A panel debate at the Procurement Leaders Forum in Vienna today, delved into some of the more crucial issues procurement leaders are having to deal with today. Titled Orchestrating change: Strategies to maximise the potential of procurement, the session focused on three key areas - capturing supplier innovation, generating revenue and preparing for the future.
Procurement, as a function, is in the enviable position of being almost central to an organisation. It has direct links to all business functions as well as the supply base, and as a result, is in a good position to influence a large portion of corporate activity.
As a writer who covers procurement, I like to occasionally get outside the function and find out what others in business who depend on procurement are reading about and worrying about. It’s a good way to look at a business the way your stakeholders do, and I recommend it to everyone. Recently, I was reading about the concerns of chief information officers (CIOs), professionals whom procurement deals with regularly, and who are not always procurement’s biggest fans. I wanted to learn what is currently topmost on their minds, and what their aspirations are. That’s when I saw a pitch that CIOs could easily qualify as chief innovation officers.
Arriving at the Grand Hotel, Stockholm, last week for the latest Procurement Leaders roundtable was an interesting experience. A red carpet was rolled out as we arrived and the hotel's foyer was conspicuous by the number of smart-looking Chinese businessmen trying to look inconspicuous.
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.
Yes, tomorrow is the deadline for fiing taxes with the Infernal (ooops, make that Internal) Revenue Service and its daughter agencies in the individual states. The normal date is 15 April, but since that day falls on a weekend this year and since the 16th is a holiday in some parts of the country, the 17th is the due date in 2012.
Every CPO talks about the importance of paying attention to supply chain risks of many kinds. In fact, a KPMG study released last fall reported that nearly a third of companies feel that their biggest business risks come from their supply chain. Most respondents were worried about information-technology risks and lack of innovation from suppliers. Those certainly are legitimate concerns. But, there is another concern that should be on the minds of CPOs, one that is underneath the surface of supplier relationships. It's the fact that some suppliers may harbor ill feelings about the way you treat them, but are reluctant to make a fuss for fear of losing business. That is a risk, indeed, because it can lead to poor quality service, a reluctance to offer innovative suggestions for improvements of all kinds, and, ultimately, the exit of a key supplier.
ATTRACT. With that acronym, Joseph Sandor, professor of supply management at Michigan State University and chairman of the Procurement Leaders Forum in Chicago, summarized the major points of the first three presentations of the day today. The Forum - Accelerating procurement's performance to increase shareholder value - is being held in Chicago at the historic Union League Club.
A long time ago, in an office in the City of London, some of the most powerful bankers in the UK put their weight behind a set of processes that could provide the lubrication upon which an economic revival might be stimulated.
If there is any CPO out there who doesn’t believe that fostering innovation is an important activity for procurement, please raise your hand. Seeing no hands in the air (of course, I’m all alone writing on a laptop!), I can safely assume that innovation is an accepted responsibility of procurement. In fact, most CPOs probably feel as Rio Tinto CPO Scott Singer does. In a recent conversation, he told me, “If you don’t believe innovation is your responsibility, you’re limiting yourself.”
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