Procurement as a ‘Worldly’ Profession: What are your news habits?

Procurement as a ‘Worldly’ Profession: What are your news habits?

In May I covered the first chapter of Xchanging’s 2015 Global Procurement Study. (You can read my notes here). The primary take aways were that capacity is more of a constraint than capabilities, KPIs are very diverse, and that practitioners may be getting the wrong idea about the field from media coverage that steers them one way when they need to take another.

The new chapter: External Threats Plaguing Procurement (available for download here after a brief registration) looks into global risk factors. The report couldn’t have been more timely, given how much coverage the Greek banking crisis has been getting.

While the list of risk factors – which includes fraud, geopolitical instability, natural disasters, global laws and regulations, and oil prices – doesn’t contain any surprises, the quotes from study participants make each risk very real.

Procurement is a worldly profession – today. No longer can we focus exclusively on our own corner of the world or country, and let all other news pass us by. We need to be reading the news – both industry news and general news – as many times the events that end up creating risk and disruption will come from far away, removed topics. No longer can we hear about a disruption and then go read the news to learn more. We should be actively seeking news, staying on top of world events on a daily basis.

It is also important that we be proactive about the news because it allows us to maintain a positive mindset. Risk can't be thought of as negative - or positive for that matter. It is what what we make of it. We should not have the expectation that changing conditions and disruptions are to be avoided. Today's supply chain climate requires us to be navigators that expect uncertainty, not activity directors praying for good weather. Besides, well handled uncertainty creates job security for those willing to take it on.

I'm a self proclaimed news junkie - I read at least one local and one national paper cover to cover every day. I listen to the news on the tv or radio all day.  I try to read as many of the news and journal article emails that cross my desk as I can. I can't tell you how often it pays off because I am already 'informed enough' about a story that comes up in conversation. My suggestion is to start by reading this report and then follow up by subscribing to a national newspaper or news service if you don’t already. A desire to be informed - and the curiosity to pursue intriguing stories - should be a new skills requirement for strategic procurement.

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