Webinar Notes: SIG Special Report Webinar: Executive Roundtable Findings
This week’s featured webinar was hosted by Sourcing Interests Group and was a special offering based on what they learned this fall by hosting a series of executive roundtables. This week’s ‘Special Report Webinar’ gave four round table facilitators an opportunity to share what they heard CPOs discussing on a number of current topics including talent retention, sourcing pressure points, risk and sustainability. I encourage you to read the highlights below and to view the event on demand on SIG’s site, as well as to read my own editorializing at the end of this post.
Simon Woodcock, Xchanging
Collaboration will take the place of negotiation as procurement looks to fully leverage the capabilities of the supply chain. Building relationships with suppliers and further integrating networks will move us away from a focus on component cost and towards outcome based compensation models. Be sure to question and restate the true purpose of procurement in the organization, adjusting the model and goals of the group as needed.
John Evans, Denali Group
The items on the forward-looking CPO’s agenda include supplier relationship management, reassessing skills requirements and finding new ways to add value for the business. From a talent management standpoint, many CPOs are starting to embrace the skills traditionally found in sales or business development professionals. This strengthens the relationship building capabilities of the organization but introduces challenges around compensation levels and models.
Colleen Tiner, Beeline
In order to build reputations, respect and recognition within the organization, many procurement teams have found that the best approach is to do a favor – managing “The Big Ugly” as she called it. The Big Ugly is any project or problem facing the organization that procurement can address, in many cases because no other group wants to make the attempt. The effort to influence business units is most effective when played as a long term strategy: “relentless pressure, gently applied.” Her take on the talent challenge required creativity and flexibility as professionals are moved in and out of the organization. Look for skills sets in unexpected places and be open to moving team members to other functions in the organization.
My own read on the roundtable findings…
When I think about the observations of each facilitator, the point that is clear to me is that procurement is changing. This is not a new idea by any means. Outsourcing of the function is gaining increased acceptance across industries and companies. While some CPOs still hold significance within their organization, many others find their positions downgraded or merged into the responsibilities of others. Procurement ACTIVITY is alive and well, and will be as long as companies remain in business.
But… as tactical purchasing work is outsourced, the use of automation becomes more widespread, skill sets in procurement become more broad, and organizations prepare to handle the increased turnover of Millenial employees, the future of the procurement DEPARTMENT is coming into question. Many of the discussions that took place at the roundtables seem to indicate that procurement is looking to evolve for defensive reasons rather than to increase our influence from a position of strength.