The emotional rollercoaster of procurement

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Understanding your buyers’ journey provides opportunities to drive compliance with the process and guides your employees’ buying decisions.

In his only novel – The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde wrote: “I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”

If only your employees had Dorian’s strength to conquer their emotions in sourcing their day to day needs.

But what have emotions got to do with procurement? The answer is everything!

The procurement journey

Before I go into the actual emotions, have think about the journey your buyers actually go on to source their needs:

  • “Awareness” – understanding you have a “need.”
  • “Research” – deciding how to fulfill that “need,” including the “what” and the “how.”
  • “Consider and buy” – executing on your purchase.
  • “Receive and adopt” – enjoying all the benefits of your purchase

Take, for example, purchasing the family car.

Regular trips to a car mechanic or the birth of a new family member will make you “aware” you need a new car; talking to a car dealer, looking on the internet, and getting advice from friends will help you “research” your next purchase; ordering happens at the dealer – or even online for a lease car – as you “buy” the vehicle; and checking the car over with the dealer, playing with its new bells and whistles, and your first service are all part of the “receive and adopt” (and hopefully not a recall!).

Satisfying customer need

As any marketing person will tell you, the customer journey above shows just how much of an emotional rollercoaster a buyer (your employees) needs to go on to satisfy his or her “need.” While these emotions are different for requesting a replacement valve on your gas pipeline than buying a new car, the principle is the same – how do you make sure emotions are kept in check and it becomes a pleasurable experience?

Just as marketers use emotions to drive buying decisions, in the procurement industry we also use emotions in a similar way. While a simple lack of frustration (good emotion) in the process will go a long way to ensure compliance with the process, using relevant (positive and negative) information to drive social acceptance on a buying decision can also help.

For example, solid reviews on the choice of corporate laptop or ergonomic information on an office chair can help the buyer in his or her research. These opportunities can be anything from an internal product review site, online technical portal for technical parts, research material (of course carefully curated), an online chat service, or even simply improving your internal communication (newsletters). Each of these opportunities can help your end users make the decision you want them to make (or even decide they don’t “need” anything).

For most organizations, customer satisfaction isn’t the main objective of procurement – keeping costs in check is. However, as you better understand the buyers’ journey, you’ll find opportunities to help drive compliance with the process, as well as guiding your employees’ buying decisions.

To find out how Capgemini’s Digital Supply Chain solution can help ride the emotional rollercoaster of procurement, contact: greg.bateup@capgemini.com

Learn more about Capgemini’s Digital Supply Chain  can increase your competitive advantage by strengthening your business drivers and focusing on your end customers.

Read Capgemini Research Institute’s “The Digital Supply Chain’s Missing Link: Focus  report to learn more about how organizations across consumer products, manufacturing, and retail understand the digital initiatives they are adopting, the benefits they are deriving, and the way they are transforming their supply chain.

Greg Bateup  has worked with clients to deliver business transformation and BPO services for almost 30 years. For the last few years, Greg has focused on the digital transformation of the source-to-pay function, and how organizations can not only drive efficiencies in the procurement function, but also drive compliance and savings.

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