June 06, 2019

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Diversity is key to the evolving procurement function | Procurement

Diversity is key to the evolving procurement function | Procurement

Sheri Spinks, a distinguished member of the Global Council for the Advancement of Women in Procurement, explains how the procurement function has modified and why range is extra necessary than ever.

The Global Council for the Advancement of Women in Procurement was based as a discussion board to promote the involvement of girls concerned in the procurement, sourcing and provide chain professions. “We are a global group of over 2,500 members and counting, with a focus on both attracting and retaining women in procurement and supply chain. We also provide a forum for discussion and mentorship and offer the skills and tools women need to empower themselves and advance their careers,” says Executive Secretary & Director Sheri Spinks.

Spinks caught up with Supply Chain Digital at ProcureCon Canada, which she has attended for 3 years. She argues that’s it’s an amazing platform for making long run connections. “I think it’s important now more than ever to give a voice to women in procurement. We need to talk about the enhancements and value we deliver as well as the soft skills we possess that contributes to our success in this area,” she feedback.

 

A altering function

“Historically, procurement used to be seen as administrative, process driven, reactive and policy focused – now, we are finally being seen as strategic business partners,” says Spinks. As the function has modified and developed, so have the necessities of these working in the house. “It’s important now more than ever that procurement professionals have a broad business acumen, both from an understanding and skill perspective,” she feedback.

Now, it’s not simply {qualifications} and data, however comfortable expertise comparable to negotiation and innovation which might be key to profitable in the procurement sphere. “Innovation leads to cost savings if you can find a better way of doing something,” says Spinks. “An effective procurement or supply chain professional is going to be constantly looking at engaging new suppliers. They’re going to be bringing innovative solutions to the table.”

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The key for at this time’s procurement professionals, says Spinks, is open communication and true partnership with suppliers – “talking about the goals that each organisation has and working together to come up with solutions”. Now, she argues, provide chains may be seen as true mills of income by partaking new companions that convey enterprise alternatives. “It’s not just cost,” she emphasises, having simply delivered a chat at ProcureCon about whole worth possession.

“The onus is on procurement professionals within the organisation to make that shift,” she explains. “It’s about value, and when you look at value you have to consider innovation, quality and diversity. It’s really understanding the needs of your business, the individual needs of your stakeholders, and making sure you’re meeting that need. If you consistently meet or exceed those needs, and deliver value based on their terms and definitions, the business is going to want to keep engaging procurement and supply chain.”

 

Diverse skillsets

When it comes to the procurement function of at this time, partaking the proper professionals means a dedication to range, and Spinks has numerous commitments to selling the position of girls in procurement. “The reality is that there is still a gender gap,” she says. “I would encourage more women to get into this space, to educate themselves and to be vocal about the value they can add to organisations. Women really do have a different perspective on things like negotiation and relationship building. Generally, we are more empathetic and tuned in with others, we’re good listeners, and we’re great at multitasking – these are skills that are highly valued when looking at a supply chain or procurement role.”  

The Global Council, says Spinks, offers mentorship which is very important to girls wishing to make their mark in the procurement house. “They can see other women that have been successful in climbing the corporate ladder, taking on more senior roles. We’re also going to provide a forum and database to allow members to utilise best practices from other women – and men, in the spirit of diversity and inclusion!” she laughs. “It’s not just a women’s group. We’re open and both welcome and encourage anyone who is passionate about advancing women in supply chain and procurement to join us.”

A key difficulty, Spinks feels, is that girls are usually not perceived as ‘powerful’ sufficient to tackle main procurement roles involving excessive degree negotiations. “It’s really up to women to own their space, be confident in their skills and not let their gender get in the way of them being able to really excel in what they do,” she concludes. “Within procurement and beyond, we are starting to see more employee resource groups and I think those are really effective within organisations so women have a place to go, a platform, and an opportunity to network or gain a mentor.”

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