Today, procurement is of more strategic importance to a business than it has ever been. It is at the centre of a global supply chain and from that has developed a function that is filled with people from different backgrounds and different cultures. That brings with it many advantages, but also many challenges, so the question for all CPOs is how they make that diversity benefit them.
Ronald Reagan, the former US president once said that the nine most terrifying words in the English language were "I’m from the government and I’m here to help". Today those words are run a close second by “I’m from human resources and I’m here to organise a diversity workshop”, according to an article in The Economist.
Diversity should not be just a push for political correctness. Instead it can and should be used as a tool to help stimulate innovation, and subsequently, provide an organisation with competitive advantages.
As, people tend to say, ’no one got fired for buying IBM’ and as so so one is going to get fired for following the example set by them. Back in 1995 the company launched a diversity task-force initiative to expand its international talent pool and gain insight into a range of markets and develop resilience to changing world economy.
A recurring remark in Procurement Leaders’ Guide to Negotiation highlighted the fact that many wanted to recruit new blood into the function, especially those with different employment backgrounds. The need for effective procurement activities requires a team with a blend of operational, financial and marketing skills, emotional intelligence as well as a core knowledge of supply chain and procurement to ensure success.
Jenn Clark, senior contract negotiator at BMO Financial Group, comes from a law background and said she believes her training designed to help her simplify and clarify points has been as important as her legal expertise during negotiations. She said that individual skills are important considerations when making-up a negotiation team. Ute Rajathurai, vice president global corporate services procurement at Bayer also comes from a legal background said that "not everybody, can do everything". Instead, Bayer develop individual strengths and build a team of complementary individuals.