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Special Edition Webinar Coverage - Vision 2020 from Ariba and SIG

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This week brought us an insightful webinar from Ariba and SIG called “Vision 2020”.  Since this was the largest SIG webinar ever (over 800 attendees) many of you may have been there – in fact I hope you were.  It was a fast-paced, exhilarating (and sometimes scary) hour that I am glad I didn’t miss.

The webinar covered just the tip of the findings from Vision 2020 – a collaborative effort between Ariba and a panel of global C-level executives with experience managing $1B in spend each. The full document can be downloaded HERE free  from Ariba’s site. I think we all owe it to ourselves to read it and carry it with us to meetings, and refer back to it until it is tattered and worn!

A couple of quotes from Roy Anderson, VP of Procurement Services at Metasys Technologies really stand out and will set the tone for these notes.  “Procurement is changing” (and the speed of that change is increasing) and “Price is irrelevant".

My initial reaction: “Yikes.”

But I'm a fighter, so I didn't immediately consider a career change. I think there is huge potential for anyone who likes to take on a new challenge (= new opportunities). If growth and challenge aren't your thing, don't worry. It'll all pass you by soon enough.

Tactical procurement is becoming a past step in a progression towards strategic management of services and globalization. Where strategic sourcing and reverse auctions used to be progressive, they are now transactional and are either being outsourced or managed through technology automation.

  • The skill sets now required for long term careers in procurement are:
  • Being able to address C-level people about procurement and its potential impact across the supply base
  • Identifying how your supply base can help you create new top line growth and drive revenue by functioning as your R&D/innovation engine
  • Making use of predictive information – procurement needs to think 18 months+ down the road in order to be considered strategic. Anything shorter term than that is tactical (and therefore can be replaced).

So how do you ‘upskill’ yourself to hold your ground in this wild new world?

  • This is not about taking another negotiations class
  • Drive innovation through your supply base by recognizing the best and brightest among your suppliers and partnering with them
  • Understand each line of business’ 3/5/7 year plans
  • Sharpen your financial skills
  • Leverage any domain expertise you may have. (To me, this was the scariest moment of the webinar. The speakers suggested that in the future, procurement professionals will be from marketing, advertising, engineering, logistics and will partner with a few supply chain experts rather than working their way up the chain within procurement.)

How do we make change come about in the short term – what can we do “tomorrow”?

  • Understand your supply base’s capabilities
  • Work to make sure that changes to the compensation structure incentivize people correctly
  • Any new hires and new training should be assessed against the needs of tomorrow, not today

Kelly is the Managing Editor of Buyers Meeting Point. She has a unique perspective on procurement from her experience on both sides of the negotiation desk. She has led projects involving members of procurement, supplier and purchasing teams. She has practical skills in strategic sourcing program design and management, opportunity assessment, knowledge management, and custom taxonomy design and implementation. She also has direct sourcing experience in a number of product and service categories including: inventory fuel, location-based services, corrugated, and corporate purchasing cards. Kelly has her MBA as well as an MS in Library and Information Science.


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