3 min read

Strengthening partnerships with procurement stakeholders



These days, procurement leaders must be focused on ensuring that they provide clear communication with stakeholders during the procurement process from beginning to end. This multi-faceted process requires collaboration between multiple teams and can pose risks, especially when organizations are still working with outdated tools, software, or manual processes.


This article will explore several proactive ways organizations can strengthen partnerships with procurement stakeholders, starting from wherever they are. But first, this article will examine why doing so should be a priority for procurement today.


Why Strong Stakeholder Relationships Matter Most

No matter what industry you operate within, it’s widely known that establishing and maintaining strong relationships with stakeholders is key to sustainable success. And this recipe for success has one crucial directive: the process must be smooth and, ideally, near seamless in order to earn a high level of relations and maintain unshakable strength and stability between an organization and the stakeholders.


The importance of the stakeholder relationship within procurement is even more critical, as its foundation is dependent on a service-based model, where establishing and nurturing connections and networking well is essential for long-term partnerships to prevail. Amid shakeups and other unavoidable outside issues arise, these connections must remain strong, as losing an important connection at the wrong time can be catastrophic.


But to nurture connections and network with panache, building trust is the cornerstone that keeps it all together. Procurement professionals must show stakeholders why they should trust, be in partnership with, and, most importantly, invest in them for the long haul.


As stated earlier, this important process requires patience and proactivity. Cultivating this integral relationship between procurement and stakeholders requires hard work and intentional action steps, which does not happen overnight. But most things worthwhile are not instant occurrences. Fortunately, this article is here to explore a few ways you can get started strengthening those stakeholder relationships today.


So much depends on being visible; showing the stakeholders their input is essential—and that you know the importance this relationship carries – and, in essence, that they have a seat at the table. Brian Zachary France, an American businessman and the former CEO and chairman of NASCAR, explained this in his statement: All of your stakeholders have to have the right seat at the table, and they all have to be successful. It's hard to do, but you have to keep your eye on developing a meaningful relationship, where it is beneficial for them. Then you work backwards from there.”


It All Starts with Developing a Deeper Understanding

Once the key stakeholders have been identified, the next step will be to fully immerse a procurement team in understanding precisely what those key stakeholders want. Attempting to show those stakeholders the value that a procurement team can bring to an organization before knowing what they are looking for is guesswork, when an organized and structured plan bespoke to the stakeholder’s unique needs is far more effective when trying to build that trust and rapport.


Establishing an onsite presence

The impact of establishing an onsite presence is highly underestimated. It is an excellent starting step that is not so much needed for micro-managerial purposes as it is for creating opportunities for those above-mentioned, critical long-term rapport-building opportunities. Onsite visits can also help to get a better picture of stakeholders’ mindsets and priorities—information that can be critical regarding which areas are suggested for cost-cutting measures, environmental targets to aim for, etc.


This connects directly to the next proactive step, which would be engaging with stakeholders. By using all the information gleaned from any research conducted, stakeholders can be shown that their unique needs, obstacles, and ultimate goals are fully understood and accounted for. Developing this constant, engaging rapport with stakeholders helps strengthen your relationship and ensure its long-term success.


While engaging with stakeholders, it is critical that bespoke communication is used according to the unique and individual needs and wants that have been discovered. Doing this allows the opportunity to address their pain points and initiates the promotion of more – and greater – opportunities in the future to collaborate and grow together.


Another way to show stakeholders the value that your procurement team adds to an organization is by adjusting communication strategies based upon which stakeholder is being spoken to. When revealing and discussing benefits being brought to the table for the stakeholders, such as improved service levels, fewer efforts, and time efficiency, maintaining and building those relationships is notably smoother.


Keep It Up: The Power of Nurturing

Far too many procurement professionals fall into the pitfall of expending great effort to establish a strong rapport with stakeholders, only to lose them due to a lack of follow-up and sustained investment. It is possible, though, to get focused on the initial goal of establishing a stakeholder partnership only to move on to the next goal without solidifying that relationship with our investment and enthusiasm. Stakeholders expect a presence every step of the way, rather than someone who initially seems very enthusiastic to work with them only to become distant once they have signed on as partners.


Workday: An Easier Way

It’s great to know that constant engagement is essential, but with how busy everyone is, how is it possible to have time to engage with every stakeholder regularly?


It can seem daunting, leaving us to wonder how we will manage it all.


The good news is that there is an easier way, and more convenient; improved management is precisely where the solution lies. Workday Strategic Sourcing can help you manage all the essentials needed to keep your shareholders happy by offering you everything you need to stay informed -- at your fingertips.


Here is your invitation to avail yourself of a platform that allows business users to engage and align with one another across the enterprise via self-service technology. A collaborative, cloud-based solution that provides greater visibility throughout the entire sourcing and supplier engagement process, and more, may be the secret ingredient you never knew you needed until now.


Learn more about Workday, schedule a quick demo, and get started today.

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