Purchasing. Procurement. Supply Management. Materials Management. Sourcing. Supply Chain Management. Acquisition Services. Spend Management. Enterprise Spend Management.
This constant renaming has become senseless.
Driven equally by software providers and consultants seeking to differentiate themselves and practitioners who somehow believe that a new name will confuse their superiors into thinking that they are more "cutting edge," this renaming is actually hurting the profession of intelligently exchanging your organization's money for the right product or service from the right source who performs flawlessly.
C-level executives have a lot on their plates. They oversee purchasing, accounting, operations, and dozens of other functions. They don't want to feel that they don't understand something that they are responsible for.
Plus, they don't have time to try to figure out what it is that you do. They want easy-to-digest messages in a short time so that they can address their many challenging responsibilities.
Using jargon does not give them what they really want.
So when they meet with their director of purchasing and are suckerpunched with jargon, they aren't thinking that you are a superhero. They are thinking that you don't have a clue how to communicate.
Have you ever had someone act like you have inferior intelligence compared to theirs? How did you feel about that person? OK, keep your four-letter words to yourself. But do you REALLY want your CEO to feel that way about you?
Purchasing can involve more than it did in the '70's. That's OK. You don't have to change the name of the function. Accountants don't do it.
Part of our responsibility as purchasers is to get more respect for the profession as a whole. Calling purchasing "spend management" just because you are now using analytical tools to identify continuous improvement opportunities doesn't get more respect for the profession. It makes people (including important types like CEO's and internal customers) confused as to what profession we are in or if there even is a profession at all.
Charles Dominick, C.P.M., SPSM
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.