As I write this, delegates at the Procurement Leaders Forum, Singapore, are gathered in groups to discuss some of the main issues facing procurement today; from outsourcing and talent management to supplier relationships and performance management.
We're thirty days into the second quarter of the calendar year, and it seems that many of the predictions for the health of the US economy for 2012 were right. Despite some bumps, the economy continues to grow. But the growth is painfully slow. And so, observers can choose between viewing the glass as half empty or half full. How should CPOs view the glass? As opaque. They should reflect instead on how to improve and leverage their supplier relationships. That’s a strategy that will improve their competitive position no matter what the glass looks like.
Any procurement executive interested in where the function is headed - and what executive isn't interested in that? - must read deputy editor Steve Hall's cover story in the current issue of Procurement Leaders. In the article, Steve asks whether there will be a need for a CPO in the future.
Every CPO would vouch for the importance of getting on their CEO's agenda and TD Bank CPO Caroline Booth gave those attending the Procurement Leaders Forum, Chicago yesterday four important tips for accomplishing just that.
Another week passes, and yet more stories about procurement coming to the rescue of struggling companies. Of course, it's not quite as dramatic as this, but news that Kingfisher and Anglo American both held up procurement as a key component of its current or future strategy bodes well for the procurement teams in those two organisations.
I had dinner last night with the guys from Proxima. Nothing particularly newsworthy in that, granted, but the topic of discussion certainly provided food for thought - the branding of procurement and how to gain the attention of key stakeholders.
If you were to ask your average procurement professional to name a company that should be held up in lights in terms of supply-chain excellence, few would likely mention Boeing. After all, the failings of it’s Dreamliner 787 project is now a chapter in every business book - a case study about the inherent risks of supply chain, inventory management and product assembly.
At a recent CPO event in London, I posed the question of what was the biggest challenge being faced by the attendees. The responses contained a mix of the usual suspects – cost reduction, risk mitigation, etc. However, only one challenge raised had the whole group enthusiastically nodding in agreement: finding talent. While recruiting and managing talent is always a challenge, the fact that it was unanimously highlighted was telling, especially during a time of economic malaise and uncertainty.
It’s well known that procurement faces a critical challenge in maintaining it’s talent pipeline, a challenge that is only magnified in the Asian markets. Our Masterclass yesterday focused to a large extent on this, and you can read how Credit Suisse’s Donna Trowbridge is tackling the issue here. Today, however, it was the turn of Kevin Brown, the global CPO of Dell who, himself, is based in Singapore.
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