IACCM Contract Management Forum

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2016-11-15 10:36:15

Change of image for procurement managers

Has anyone ever come up with a good alternative name for "procurement" or "purchasing" to try and change the image procurement managers have within an organisation? In my experience, we can be seen as more of an obstacle to be jumped over or by-passed completely, rather than someone that can be worked with to make their own lives easier. And some project managers don't even understand what procurement actually means and how it applies to the projects they do. A name change won't change a culture overnight, but it's a start to change people's perceptions.
 •   2016-11-16 09:07:56
"Supply Chain?"

"Partner" rather than manager?

This said, I'm pretty sure that "Procurement" is the term commonly used in PM circles (It's certainly the term used in PMBOK) so I would question whether the re-brand is the way to go.

Is your procurement team centralised / remote from the projects? Any prospect of co-locating resources? (Even if it's only one or two days a week - it's harder to hurdle a real person!). Any road-shows / team building events in the pipeline?

Any idea if the Contract Management team feel like there is a similar issue between themselves and the PMs?
 •   2016-11-16 10:55:10
Thanks for your reply, useful comments. Something cosmetic like a name change would certainly not help on its own, but I was interested to see if anyone had done it successfully as a starting point of wider culture change. We've tried lots of things over the years, and our Commercial team on the sales contract side do indeed have the same problem. We have different offices, but the majority of project staff are in the same building as us. I think part of the problem is that because people are so busy, they don't stop for 2 minutes and just think about what they need to do, it's not deliberate bypassing (on the whole). It's an age old issue that I know many contracts staff face.
 •  Seiersen Enterprises  •   2016-11-16 19:00:21
I like to think that effective procurement delivers the right deal with the right supplier. If you are really committed to doing that, to making your internal "client" successful, you will be less likely to be bypassed. That is very much in the way you engage with them, and what you do for them, If you help them see risks and opportunities they had not yet identified, and find a smart way to handle them, word will get around, and you may have to turn away business!
A new name might not be the way to go - but a new tag line might.
I'm not sure what it would look like in your business, but maybe along the lines of "Making your deals happen" or just "the right deals with the right suppliers"
Good luck
 •  World Commerce & Contracting  •   2016-11-17 07:03:20
It's a great question!

Many functions struggle with this same issue - and in the end, it's about behaviour more than a name. Of course, the Procurement 'brand' may be tarnished, but re-naming usually doesn't fix it. It's a visible - and perhaps shocking - change of behaviour that makes people start to think differently.

I've led and witnessed transformations and I'd be happy to chat with you if you would like to discuss ideas.
 •  Ricardo-AEA Ltd  •   2016-11-18 08:30:58
Thanks for the further replies, much appreciated.

Tim - I'll take you up on that offer, thank you. I'll talk to my boss as I'm sure he'd like to be in on the conversation. Will be in touch.
 •  New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA)  •   2016-11-26 04:27:00
Commercial has much more positive connotations but it is going to be deeds and actions rather than titles that will change perceptions. The IACCM research on the Future of Contracting is a good thought provoking read about what needs to change.
 •  DHS  •   2016-11-29 20:13:09
In one of the previous organisations I worked for, the whole procurement and contract management division was called "Enabling Services" and this was quite effective in creating a "helping" culture for our operational areas. In fact, we had a "customer service" attitude and this was quite transformational - Of course, culture is more than just having a name change and a new slogan.
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