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B2B Procurement from a Millennial's Perspective

Recently I came across this article titled, Bridging the Generational Gap of B2B Procurement, and felt that the article was spot on. As a procurement professional who falls right in the middle of the millennial timeline, I could relate to the author’s take on the importance of team consensus in the procurement process. I’ve found that Millennials and Gen X’ers prefer to make group decisions, to alleviate the personal risk associated with being THE decision-maker. While previous generations may have viewed a consensus approach as redundant, progressive companies are seeing the value in aligning stakeholders from the beginning. The team consensus approach creates fewer issues downstream during implementation and execution.

Additionally, the article talks about how data is a key factor in the Millennials’ decision-making process. Our generation needs the supporting information, and we expect it to be available fast.  After all, we are all connected to mobile devices that can give us instant information at the touch of a screen.  To have good, quality data immediately available is very valuable and goes a long way in decision making.  I tend to believe that a company “has it together” when they get back to me with accurate, concise responses.

The article talks about how Millennials want to interact directly with vendors at the beginning of the sales process, how face-to-face communication is important in the research process, but that the group tends to value convenience above all else once it’s time to purchase. If there is a product that is working successfully for other companies and the facts for why it works well are outlined, that testimonial carries much more weight in the research process than something new and untested. There’s much less risk in this approach. If a friend or trusted colleague recommends a product, the chances are much better that it will be considered, but there’s still no guarantee. We rely on facts and data, but peer recommendations make it much easier to take the plunge.

During the research phase, face-to-face communication really goes a long way--something as simple as a client or supplier visit shows the value in the relationship. In this way, going to trade shows and visiting suppliers is how business is getting done for our generation.  It’s an added expense, but the headway made as a result will pay dividends. But once it’s time to purchase, convenience is huge. We should be able to get a product quickly, and we don’t need the burden of talking it over with the supplier more. There is efficiency in being able to just open an app and make a few clicks to send product on its way.  And unlike some other generations, Millennials feel that communicating via text and chat apps are perfectly acceptable to further develop the relationship. 

The article sums it up nicely. To keep up with Millennials, the supply chain must really embrace technology. You can read the full article here: http://www.pymnts.com/in-depth/2015/bridging-the-generational-gap-of-b2b...

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