What Table? Why Procurement Has To Stop Chasing Ghosts From The Past

Posted on April 2, 2019


I always enjoy getting involved in a good debate, which is why I was happy that Buyers Meeting Point’s Kelly Barner brought me into a discussion regarding an article on LinkedIn; Procurement, seeking respect, may be looking for a seat at the wrong table.

In responding to the post by Rich Weissman, Barner wrote the following:

“I totally agree – and as companies change, so does the structure of the traditional management team. As Jon W. Hansen recently told me in a conversation about this exact topic… there IS no table anymore! The fact that we are still longing for a place there is more of an indication that we are rooted in the past than it is proof that procurement is ready to be elevated.”

Like the proverbial beach ball being lobbed towards a batter in baseball, I could not resist taking a healthy cut at Kelly’s invite regarding the obsessive quest for legitimacy through some fictitious seat at a table – any table.

This swing of the bat manifested itself in the following added commentary:

“Right on the money, Kelly. There is no “wrong table” or “right table.”

I will be talking about this more as part of The Future Of Procurement Panel discussion at the Supply Chain Management Association(SCMA) Annual Conference at the end of May. 

The critical point to remember is that in the emerging digital age the traditional lines that define the different roles within a global enterprise are being redrawn as reflected in my recent interview with Hewlett-Packard Enterprises Canada President Paula Hodgins (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byzuXkjSO4E).

Take the CIO for example; a recent Gartner study estimates that over the next couple of years CMOs will spend more money on IT than CIOs. As you ponder that, think about the fact that 70% percent of all digital initiatives will go through an organization’s supply chain. In short, there is “no table” because we are the table! We need to take ownership of that reality, and stop chasing what is tantamount to ghosts from the past.”

What more is there to say?

In the meantime, here is further information on the SCMA Conference Panel in Montreal, Canada. If you find yourself there at the end of May, look me up?

SCMA 2019 Panel


Posted in: Commentary