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Few corporate functions have evolved more dramatically than procurement. As recently as the 1970s, it was generally regarded as a clerical, reactive position - a cost center. Today, however, at many companies, the exact opposite is true: Procurement has become a strategic, proactive process that contributes as much as - or more than - other business functions to profitability, corporate growth and competitive advantage. This is especially true of direct procurement, which accounts for the largest portion of a company's spend. But although the strategic nature of procurement has changed completely, its core goals have changed very little. Then, as now, procurement is all about obtaining high-quality goods and services for the lowest possible total cost of ownership.
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