Bam. Pop. Boom. Kapow. Shazam. Zaaaaaap!
In 1995, employees at Marvel Comics invented National Superhero Day (April 28th) to give fans an opportunity to commemorate their favorite comic book superheroes. It struck a chord and it’s become the norm to see people dressed up in capes and masks, ready to attend a range of superhero parties and conventions.
These days, the definition of a superhero has grown to encompass everyday heroes who walk among us – first responders, essential workers, volunteers, and others who work to make our communities better.
Personally, I’d like to use today to honor the super-achievements of our sourcing heroes, the people who work tirelessly to protect and better our organizations.
Procurement’s most extraordinary superpowers
Saving the world
In the Marvel and DC Universes where superheroes exist, the human race repeatedly needs protection from villains such as Thanos, Magneto, the Joker and Venom. While we might not need saving from this kind of threat, the real-life horrors we face are no less harrowing. For example:
- It’s estimated that over 40 million people worldwide are affected by modern slavery.
- More than one million species are at risk of extinction as a result of climate change.
- Since humans began cutting down forests, 46% of trees have been felled, and in the last 50 years, 17% of the Amazonian rainforest has been destroyed.
Today, it’s heartening to see that businesses are increasingly committing to sustainability initiatives (sustainable investments from businesses around the world have reached over $30 trillion, an increase of 68% since 2014). Procurement professionals are in the unique and privileged position to be able to drive these changes by re-evaluating their supply chains, improving transparency, and ensuring ethical and sustainable procurement is at the heart of everything they do.
Super-strength in numbers
The Avengers sees Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, The Hulk and Ronin join forces to take on the might of Thor's evil brother, Loki.
Like the avengers, procurement professionals have the super ability to band together via a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) to unlock their collective buying power to access unprecedented savings on products and services. Not only does this approach reduce costs for procurement professionals, but it also saves heaps of time in reduced paperwork and contracting. Plus, it offers unique opportunities for networking and collaborating cross-company.
Spider-Man’s “spider-sense” gives him a supernatural awareness of his surroundings that helps him detect danger before it happens. Procurement professionals don’t necessarily experience a tingling sensation before a major supply chain disruption, but their risk-mitigation strategies are nearly as impressive.
By planning ahead for all eventualities, be it political and economic changes, product shortages, or the impact of a global pandemic on the supply chain, they can limit the impact of a disruptive event and ensure the business continues to operate smoothly.
The X-Men’s mutant abilities are often described by their leader (Professor X) as the next stage in human evolution.
I’m yet to meet a procurement professional who can shoot lasers from their eyes or regenerate their own body tissue, but I am amazed at how much the profession has evolved over the years. There was once a time when procurement was no more than a back-office function. Today, they’re a crucial part of any businesses, driving innovation, sustainability initiatives, top and bottom-line growth, and (finally) earning the function a seat at the decision-making table.
The Incredibles’ Elastigirl and The Fantastic Four’s Mr Fantastic both possess superhuman flexibility and extraordinary reflexes, making them unstoppable in a fight.
Procurement professionals today are adept at responding fast to changing business demands, managing global supply chains and juggling competing priorities. Long-term business planning is now seen as less important than having the ability to adapt to change and rapidly adjust course whenever necessary. Agile procurement teams perform better in negotiations because they prioritize relationships and collaboration, work in incremental steps, and focus on streamlining processes wherever possible.
Use the power
In the film Spiderman, Peter Parker is reminded that “with great power comes great responsibility." Like Spiderman, today’s sourcing heroes must leverage their power to drive positive and lasting change within their organization.
Watch this short video to see how you can harness the power of group purchasing to flex those skills that make you a great sourcing hero!