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Mar 29, 2024

Winning over stakeholders: achieving strategic alignment in Procurement


Procurement strategies fail when they are not aligned with the overall strategy of a company. The root cause is usually a misalignment of objectives between Procurement and its stakeholders. It can happen on all levels of Procurement, from the department to the category strategy level, in supplier management, and negotiations. Achieving alignment is therefore key to becoming the strategic business partner of choice.

In the webinar “Winning over stakeholders: Achieving strategic business alignment in Procurement”, Michael DeWitt, VP Indirect Spend Management & Center of Excellence at Walmart International, Sam de Frates, VP Procurement EMEAA at Mars, and Drasko Jelavic, CEO of Cirtuo, discussed with Fabian Lampe, Founder of Advance Procurement, the importance of engaging stakeholders, aligning Procurement with their objectives, and translating the objectives into actionable category, supplier, and negotiation strategies.

Trust is earned through tangible results, not given by policies

In modern procurement, building trust and winning over stakeholders is essential for success. In 2023, Drasko Jelavic introduced the Strategy Alignment Matrix as a practical tool for aligning business objectives with Procurement strategies. The webinar opened with a short recap of the underlying observations and insights to frame the discussion with industry experts into their insights and personal experiences on this often underserved aspect of procurement.

Michael DeWitt, a seasoned professional in the field, emphasized the importance of delivering tangible results as a precursor of trust. “You have to add value,” he emphasized. “If you’re not adding value, then don’t use us because I wouldn’t use us either.”

Drasko Jelavic emphasized the importance of effective communication and storytelling in stakeholder engagement. “Approach them, listen to them, and resolve their issues adequately,” he suggested. “Develop the right story, explain the situation, complication, resolution.”

Sam de Frates echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the power of listening and aligning procurement efforts with the broader business objectives. “Listen before you do anything,” he advised. “Link your efforts to their goals and will feel instantly joined up.”

Fabian Lampe, reflecting on the conversation, highlighted the first step of making it about the stakeholders rather than Procurement. “Listen to them,” he suggested. “Listen. Just listen. Listen before you do anything.”

Aligning with business stakeholders requires a unified mindset in Procurement

The discussion also touched on the challenge of bridging the divide between global and local procurement teams. Stakeholder requirements across HQ, markets, and business units might differ. With Procurement serving their direct stakeholders, internal alignment is just as difficult as aligning with business stakeholders.

Michael DeWitt acknowledged the complexity of this issue, emphasizing the need for clear decision rights and organizational design principles to minimize overlap and maximize efficiency. Because only if Procurement is joint at the hip across borders, can they deliver a seamless experience towards their stakeholders that is focused on overarching business objectives..

In conclusion, the key takeaway from these experts is clear: prioritize stakeholders, listen to their needs, and align procurement efforts with their goals. By focusing on delivering value and building trust, procurement professionals can elevate their role as strategic partners within their organizations.

Watch the full recording for a lighthearted conversation packed with insights and explore Cirtuo’s perspective on business requirements and achieving strategic alignment.

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