The One Where We Relate Taylor Swift Lyrics to Procurement

Love it or hate it, lessons and lyrics alike can be related back to the poetic dance that is procurement and Taylor Swift.

By Mackenzie Oakley | May 2, 2024

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Its been nearly a fortnight since Taylor Swift released her newest record-breaking album, The Tortured Poets Department. As you can imagine, like the elder millennial that I am, I have the songs playing on repeat trying to decipher meanings and Googling the words I don’t understand (and trust me, there are plenty).

Not only did her recent anthology debut at the top of the Billboard charts – and every other chart for that matter – she released it in the middle of the highest-grossing world tour of all time, earning over $1 billion by the end of 2023. Her rising popularity continues to outshine the undeserving notoriety and by the time the tour wraps at the end of this year, it’s estimated to bring in over $2.1 billion.

Whether you love, hate, or tolerate it, her musical and lyrical talent is a force to be reckoned with. Colleges have started offering courses that study Swift’s writings alongside Shakespeare. Her business sense and the marketing surrounding every piece of work is something to be studied, as well. Easter eggs, anyone?

Her songs are undoubtedly relatable to the human experience – love, heartache, joy, depression, nostalgia, hope, abandonment – and have the ability to move people until their tears ricochet. But what else can we learn from them? Can her words help us cope in the workplace? Can they be relatable to procurement, in particular?

We I think so.

Procurement and Taylor Swift

You might be thinking this feels like a stretch but go with me on this. One of the most powerful things about Taylor Swift is her ability to write in a way that doesn’t make you think about her. Yes, everyone spends the first few days trying to figure out the paternity of each song or what the metaphors mean. But after listening for a bit, you start to relate the lines to things in your own life, things you have experienced for yourself.

Just like a good movie quote or a pop culture reference everyone knows, a Taylor Swift lyric has the ability to become relatable to our every-day lives. Even if we work in procurement.

…Ready for it? Fair warning, writing this post might have been the most fun I’ve ever had

Whether you're a fan of Taylor Swift or not, there are lessons to be learned from her lyrics and how relatable they can be to those who work in procurement.

"I cry alot but I am so productive."

Starting off with a doozy, no? If this is you, I’m sorry you’re feeling overwhelmed. Procurement is time and time again asked to do more with less. And guess what? Time and time again, Sourcing Heroes crush it. It’s an art, really.

You’ve perfected processes, eliminated bottlenecks, produced cost savings, created value, strengthened supplier relationships, mitigated risk, and catered to stakeholder expectations all while stressin’ and obsessin’ – and that’s no fun.

Now, can I ask you a question?  What if there was a way to have less teardrops on [your] guitar and be a little more productive? Working with a group purchasing organization to help with the things that are weighing you down might be a viable option. Here’s a free resource to help explain how a GPO works as an extension of your procurement team.

"Brand new, full throttle."

Are you the new kid on the block? Looking to make friends fast and impact the organization in the biggest way possible? That’s so high school! Well, not exactly, I suppose. But still, if you’re a fresh hire you’re probably wanting to capitalize on the opportunity and say, ‘everyone look at ME!’ on day one.

You know how to ball but remember to be strategic in what you tackle first. Before you can start cutting costs, you’ll need to find the tools and resources that will help gain visibility into your spend data. Educate your mavericks on the risks their rogue spending is bringing the organization and create clear, concise procedures for them to follow. Call on a GPO partner to help shorten the procurement process and soon you’ll be saving faster than a getaway car.

"Can't not think of all the cost"

The essence of procurement is saving money but solely focusing on costs can create bad blood. When you take the time to look beyond costs, you’ll begin to find opportunities for additional sources of value.

You can rise above it by keeping track of your organization’s goals and priorities. They’ll change over time but regularly reviewing KPIs and conducting “alignment checks” will help you and your team remain focused on the right things.

Concentrating on supplier relationship management, risk mitigation, sustainability and compliance, innovation, and collaboration are all excellent ways to turn procurement into an epicenter of value creation.

"Reputation precedes me"

Procurement has long been described as unglamorous and unloved. Ouch. That sounds like Taylor Swift’s next hit.

Unfortunately, the function has a big reputation amongst stakeholders at no fault of your own, kid. The perception problem has existed for decades and even with significant transformation and the modernization of practices, it’s proven hard to shake it off.

There’s still work to be done to change the face of procurement. You can make a difference with a delicate balance of effective communication, problem solving, and educating those around you. How you position procurement and tell the story of us is key.

"Old habits die screaming"

We know all too well how hard it is to stop biting our nails. Everyone’s expecting you’d be late to the next event, so you vow to be on time. Tired of living with smoke on [your] clothes? Good luck trying to quit!

The point is, bad – and old – habits are hard to break. This is true in the procurement world, too. Old-school CEOs are set in their ways and refuse to acknowledge that trends change. Employees might be used to things being siloed and have a hard time adopting a new purchasing system or following protocols. Maybe you’ve had an epiphany that what worked at a previous company might not work going forward.

Thankfully, there are certain habits procurement leaders can strive to develop that will help with change and make them effective. Check out this article for more details.

You're a "mastermind"

Seeing as how I could probably go on with this post forever and ever, I’m going to finish what [I] started.

Procurement professionals are a rare breed that continually make a difference for their organizations. In fact, I think it can be argued that no other function is as involved in the business as procurement. Sourcing Heroes have their fair share of secrets related to the intricacies of the organization – without procurement, castles crumble.

The anti-hero would stop at savings. But because you’re so intertwined, you understand long-term value beats short-term savings, every time. You know there’s not a “one-size-fits-all” solution when it comes to strategic procurement so you move the puzzle pieces around and it’s magical.

Are we in the clear yet when it comes to everyone realizing the significant importance of procurement? Not quite, but keep moving forward with that electric touch and the rest of the world will catch up to you.

Checkmate, you can’t lose. Indeed, you’re a mastermind.

It’s nice to have a friend in procurement. Learn how it all hits different when working with a group purchasing organization to save more money, time and effort:

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