Three debates on the future success of the function

Three lessons from the Europe Forum 2017

Procurement Leaders 2017 Europe Forum saw 150 procurement executives descend upon the Beurs van Berlage, the one-time stock exchange in Amsterdam, to discuss and debate the future of the function.


These were the three key discussions:


1. Think differently


The Forum kicked off with renowned behavioural economist Paul Craven explaining how minds can play tricks on people and how to avoid getting caught up by these tricks.


There are several subconscious biases that play a part in negotiations and business relationships, he said. Identifying and understanding these biases could help the function drive out more innovation from the supply base, he explained.


He pointed out three biases. One, the status quo, in which people don’t want to break the mould. Two, the confirmation bias where people don’t want to admit they’ve made a mistake and third, the conformity bias where people go with the consensus even if it’s wrong.


To encourage innovation in the team, Craven said that CPOs should encourage non-conformity and encourage ideas to be spoken about.


2. Storytelling


Procurement Leaders’ research development director Cara Wiggins told delegates that the function needed to be a better at storytelling. She said that procurement tended to focus too much on data and numbers when people actually prefer stories.


It was a thread that Olga Guerous-Roquebert, vice president, commercial, indirects at Mars, picked up on when she took to the stage to talk about how the function needed to better justify its value:


“Tell stories and deliver your successes because everyone wants to be part of success. The more we talk about successes the more it helps with empowerment,” she said.


Eric Duarte, CPO at Belron, agreed saying that the art of storytelling is key to selling the value of the function.


3. The future of category management


“Category management is history – customer centricity is the future,” said Marco Scheurwater, director of procurement at Heat Vattenfall, during a panel discussion with Anil Joshi, global procurement and category transformation management at ITIDA international, Lars Andersson, head of procurement automation and analytics at Maersk and Alison Brown, procurement transformation director at NHS Scotland.


There was however some debate about that statement with Joshi saying that category management wouldn’t fade away because "it has a great future depending on how you put it on the map”.


While automation will replace administrative processes, Andersson insisted that the role of category managers wouldn’t be replaced by robots, at least not just yet.


Despite differences of opinion about the future of category management, many agreed that category management is changing dramatically, and for it to remain relevant, category managers need to be agile and shout louder about their achievements.


Follow day two of Procurement Leaders Europe Forum live


This article is a piece of independent writing by a member of Procurement Leaders’ content team.

Sophie Dyer
Posted by Sophie Dyer

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