Skills for tomorrows procurement leaders:

Dave HenshallProcess

BusinessmenThe procurement profession is still in a transitory phase. There are glimpses of the future but still too much deadwood from the past which will need to be chopped before we can say the traditional procurement professional is dead.

Consultants have played a key role in lifting procurement to its current lofty peak, so much so I became one myself after leading change in procurement for more than 20 years. The consultants and academics have articulated procurement in a way it’s typical practitioners could not achieve, and have devised much of which is now accepted best practice.

As always the Leaders pull up the average performance of the Laggards in the industry and slowly but surely the number of high performing organisations increases. As more and more companies join the upper quartile performers, they all become masters of the best practice tool box. However, this does not rid us of the dinosaurs which requires evolution of a different kind to become tomorrow’s procurement professional – entrepreneurship.

Over the next ten years procurement leaders will need to develop a more entrepreneurial procurement team focused on maximising the opportunities and balancing risk in external markets. This will require a more agile strategically focused procurement organisation:

1.    Cost optimisation not just spend management
2.    Collaboration with customers and suppliers across extended networks to drive innovation and growth

3.    Balancing business risk with potential benefits.

The role of CPO is highly complex, in my opinion currently one of the most difficult roles in a corporation. To be successful they will certainly need to be Brave and be the rare individual who possesses the following characteristics:

1.    Entrepreneur
2.    Logical thinker
3.    Strong attention to details
4.    Thought leader
5.    Self-believer
6.    Opportunistic, always looking for leverage
7.    Extrovert
8.    Resilient and adaptive
9.    Empowered
10.    In-control but not controlling

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