Discussions on the first day of the 2018 Procurement Leaders Americas Congress centred on the benefits of collaboration, agility and equality. As procurement teams continue to search for value in a disrupted environment, looking to collaborate with other stakeholders, being flexible and embracing a diverse team could prepare functions better for the future.
Roland Simon, VP global procurement and corporate sustainability at Avery Dennison, summarised the thoughts of the room when he told delegates how his function fosters innovation. “Innovation is harvested, not manufactured. You need to create a culture of mutual sharing, trust and continuous improvement for it to develop,” he said. Simon explained he had established dedicated innovation processes in the past, only for them to fail. Communicating these processes and the value they offer is key to their success, he said.
In the face of disruption, flexibility enables procurement teams to adapt quickly and thrive. Wayne Evans, vice president, head of procurement and global sourcing at DP DHL, explained a two-pronged approach enables his team to prepare for and preempt change. First, he said, the company makes use of automation technologies. Second, the organisation has restructured teams around demand, not categories. This allows procurement executives to allocate staff where they are needed. With disruption only set to continue, this approach could enable functions to stay one step ahead.
Marilyn Loden, the gender equality advocate who coined the term ‘glass ceiling’, encouraged delegates to embrace diversity. She said women were currently poorly represented in most businesses at senior levels of companies should act to change this. Loden said the biggest change a company could make was to emphasise the benefits of diversity internally. Individuals should empower staff, Loden added.