SIG Speaks to Sheena Smith, Managing Director of North America, Spend Matters

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities? 

I just transitioned into a new role as Managing Director of North America. We purposefully chose a nebulous title because every day looks different for me and my role is pretty much a catch-all! Some days I'm head-down on internal company strategy (I still lead our client and commercial teams from behind the scenes), other days I work directly with our clients on anything from technology selection projects to jointly running global CPO surveys.

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement? 

 That it touches EVERYTHING. When I started with Spend Matters 10 years ago, I had no idea that procurement was “a thing.” I wish people thought about how their everyday items from socks to cell phones are made, built, assembled and sourced. I also wish people understood how sophisticated the sourcing and procurement process has the potential to be. It’s so far beyond steak dinners with “key” suppliers and fiddling about with spreadsheets. There's some amazing stuff happening out there with technology and process, and people are thinking bigger to drive it.

In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have? 

 1) Sales – Hear me out. Procurement is a sales team for a lot of reasons: negotiations internally and externally, selling new internal processes, understanding pain points of teams and suppliers...the list is endless. Being able to “sell” an agenda, a tool, a process or an initiative is key.

2) Flexibility – I feel like procurement is in a “changing of the guard” situation right now, where there’s a lot of young talent entering the space. There can be a bit of a clash with the old, established processes. I'd love to see more open discussion amongst senior management teams about what it would look like to try some new things versus clinging to the old just because “that's how it's always been done.”

3) Analytical skills – Robots are not coming for your job. But AI/machine learning/RPA engines still need to be trained by humans. Even if you're not the trainer, procurement teams need to understand the basics around how these things work, why they’re important and when/how to best deploy them.

What does the future of sourcing and procurement look like to you? 

It looks a hell of a lot more fun than it has been previously. And I am very much looking forward to that!

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Sheena Smith, Managing Director of North America, Spend Matters

Sheena is the Managing Director of North America at Spend Matters, starting with the organization in 2010 as their copyeditor. Her career began at Publicis in the West, where she sourced and produced print work for clients like T-Mobile, Hewlett-Packard, and KEXP radio. With over 15 years in advertising, sales, marketing, production, and client management experience, Sheena is hyper-focused on innovative program design and delivering top quality results, especially in the B2B area.