy a subscription to industry publications is downright nonsense – this comes down to taking ownership of our own development. Investing £150 out of ones own pocket shows a willingness to understand the professional environment that one has chosen to be part of – why should this be paid for by the company?

    As for trusting suppliers, you and I both know that no one knows the market as well as the suppliers within it and as a result they are the richest source of intelligence that we can tap into.  Good agency relationships go well beyond the ‘here and now’ of the current deal in place – successful marketing procurement professionals must be able to call on these relationships to keep abreast of industry trends.

    And finally, as for training, maybe 2012 will be the year when it gets addressed…….

    Dan

  • Mark McPhee

    Dan – you make a good point on taking control of one’s own learning and development. I also believe individuals need to be able to make the case for funds internally of the value a marketing subscription would provide for insight and market knowledge, for example.
    Back to the question, sources such as Mintel or D&B, whilst great in providing a general overview of are all time based and therefore need to be approached with caution and used in the right context.
    I personally value the information and insight from agencies, they after all experts in their relevant fields and contain some incredible talent. But common sense dictates that a balanced approach is the best way to stay up to date and informed, including your own network of current and former colleagues.
    Given the strategic importance of Marketing within companies and the size of investments made it is surprising that CIPS do not offer more options of training on the category. As Marketing becomes more fragmented and the once New Media channels (such as digital and social) become “traditional” routes, the need for training will become more important.

  • Mark McPhee

    Dan – you make a good point on taking control of one’s own learning and development. I also believe individuals need to be able to make the case for funds internally of the value a marketing subscription would provide for insight and market knowledge, for example.
    Back to the question, sources such as Mintel or D&B, whilst great in providing a general overview of are all time based and therefore need to be approached with caution and used in the right context.
    I personally value the information and insight from agencies, they after all experts in their relevant fields and contain some incredible talent. But common sense dictates that a balanced approach is the best way to stay up to date and informed, including your own network of current and former colleagues.
    Given the strategic importance of Marketing within companies and the size of investments made it is surprising that CIPS do not offer more options of training on the category. As Marketing becomes more fragmented and the once New Media channels (such as digital and social) become “traditional” routes, the need for training will become more important.

  • Mark McPhee

    Dan – you make a good point on taking control of one’s own learning and development. I also believe individuals need to be able to make the case for funds internally of the value a marketing subscription would provide for insight and market knowledge, for example.
    Back to the question, sources such as Mintel or D&B, whilst great in providing a general overview of are all time based and therefore need to be approached with caution and used in the right context.
    I personally value the information and insight from agencies, they after all experts in their relevant fields and contain some incredible talent. But common sense dictates that a balanced approach is the best way to stay up to date and informed, including your own network of current and former colleagues.
    Given the strategic importance of Marketing within companies and the size of investments made it is surprising that CIPS do not offer more options of training on the category. As Marketing becomes more fragmented and the once New Media channels (such as digital and social) become “traditional” routes, the need for training will become more important.

  • Mark McPhee

    Dan – you make a good point on taking control of one’s own learning and development. I also believe individuals need to be able to make the case for funds internally of the value a marketing subscription would provide for insight and market knowledge, for example.
    Back to the question, sources such as Mintel or D&B, whilst great in providing a general overview of are all time based and therefore need to be approached with caution and used in the right context.
    I personally value the information and insight from agencies, they after all experts in their relevant fields and contain some incredible talent. But common sense dictates that a balanced approach is the best way to stay up to date and informed, including your own network of current and former colleagues.
    Given the strategic importance of Marketing within companies and the size of investments made it is surprising that CIPS do not offer more options of training on the category. As Marketing becomes more fragmented and the once New Media channels (such as digital and social) become “traditional” routes, the need for training will become more important.

  • Mark McPhee

    Dan – you make a good point on taking control of one’s own learning and development. I also believe individuals need to be able to make the case for funds internally of the value a marketing subscription would provide for insight and market knowledge, for example.
    Back to the question, sources such as Mintel or D&B, whilst great in providing a general overview of are all time based and therefore need to be approached with caution and used in the right context.
    I personally value the information and insight from agencies, they after all experts in their relevant fields and contain some incredible talent. But common sense dictates that a balanced approach is the best way to stay up to date and informed, including your own network of current and former colleagues.
    Given the strategic importance of Marketing within companies and the size of investments made it is surprising that CIPS do not offer more options of training on the category. As Marketing becomes more fragmented and the once New Media channels (such as digital and social) become “traditional” routes, the need for training will become more important.

  • Mark McPhee

    Dan – you make a good point on taking control of one’s own learning and development. I also believe individuals need to be able to make the case for funds internally of the value a marketing subscription would provide for insight and market knowledge, for example.
    Back to the question, sources such as Mintel or D&B, whilst great in providing a general overview of are all time based and therefore need to be approached with caution and used in the right context.
    I personally value the information and insight from agencies, they after all experts in their relevant fields and contain some incredible talent. But common sense dictates that a balanced approach is the best way to stay up to date and informed, including your own network of current and former colleagues.
    Given the strategic importance of Marketing within companies and the size of investments made it is surprising that CIPS do not offer more options of training on the category. As Marketing becomes more fragmented and the once New Media channels (such as digital and social) become “traditional” routes, the need for training will become more important.

  • Mark McPhee

    Dan – you make a good point on taking control of one’s own learning and development. I also believe individuals need to be able to make the case for funds internally of the value a marketing subscription would provide for insight and market knowledge, for example.
    Back to the question, sources such as Mintel or D&B, whilst great in providing a general overview of are all time based and therefore need to be approached with caution and used in the right context.
    I personally value the information and insight from agencies, they after all experts in their relevant fields and contain some incredible talent. But common sense dictates that a balanced approach is the best way to stay up to date and informed, including your own network of current and former colleagues.
    Given the strategic importance of Marketing within companies and the size of investments made it is surprising that CIPS do not offer more options of training on the category. As Marketing becomes more fragmented and the once New Media channels (such as digital and social) become “traditional” routes, the need for training will become more important.