Episode 6: The Original Disruptor

By Katherine McCleery | August 31, 2020

In this episode of The Sourcing Hero, we welcome Joanna Martinez, a 30-year veteran in the procurement industry. She is a former CPO, a speaker and coach, and one of the smartest women in procurement that I’ve met.

In this episode, she draws from her wealth of knowledge to share how procurement can gain a seat at the table with top suppliers and leverage strategic relationships to innovate and benefit the business.

Listening Guide

[01:22] What is a Sourcing Hero? Joanna defines a Sourcing Hero in 2020 as someone who dropped everything and found ways to keep their company going during the pandemic.

[04:02] Creative problem-solving. Organizations that typically aren’t aligned have come together to share information and technology during the pandemic.

[07:14] Seizing the day. Hear exciting examples of ways procurement leveraged supplier brainpower to offer something new.

[11:35] A seat at the table. Strategic relationships bring power to accomplish more and gain that coveted seat at the table for procurement.

[15:23] The magic of a mentor. Who you spend time with can shape who you become.

[22:49] Digital disruption. Joanna has put together an educational series on the four aspects of digitization that you won’t want to miss. 


The Sourcing Hero of 2020. 

A new kind of Sourcing Hero has emerged during the pandemic. Joanna tips her hat to those who dropped everything, including their current projects and plans, to roll up their sleeves and find ways to keep their company going during these difficult times. They had to get creative and find ways to get needed supplies during a tremendous increase in demand. Overall, she defines a Sourcing Hero as someone who seizes the day and the opportunities at hand. It can be very easy to fixate on your own goals and objectives, but a Sourcing Hero takes the time to sync those goals and objectives to the business.

Coming together during the pandemic.

It has been exciting to see organizations that were previously not aligned or even competitors, come together to share information, know-how, and technology during the pandemic. She mentions six states that came together to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses regarding the supply chain and determine the best way to optimize it. 

Using supplier brainpower to seize the day.

The most exciting times in Joanna’s career have been when procurement leveraged their supplier brainpower, R&D, and funds to offer something to customers that the company didn’t have before. She shared an example of an alcoholic beverage business that offered a citrus vodka product. In their commercial, they showed a bottle being twisted and lemons and limes popping out. Customers started asking for the twisted bottle, but there wasn’t one. The bottle had been a marketing image used to describe the product. In response to the demand, procurement went to every glass manufacturer that they could find to figure out a way to produce a bottle that appeared to be twisted. It was a huge success.

The power of strategic relationships.

Leaders in procurement often experience suppliers coming in to fluff their egos to win business. Joanna points out that the tables should be turned. In every leadership role she’s had, she prioritized pitching her company to suppliers instead of the other way around. The end result was becoming a customer of choice. By raising the profile of your company, executives get to know you and the impact your business makes, and you build a strategic relationship.

Everyone needs a mentor.

Joanna has found that people who grew up around family members who were executives or business owners and were exposed to success throughout their life aren’t intimidated by people in positions of power. But for people like herself, who had never met an executive until they began a career, it can be challenging or intimidating to converse with someone in the C-suite. She advises young professionals to find someone smart and kind, and seek out a mentor relationship.

Learn about digital disruption.

Joanna’s most recent project has been putting together a learning series on the four aspects of digitization called The World of Digital Disruption. If you’re wondering how to develop a digital strategy, she has five modules to teach you how. She explains blockchain, artificial intelligence, robotics process automation, and cloud computing. The final lesson teaches how to put all of those together. 


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