The best procurement professionals are jacks and jacquelines of all trades. They can analyze, negotiate and manage relationships as well as anyone on your employee roster. They possess the innate ability to ask the right questions, and propose the "what if" scenarios that are often overlooked. One aspect of business where many companies miss the opportunity to capitalize on these skills is new product development. Elite procurement teams are uniquely patched in to the supply market and have mastery of materials -- the very materials that will serve as the building blocks for your company's new offerings. As Procurement Leaders explain in Procurement's Role in Product Development: Asking Essential Questions, getting your purchasing department involved in new product creation as early as possible will save time and money and ultimately lead to a superior product. Their 360 degree understanding of Total Cost of Ownership and lead time sensitivity can pull the plug on faulty materials decisions before they even happen. Starting the conversation with procurement at the table will create the synergy and zero fat leanness needed for your next innovation to take the industry by storm.