The procurement function and those that work within it are evolving. No longer does procurement just ’buy the paper clips’. Yes, it saves money but the function also seeks out and develops new groundbreaking innovations and works to reduce risk in the supply chain among many other things.
This evolving role means that the skills of the buyer, the category manager, the analyst, and most importantly the CPO, have had to change. The CPO now has to have those wider business skills that are important for collaborating with other functions, interacting with senior executives at board level and showcasing the good work that procurement does.
But the function won’t stand still and that means that the CPOs of the future will have to develop a whole range of other skills to meet these changes. But what are those skills?
Speaking to Procurement Leaders on the launch of new initiative called I Am A Procurement Leader, a year-long campaign designed to showcase what it takes to become a leading CPO and the skills needed to succeed, one practising procurement chief and one former CPO picked out those skills that they saw as important.
Bill Dempsey, VP global strategic sourcing at Shire Pharmaceuticals, said: "The ability to influence and sell your own agenda, knowing your audience and being able to adjust to any changes, being passionate, being able to work well with a wide variety of people with different skills and being able to build collaborative relationships with them. I think it is also important to have integrity, an enterprise mindset and to share responsibility throughout your team."
Meanwhile Eva Milko, former senior director of global procurement at Molson Coors and current vice president, product development at Procurement Leaders, said it is all about rolling with the punches that evolution brings.
"For me it is all about being able to operate in a dynamic world in which companies and functions are constantly evolving. All of these moving parts require a skilful influencer and someone extremely focused, accountable and results driven," she said.
"CPOs of the future will also need to expand the view of how they drive value and tie their success to the total shareholder return formula. While the focus will remain on cost, accounts payable and inventory valuations, successful CPOs will have to know how to embed procurement discipline across all areas of spend and development of products.
"There will also be a need for appreciation for global diversity – being able to stop the presses long enough to consider other views and respect for other cultures. Learning from them makes the difference between a good CPO and a great CPO."
Some interesting thoughts from those that have been there and done it all in the function. Are there any skills that you think will be important in the future?
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This article is a piece of independent writing by a member of Procurement Leaders’ content team