A phenomenon is unfolding across corporate America, especially in financial services: the rise of procurement and vendor management functions. Once found only in larger organizations and government entities, these departments are now part of companies of every size. What concerns me is how many companies are getting this important function absolutely wrong.

Companies implement such programs with the best of intentions: manage spending, reduce cost, improve negotiations, strengthen contracting, eliminate fraud and guarantee outcomes. Unfortunately, many programs quickly deteriorate into a robotic process that effectively isolates buyers from sellers and focuses on a checklist instead of desired results. Sound familiar?

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