I was fortunate to be invited to speak at Ardent Partners CPO Rising 2016 conference at the Harvard Club in Boston, where an exclusive group of Chief Purchasing Officers gathered to share best practice, network with colleagues and understand the issues that will likely impact them as we see major shifts in our profession resulting from the digital disruption, changing workforce and continued globalization. Over the day and a half, I consistently heard these five key issues that keep CPOs up at night:
- The lack of skills needed to meet future needs
- The need to continually adjust processes to meet the constant changing business needs
- The need to align the supply chain with the organization’s strategy
- Risk management
- Managing mergers and acquisitions
I don’t see these issues being resolved easily and it is more evident than ever that the CPO must continue to adapt to change and develop the capability to reengineer business process as the environment changes with mergers, acquisitions, divestiture and business strategies impact the organization, process, systems and people.
CPO Rising 2016 was topped off with Andrew Bartolini inducting Tim Cook, Hal Good, and Gregg Brandyberry into the CPO Rising Hall of Fame. Congratulations to Andrew and his team on creating such an impactful event.
Can you help your CPO sleep better at night?
There is little doubt that our customers and CEOs are demanding more value from our suppliers and supply chains. Andrew Bartolini, Managing Partner and Chief Research Officer at Ardent Partners, has found “In 2016, Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) will seek to extract and deliver more value from their departments than ever before as they attempt to stretch the limits of their organizations while also maximizing the relationships they have developed with suppliers and internal stakeholders.” It’s an understatement to say that this is a difficult challenge.
CPOs are now expected to design and build a network of suppliers that align to the company’s business objectives, provide innovation, speed to market, agility, flexibility and complexity reduction. To do this, suppliers must be open to integrate business systems with automated source to pay capability, make investments and meet robust performance standards. This is a very different relationship than the traditional model of leveraging suppliers for price. Savvy leaders know that suppliers can only impact margins for the short term. They need healthy margins to reinvest, innovate and compete. The real opportunity is to impact the hidden costs often overlooked by inefficiency, productivity, waste, which can be addressed through the supply chain integration.
Clearly, the days of managing just at the tier 1 level are over and the requirement to architect and design a lean, competitive, well-financed network of suppliers must become a core competency of CPOs today. This requires a relational skillset, strong influencing skills, trust, full transparency and the development of a strong, well-defined and coordinated supplier relationship management program.
The CPO Rising 2016 summit March 29-30 provides an excellent opportunity to network and learn more about how CPOs can deliver the value expectations they face. I hope to see you there.
Are you up to the challenge?