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Ahead of the World Procurement Congress this week, Procurement Leaders spoke to event chair Cynthia Dautrich, CPO Kimberly-Clark. With the theme of the Congress being ‘Mapping the future', we asked her what she saw as the key issues for the community and her function as she looked to the year ahead.
Procurement Leaders (PL): Looking broadly, what issues do you see dominating the agenda through 2015?
Cynthia Dautrich (CD): We're facing a state of highly volatile commodities and currencies in our local markets. Therefore, we have to work day-to-day with our partners to minimise the risk and get a sense of the full business impact. We might see commodity tailwinds at the moment, but there's definitely an offsetting effect from significant currency headwinds on the horizon.
Therefore, we have to work closely with real time information and model various scenarios with our business partners to mitigate risks to the profit and loss. There are other ways that risk is a big discussion point: We've seen what an impact a major supply chain disruption can have. We are looking to strike the right balance between global leverage and local sources of supply. Many times, local suppliers will bring access to innovation in ways we had not thought about before.
PL: Thinking about the theme of the World Procurement Congress – Mapping the Future – what do you see as the next horizon that those at the cutting edge will be looking at in the coming months?
CD: I think the next horizon is for companies that are able to use procurement to drive competitive advantage. These companies are asking how procurement can be integrated into the end-to-end value chain to better serve the customer. In our world of fast-moving consumer goods, that means starting with the consumer and then looking across the value chain to make sure we're aligned to deliver value to the consumer. I think we're going to see more blurring of lines as the end-to-end supply chain becomes less of a collection of parts and more a seamless whole.
PL: Can you give an insight into where procurement at Kimberly-Clark is heading in 2015?
CD: We're looking at several key initiatives for 2015. The main focus is our transformation agenda where our aspiration is to help each business win profitably in their respective markets by delivering world-class value and service. In order to be in a position to do that, we needed to prioritise four areas.
The first is business alignment. We want to develop joint measures of success between procurement and our partners in the business and other functions. That means developing a robust and balanced scorecard and asking for feedback on a quarterly basis from all levels of our stakeholders.
Talent is the second focus area and we're continuing our quest to build a deep bench of talented individuals in 43 countries. Talent is always a focus for the business and procurement, but specifically we're targeting 50 critical positions to develop successors and comprehensive development programmes.
The third part is stepping back from where we are and using a global benchmarking exercise to measure our progress toward world-class delivery. Many of our local and regional teams are becoming more mature and we have to look at the way we manage categories on a global, regional and local basis –providing clarity on roles, responsibilities and decision rights.
The fourth focus area is ethics and compliance. Of course, that's never gone away, but we're looking to renew our commitment to these areas and reassess how we put ethics and compliance at the heart of every decision. We will launch a new global policy manual across the function to strengthen our compliance capability.
You can stay on top of all the coverage on the 27th-28th May on the live blog and on Twitter, using #WPC.
This article is an extract from a larger interview. Procurement Leaders members can access the full interview here.