When you get right down to it, innovation is just solving a business need in an entirely new way. In order to do that, however, you and your team have to really understand the business and its customers. The most strategic suppliers – usually a select few – play an important role in the process of innovation, which creates an opportunity for procurement to guide their technical value potential to the point where it delivers operational results.
While I was at ProcureCon Indirect East, I interviewed Lawrence Kane, Senior Leader of Strategic Sourcing Functional Excellence and First Time Quality for a Fortune 50 company. In addition to NOT being the Zodiac Killer, he has spent over three decades innovating in various ways and keeping his perspective and deliverables in alignment with enterprise needs.
You may also remember Lawrence from his last Art of Procurement podcast (Episode 164, published in December 2017), where we discussed the active power of empathy – both in supplier negotiations and in internal relationship management.
In this conversation, Lawrence discusses:
- The critical role of governance and contracts (believe it or not) in innovation.
- The importance of making sure everyone in an organization – including the newest, lowest paid members – are motivated to contribute to brand value, especially when they have external contact.
- The tenuous balance between savings and innovation, and how procurement needs to invest in one without sacrificing the other.