Characteristics of a Procurement Intrapreneur
Discover the characteristics of a procurement intrapreneur, and explore why intrapreneurship and group purchasing go so well together.
By Hugo Britt | March 14, 2023
Since Una launched nearly 10 years ago, we’ve had conversations with every type of procurement professional. We’ve chatted with experienced sourcing veterans, junior employees just finding their feet, CPOs wielding enormous buying power at Fortune 500 companies, and trail-blazers bravely carving out greenfield procurement functions.
In this time, we can confidently say we’ve come across every personality type in procurement; from number-crunchers to risk-takers, lone-rangers to collaborators, people who are afraid of change to those who embrace it.
But there’s one type of sourcing hero that has proven time and time again to be an excellent match for Una and the value group purchasing has to offer: the procurement intrapreneur.
Several key characteristics make the procurement intrapreneur a driving force for influencing positive change and innovation within an organization.
What is a procurement intrapreneur?
An intrapreneur is someone who works within an organization to drive innovation and positive change from within. A valuable part of any team, intrapreneurs look beyond the day-to-day grind to search out truly game-changing opportunities.
As Investopedia explains, “intrapreneurs may not face the outsized risks or reap the personal rewards of an entrepreneur, but they have access to the resources and capabilities of an established company.”
Let’s examine the characteristics of a procurement intrapreneur, and explore why intrapreneurship and group purchasing complement each other so well.
Intrapreneurs are natural leaders who are able to inspire and motivate others to achieve a common goal. They are able to influence and persuade others to adopt their ideas and vision.
In episode 97 of The Sourcing Hero podcast, Dylan McCabe, Co-Founder of Limitless Roofing, talks about how intrapreneurs need to build a coalition of supporters when implementing a new idea.
“We are stronger together. No one has ever climbed Everest alone – you need a team. You need to grow your [idea] in community with others if you really want to have a strong result,” he says.
Coincidentally, this sentiment is found at the very core of Una as our company name is Latin for “together.”
Intrapreneurs are persistent and able to persevere through setbacks and challenges. They are resilient and able to learn from failure, adapting and improving their approach as needed.
“Any time they encounter a new venture or a new solution, people are immediately skeptical,” says Dylan. Overcoming this skepticism and proving the value of a new idea takes persistence and a whole lot of energy, especially in organizations with a change-resistant culture.
An intrapreneur is able to come up with new and innovative ideas to improve processes, products, or services within their organization.
Innovation can come from within the procurement team by developing better ways of working, or when a supplier comes up with innovative ideas ranging from game-changing new technology to incremental improvements that drive down costs. However, it takes an intrapreneurial mindset to be open to new ideas from suppliers, implement, and scale them within the organization.
Intrapreneurs are resourceful and able to identify and leverage resources that are available to them, whether it be people, technology, or funding.
In the case of under-resourced procurement teams (and let’s face it; every organization is currently struggling with a talent shortage), intrapreneurs recognize the potential for a GPO to work as an extension of the team, finding cost savings and helping with category management, tail spend management, developing supplier relationships, running cost analyses, mitigating supply chain risks, and more.
Intrapreneurs are willing to challenge the status quo. They are comfortable with uncertainty and willing to take calculated risks to achieve their goals. Above all, intrapreneurs are happy to embrace change and are not scared of new ideas.
Did you know that partnering with a GPO not only saves money, but reduces risk? At Una, we help provide a predictable and reliable supply of the external resources needed for functionality. We can help our members identify risks, establish a strategy, implement and monitor risk mitigation initiatives, then analyze and optimize that plan to drive continuous improvement.
Highly motivated to drive change within their organization, intrapreneurs are proactive in identifying problems and finding solutions.
For example, many procurement professionals hesitate to tackle the messy, massive, and often invisible challenge of tail spend – the thousands of unmanaged low-value, high-volume transactions that take place every day. For many, the thought of managing tail spend is enough to create a headache, predominantly because the task will first require a massive effort in gathering, sorting, and analyzing spend data. But the procurement intrapreneurs we’ve talked to have seized the opportunity to partner with us and bring this monster under control.
Intrapreneurs are adaptable and able to pivot quickly when faced with unexpected obstacles or changes – so long as they have access to the right tools.
The biggest disruption of the 21st century – Covid – rapidly proved the value of group purchasing when Una members were able to leverage their buying power to source much-needed, high-demand PPE and other vital equipment.
Intrapreneurs have a strategic mindset and are able to see the big picture. They are able to identify long-term goals and develop plans to achieve them.
Joining a GPO isn’t just about finding turn-key solutions that unlock immediate cost savings. GPOs like Una work within your overall procurement strategy to help you reach your strategic goals, faster.
“We are stronger together. No one has ever climbed Everest alone. You need a team. You need to grow your [idea] in community with others if you really want to have a strong result."
- Dylan McCabe, Co-founder, Limitless Roofing
Calling all procurement intrapreneurs
At Una, we know from experience that intrapreneurship and group purchasing are a match made in heaven. Why? Because we’re a savings multiplier, helping motivated sourcing heroes scale up their game-changing ideas to heights that they would never be able to reach on their own.
If you see yourself as a procurement intrapreneur, we’d love to hear from you! Let’s chat.
Listen to the full episode of The Sourcing Hero podcast featuring Dylan McCabe here: