Can we source it? Yes we can
It’s always seemed such an impossibly boring word for such a fascinating area of our business. Procurement – the art of finding, agreeing terms and acquiring goods, services or works from an external source.
Procurement or as it’s often paraphrased in our organisation, intelligent sourcing, is something we excel at. We’ve been doing it for over 23 years so it’s a good thing really but to the untrained eye it can seem much simpler than it really is.
The process typically starts with a phone call or question ‘Can you find / produce / make X?’ but the research that can go into finding the perfect product or item to fulfil that brief can take an account manager on an extraordinary journey.
Within reason we can source anything but the skill is in balancing a myriad of other components to ensure that stringent quality standards are met and ethical practices are adhered to. There’s also budget and timelines to add into the mix so an astute account manager will always be weighing up all of these variables every time they approach a project.
Our team is trained to the very highest level to understand the core principles of procurement and our internal systems are geared up to support that. We take a continuous learning approach to sourcing and instil in every team member the need to share their insights and experiences of a wide range of suppliers with their co-workers. We’ve created an internal database – a sophisticated library of contacts and companies by sector, by material, product type and so on so that even the most junior member of the team has a starting point for their desk research.
We attend a wide repertoire of exhibitions and shows both at home and abroad, constantly looking for new technology and ideas. Social media has been instrumental in discovering current and up-and-coming trends and crazes to capitalise on.
We monitor and evaluate our procurement activities and survey our clients to constantly track how we’re performing against a defined set of criteria. It helps us identify opportunities for growth and improvement and to see where and how we’re adding value.
So next time you’re looking for 375,000 eco-friendly, paper cosmetic bags that can be washed and ironed and won’t tear – remember this. Yes we can – oh, and with personalisation too!