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Earlier in the summer, procurement outsourcing and consultancy company Optimum Procurement held a roundtable discussion that considered the issue of value and whether we are on the brink of seeing the function deliver this, particularly in the areas of innovation, risk and sustainability.
The pressure is on purchasing functions after delivering increasingly tough savings targets through some of the most challenging trading conditions in living memory. Business leaders have seen these achievements and want more, more innovation, less risk, a deeper understanding of the things they buy and they want all of this sustainably.
Those procurement chiefs sat round the table widely agreed that these were the areas that the function could indeed offer more value.
On complexity the view was that purchasing has moved beyond its traditional role of simply facilitating transactions between the business and supplier, the function now offers a greater understanding of things like Total Cost of Ownership as well as demand and value management.
On risk, innovation and sustainability, most agreed that these were indeed areas of focus for them in terms of value delivery, but added that more needed to be done with suppliers, particularly small and medium sized enterprises to find this.
But the biggest obstacle to the success of this, which saw lots of nods in agreement from CPOs was finding available talent with the right skills.
No longer can a buyer be a geek of old, they have to be quicker and smarter than ever and that means procurement is competing not only against other businesses but also other functions, even those in their own company.
There is no doubt that procurement can deliver more value and knows where it will do so, but to get there it’s going to have to get pretty good at recruitment and quickly.
Optimum Procurement are a procurement outsourcing and consulting company. To find out more about them click here.