Are You Running a Talent Factory? You Should Be!


It’s not possible to produce much of anything if you don’t have the raw material needed for production and for any shared service function – and therefore sourcing/supply chain as well- the raw material is talent.  Without the right talent and the organizational competence that derives from that, it is not even logical to expect any sourcing/supply chain group to produce any value.  Talent therefore must be managed and optimized as the core asset for every sourcing/supply chain organization.  It’s no surprise that every single year over the last 2-3 decades – that’s right decades – Talent has been in the top 3 challenges for chief procurement/supply chain officers in any of the many top challenges surveys conducted annually.  This is why we have decided to focus on this one domain in our Category Management webinar series and not the normal two.  Just a reminder that we use procurement/sourcing and supply chain interchangeably 🙂 .

Here are some of the characteristics we look for when we do client assessments based on our maturity model.

  • Procurement organization is considered to be a competitive weapon – Because of the talent in the group, significant value is being generated for all stakeholders (internal, customers, suppliers). Sales includes procurement differentiation in their pitches and includes them in sales calls.  Suppliers have better relationships with them than their other customers.
  • Resources are viewed as strong internal consultants & change agentsBeing a functional SME is assumed but the perception of all stakeholders has shifted to view them as much more strategic resources. This also leads to lower levels of resistance from the stakeholders.
  • Procurement is the organization that is going to move your career forward It is a highly desirable organization and one that people actively try and get in to. No longer is it the place where careers stagnate and people without a home are resettled.
  • Procurement is a talent factory – more on this below
  • Procurement professionals are called upon to lead other groups or strategic initiatives within the company – this is the ultimate recognition of the prowess of the talent and executives actively seek to engage them in their non-procurement critical initiatives. This also leads to the leader gaining significant political power and stature and ultimately the keys to the C-Suite.

When the procurement organization is operating at this level on the talent domain, it also functions as a talent factory for the rest of the organization.  High potential people are placed into the organization every year and every year about the same number of people who have been there for 3-4 years rotate out.  We have seen this happen at some clients and this was the model we operated when we were executives in industry.  Our people were highly desirable because the rest of the company know the competencies we had developed, the experiences that they had and that they could provide significant value regardless of the function that they were in.  The specific functional competencies needed in the new functions were far less significant than the strategic competencies they had developed in our sourcing/supply chain functions.  We had become the talent factory for the rest of the organization.

During our webinar, you will hear the term Competency Based Talent Management which is a Next Practice that we introduced to our client base many years ago – way before it become trendy.  CBTM is the approach you must adopt if you want to become a talent factory and continue to be a relevant strategic organization.  If indeed talent and competency are our core assets, then it behooves us treat them as such and optimize them consistently.  If training budgets are the first to go, then you can guess that your organization is not really serious about developing talent and competency.  I urge you to join us for an in-depth discussion on this very critical topic.


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