“Cost reduction is still a top priority. But we believe many procurement organizations have reached the upper limit of cost reductions possible in categories they are actively sourcing today . . . It also calls for skills that are outside procurement’s traditional areas of expertise.” – Chris Sawchuk, The Hackett Group
What makes the just released Hackett report interesting is not so much the revelations that it provides regarding the coming changes to our profession. It is instead the fact that as one of the old guard analyst firms – the organization was founded in 1991 – they have recognized the present day realities of an industry in transition.
In making reference to the fact that cost reduction/avoidance is no longer the top priority, and acknowledging that skill sets outside of procurement’s traditional areas of expertise must be pursued, Hackett may have finally delivered one of the knock out punches to the old thinking that contributed to the devaluation of the profession.
In this context, and even though this may not be recognized as a critical industry moment, it very well may be if we had greater details regarding the demographics relating to the study’s participants. More specifically the profile of the 150 executives who provided the actual feedback upon which the findings were based. This of course would be the most interesting data to review in that it would demonstrate either a change in thinking of long time professionals or a shift based on the emergence of younger members of the industry moving up the corporate hierarchy. Or to put it another way, the source of the answers is in many ways more important than the answers themselves.
Hopefully Hackett will decide to share this information so that we can determine if we are in the midst of a true evolutionary renaissance of our profession, or a generational revolution.
Check out my remote feed keynote from 2011 on The Changing Face of Procurement for additional insight on how we arrived at this present point in time, as well as where the industry is headed.