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What purchasing professionals can learn from good business journalists

What? "Supply management professionals need to be like good business journalists". Who says?

Well my dear thought leaders, I am making this statement considering all those millennial, baby boomers, and other generation purchasing professionals out there - industrial buyers, consultants, business process management professionals and others. What do you think? Before you answer as "Yea" or "Nay" or "Don't know", glance through the top three conjectures I have put down to draw such a parallel.

#1. Good business journalists are entrepreneurial and business savvy. They understand business changes and often get the content out in advance to visualize their ramifications. Do you see a confluence here? Good purchasing professionals must understand business (revenue generation) changes and lead stakeholders/business to help them create significant commercial opportunities. Now recall how many times you hear stakeholder/business folks commenting "purchasing folks are usually good in commercial stuff but often we struggle to find the value they can bring to us technically and to lead our business themselves and through their suppliers"? If this is often heard, then I guess now you may be able to pin point "what's actually lacking that needs development at a competency level?

#2.  Good business journalists are renaissance men and women with multi-layered skills. The structured thinking, problem solving, good writing, ethics, investigation, and verification skills they possess drive the apparent impact they make to the external world. What do you think? What % of supply professionals in your network fit such a bill? How many of them can create compelling business cases, robust category strategies and solve business problems using quantitative techniques? I can guess what you are thinking.

#3. Good business journalists are agile experimenters. They will use multimedia channels, deploy emerging as well as leverage existing technologies to the hilt to make each story look different as well as impact worthy. Now compare this with the extent of experimentation that happens as a routine in supply management functions. How many of them know and can put best use of such channels and technologies? What do you find? I bet, the reality will look appalling.

So what should you do if your journalist akin skills need development? Simple. Get help. Consult your talent development team and supply management partners to develop a mentoring program. Get going then. The time to reflect and develop the supply function is now in this smart, connected and daily changing world. I hand over these thoughts to you all now for discussion and comments!!


The fourth driver you may want to think of is "leveraging existing connects and development of new sources" (information source for Journalists, good supply base for procurement) for an early advantage over others.

Great thoughts. These conjectures apply across all cross functional roles and are real value drivers for one's professional development and differentiation.

Interesting insights into drawing parallels, I think that most fundamentals are common to most professions, and we can recognise many of our blind spots by looking into other professions, giving us a way of getting an outside perspectives on our 'own'.

Very innovative and interesting angle and thought process. Never thought this way. Good one CK!

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