SWOT Analysis: A Procurement Best Practice

SWOT Analysis graph

A Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) student rediscovers the benefit of SWOT analysis, a tried and true procurement best practice. In the CSP program, students focus on the hard and soft skills of sourcing, including strategic sourcing and outsourcing methodologies, as well as best practices in negotiations. 

It is common for many procurement professionals to lose sight of the basics and fall into a pattern of just following along with the habits they’ve built through the years. During SIG University’s Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program, I was able to take a step back and evaluate some best practices that seem to have fallen off in my procurement department.

Within my organization, as with many, there is a never-ending sense of urgency when internal stakeholders come to us with sourcing or contracting needs that they would like completed yesterday. By actively embracing SWOT analysis, procurement would be able to better serve its stakeholders. This analysis would provide better oversight of issues as they arise and increase the potential of solving business issues with enhanced results.

SWOT Analysis for Category Leaders

Presently, my organization is shifting to a category-focused model within procurement. With this change, many procurement individuals who previously supported a larger audience within the organization are now moving into category lead roles. A critical piece of this shift for the new category leads would be completing a SWOT analysis on the new category to become more familiar with it and immediately begin supporting internal stakeholders. The SWOT analysis would provide key pieces of information to category leads’ action plan and demonstrate areas of opportunity that they may not have been looking into previously. As a new category lead, the ability to come to an internal stakeholder and show new opportunities that can strengthen their business offering would help make that category lead invaluable to the stakeholder. 

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While this is an example of how a SWOT analysis would be beneficial, it is also important to highlight that a SWOT analysis is not a one-and-done solution. For category leads, it is vital to revisit such analysis regularly. It is also valuable to revisit the SWOT analysis on an annual basis to help plan strategic initiatives for the year with internal stakeholders. However, it can also be just as important to review the SWOT analysis while actively working through large sourcing initiatives to make sure that the action plan is still beneficial for the stakeholder and organization at large. For organizations that are currently utilizing SWOT analysis, this due diligence and follow-through are oftentimes forgotten and where much of the value add comes. 

Revisiting Best Practices

All in all, I find that while organizations may have procurement departments full of strong sourcing professionals, there are best practices not being utilized at all or to their full potential. The CSP program allowed me to revisit many best practices and I am eager to start using them again in my everyday sourcing work. Being able to fully utilize SWOT analysis, I will not only start impacting the sourcing needs of my stakeholders but also work with my co-workers to help them do the same. This helps to exemplify the continuing need to step back from our regular routines and make sure we’re using all the tools available to us as sourcing professionals to support our stakeholders as best we can.

The Certified Sourcing Professional program is a 10-week program that can be completed on-demand so you don’t have to spend critical time away from the office. Get more information on enrolling in this globally recognized certification program to grow your sourcing career!

Sammi Kiesel, Strategic Sourcing Advisor

Sammi Kiesel is a Strategic Sourcing Advisor who partners with her internal stakeholders to optimize sourcing and contracting needs. After working in procurement for over five years, Sammi knows that the key to procurement is that with the ever changing landscape of the industry to keep a grasp of the basics. By integrating new innovations into tried and true best practices, she’s able to deliver beneficial results and savings for both her stakeholders and the organization as a whole through countless sourcing initiatives and contracting negotiations.

Sammi holds a B.S. in Apparel Merchandising, with a minor in Business and Marketing from Indiana University. She is also Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified from Purdue University.