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Webinar Notes: Looking for Talented Leaders to Take Sourcing & Procurement to the Next Level

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As I mentioned in this week’s PI Window Blog Talk Radio update, I don’t usually feature previous events, but last week’s Gartner event deserves to be an exception. “Looking for Talented Leaders to Take Sourcing & Procurement to the Next Level!” was an informative half hour event that is pertinent to all career supply management professionals. The event and slides are both available on demand on Gartner’s site.


Human PyramidThe event was based on a Gartner study of 452 global organizations in diverse industries based in the U.S., Germany, Switzerland, the U.K., China, Hong Kong, South Korea and India. Two thirds of the participants had global responsibilities covering procurement, strategic sourcing, and supplier relationship management. The focus was on the differences between today’s talent and their goals for 2016.

In another unrelated survey of CEOs, Gartner found that business objectives are driving a shift in CEO strategies to deal with an increase in M&A activity, the impact of governance and accounting, management of cash, and emerging markets. Even with all of these challenges, attracting skilled workers was their second highest priority, ranking below retaining current customers.

Back to the study on procurement and supply management, the participants were asked:

Which of the following are your organization’s top five (5) sourcing and procurement business priorities for the next 12 months?”(see slide 8 for full details)

  1. Increased productivity
  2. Total organizational cost reduction
  3. Unit cost reduction
  4. Improved customer satisfaction
  5. Reduction of inventory

Progression of Supply Chain within the enterprise

Gartner research has shown that as of 2010, 68% of supply chain groups reported to the CEO, up from 30% in 2005. As a result, by 2015 at least 25% of new CEOs will have deep supply chain experience, particularly those in retail and manufacturing. The CPO therefore becomes a magnet for (the right) talent, and the opportunities for those professionals will carry them upward in the organization as the CPO’s role increases. CPOs are tasked with creating value (ROI, market share, COGS) at all touch points within the organization.

From a forward looking perspective, skills will be required to support supplier relationship management, sustainability, change management, complex analysis, and tying the full capabilities of the supply base to the requirements and priorities of customers.

The most effective training and retention programs by region had the following characteristics:

  • U.S./U.K.: mentoring, HR process/programs
  • China/Hong Kong/South Korea: discipline & orchestration
  • All showed formalization through HR and rotation programs

University programs and industry certifications were not highly ranked as factors for training and retention, largely because companies weren't able to articulate their needs from those programs.

I also recommend reviewing:

  • Slide 17 for a breakdown of supply chain skills by level (basic, intermediate, advanced, etc.)
  • Slide 23 for a career progression with estimated timelines

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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