You've been there right ... in a meeting, time for the mandatory introductions, and the chair says "now from Procurement we have ..."
... so you shake your head (not visibly) and dutifully introduce yourself, thinking
"They still have no idea!"
So lets get a few things straight. Sourcing isn't Procurement. Sourcing ultimately involves Procurement, but other than that, it's quite different. And while we're on the subject, what's with 'Category Management?' Really??
... to our thinking, 'Category Management' is just an unnecessary classification - sure - we work in categories, be it IT, Marketing, Stationary, Travel ... whatever, but it's the Sourcing label that defines the function.
Well then, if it is different, what is Sourcing ?
Sourcing, fundamentally is a discipline (much like, and in fact premised on, Project Management) - it has methodology, it has process, it has discipline, and it has rigour (for example, CIPSA). Not that Procurement doesn't - but Procurement ultimately follows the framework that Sourcing puts in place. Rather than straight 'buying' a good Sourcing practitioner will firstly work closely with the business to ensure there is an understanding (and proper framing and presentation) of requirements, development of a Market Strategy (who to approach, and how it should be constructed - RFI, RFP, RQT ...) , all backed up by a practice of relevant and credible assessment and evaluation (and that means no less than an objective, defensible process qualified by accurate data and irrefutable artefacts), followed by the subsequent qualification of supply (being full and complete due-diligence), with expert negotiation and agreement of (favourable!) contractual terms, plus induction of this new supply (and if you're a regulated institution, don't forget your obligations here - your license could be at stake).
So where is Procurement in all of this? Procurement then steps in to make sure the ongoing acquisition of contracted products or services occurs within the framework of the Sourcing arrangements that have been put in place, tracking the metrics, monitoring the costs, measuring delivery - keeping the Supplier to their commitments.
But let's hear from the practitioners out there - all you Sourcing and Procurement people doing the job day in / day out - where would you classify your role, what differentiates your function, how might you describe what you do?
We're keen to hear your view - share your thoughts ...