By Ronald Hedley

In late summer, as the northern hemisphere commenced tilting away from the direct rays of the sun, Barry Byrne, Head of Global Marketing and Retail Procurement at Adidas, shared his sanguine vision of marketing procurement’s luminous future. His quintessential belief is that people have an innate capability to be great and that procurement’s future is bright.

The following compilation of Byrne’s thoughts (in italics) captures his message:

The Capability to Be a Family

Treating your team like family, engaging emotionally isn’t the wrong thing to do; it’s the human thing to do. People are people. We have many differences, but, at the end of the day, we all want to be recognized, to be a part of something bigger, to drive change, and to grow and develop. (Excerpt taken from Byrne’s article “Make Your Team Your Family”)

The Capability to Be Diverse

I firmly believe in the importance of diversity, particularly when it comes to creating a winning culture. It takes diversity to see the world from many different angles. Diversity is critical.

The time’s right to be more progressive, to actively promote female leadership within our industry. I know that diverse teams are healthier, happier places to work. They drive an equal share of competitiveness and collaboration. Teams working together deliver great personal and business outcomes. (Excerpt taken from Byrne’s article “Diversity–The New Procurement 2.0–My Experience”)

The Capability to Inspire

Empower them! I hire people who are stronger than I am in their particular area of marketing expertise. I support them to drive change. I believe it’s a natural human condition to want to change things, improve, and become stronger. I also believe that it’s important to have fun. Life’s too short to not enjoy what you do.

The Capability to Think Outside the Box

It takes courage to hire marketing people into procurement functions.

The Capability for Growth

Marketing needs a different type of procurement, now more than ever. The focus is growth. Growth drives sales and volume. Marketing needs growth to maximize their investment. Price is important but return on investment is where you get the real value required to grow.

We need to break down the silos that exist between procurement and marketing and work together to collaborate and increase ROI.

The Capability to Transition

Marketing Procurement needs to transition into the marketing organization. I believe in KPI’s transitioning from cost out to value in. A major barrier to this capability is that procurement is all too often focused on strong procurement capability, but the reality is that the function requires strong commercial marketing capability.

I believe a marketing person can learn procurement in-job.

The Capability of Marketing Excellence Teams

The best marketing procurement teams will evolve and become Marketing Excellence Teams, focusing on process and working to maximize value. It is important that we manage the demand side of our organization from an end-to-end perspective.

It is important that we understand consumer trends and about selling our products online and in retail stores. This transition has already commenced at some leading FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) organizations.

As the earth spins on its axis and the sun inevitably sets in the West, Byrne’s optimistic, perspicacious words, like the last rays on the horizon, linger with us: Thankfully, today we are on a new journey. We are building a strong marketing procurement team, one with great marketing and procurement skills, a team that can bring real marketing insights and solutions, frameworks and structures to improve the return on our marketing investment.

We are building a partnership with our marketing stakeholders, a sustainable partnership that creates the fuel for reinvestment behind our brands. (Excerpt taken from Byrne’s article “Creating a Winning Marketing Procurement Function”)

Price is important, but return on investment is where you get the real value required to grow.