To be able to see where you’re headed, you’ve got to look back at where you’ve been.
I just looked back at my December 2019 blog post and I was spot on, but for all the wrong reasons. I predicted that we would continue to elevate the role of strategic sourcing, broader adoption of technology, and a focus on upskilling sourcing and procurement teams.
I did not predict that a global pandemic would make the world talk about “supply chains,” albeit with a focus on toilet paper, Clorox wipes and a shortage of personal protective equipment. People came to realize that strategic sourcing professionals were the heroes who protected their sources of supply or quickly adapted to secure new sources.
While the pandemic continues to rule our lives in one way or another, we still see shortages on components for home gym equipment, bicycles and even casters for home office chairs. So, while some supply chains still have issues, many industries are experiencing a boom year and outpacing sales over any year in the past.
Looking back at the news of this year, many of us vaguely remember the Australian bushfires, and I distinctly remember racing go karts when news broke that Kobe Bryant died. I know some people were distracted by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walking away from the royal life and Parasite swept the Oscars. This was all immediately non-news and forgotten quickly when the pandemic became a reality. (Personally, I am glad of one “trend” that did not last through the pandemic, which was padded shoulders and puffy sleeves.)
It is hard to believe 2021 is at our doorstep, and while the immediate future is uncertain, the mid-to long-range outlook is virtually unknown. What we thought would be a ‘two-week’ work-from-home in March, has turned into a full-blown pandemic, and with it, the uncertainty surrounding it. Now, with a new wave of COVID-19 outbreaks breathing down our necks, tough times are here again.
As procurement professionals, we are, by nature, resilient. The toughest of times takes the strongest leadership and most innovative strategies. The pandemic and the consequences of it provided a proving ground for the often-overlooked sourcing and procurement team. Over the past year, sourcing and procurement became the lynchpin for many organizations’ survival, securing critical business and PPE-related goods and services to keep businesses afloat and employees protected. Throughout, procurement professionals were working tirelessly to create innovative cost savings and expense reduction opportunities when other departments went right to cutting staff and payroll.
At a time when the needs of the business are buoyed through critical sourcing and procurement activities, there is, perhaps, no more important function to a business.
Procurement Myth Versus Reality
Unfortunately, not everybody understands that. Many business stakeholders still think of sourcing and procurement as tactical purchasing and contract administrators, or bottlenecks that create delays in the buying process and upset suppliers. In reality, sourcing and procurement is really about negotiating critical multi-million-dollar contracts and finding the right supply chain partners to mitigate the significant risk in today’s market. Critical, not just in savings, but in the essential value and impact you have on the business.
After wrapping up the 59th Global Executive Summit, we are excited to bring you even more resources and connect you with a network of people to help you be your best.
Summit Resources On-Demand
Following each Summit, we publish an anthology that provides a snapshot of every Summit presentation and also includes speakers’ contact information if you’d like to follow up with them. The 2020 Global Executive Summit hosted over 40 keynote and breakout sessions.
This is a great resource for an overview of the content to share with your team members who were not able to attend and to demonstrate key takeaways and ROI to your executive team. This is a benefit of membership, so if you’re not a member inquire today!
As we near the end of 2020, one lesson is clear: Sourcing and procurement teams equipped with advanced skills, technologies and best practices not only weathered supply chain disruptions but were able to pivot and innovate.
As we enter 2021, the rehiring wave will focus on procurement professionals with modern and diverse skillsets based on today’s best practices. Understanding the current business landscape will be essential to secure your future.
SIG University is enrolling for programs that start in January and February. The free curriculum guide will provide you with detailed information on all four programs, including strategic sourcing, supplier management, third-party risk management and intelligent process automation. Prefer to go at your own pace? Inquire about the new self-paced option.
This month, we continue with the monthly CPO and Executive Virtual Series, welcome a new round of students into the virtual classroom, and have exciting industry research and webinars to keep you engaged and up to date.
August CPO & Executive Virtual Series
Senior executives are invited to join SIG and Scout RFP, a Workday Company, for an interactive event on August 12 from 1 pm to 3 pm ET. The format is open mic, collaborative and topic will focus on shifting from reactive to proactive as we move into the second half of 2020. The featured speaker is Karen Coker, Head of VMO & Strategic Sourcing at University Federal Credit Union.
To join this event, RSVP on our website. There is a cap on attendance to keep the conversation flowing and to build connections with other buy-side industry executives.
An area that has seen an uptick in hiring amid record unemployment are jobs in sourcing, procurement and supply chain management, but the skill sets required for these positions are now more specialized than they were pre-COVID-19.
With more people working from home, SIG University is offering an additional semester to help sourcing, procurement, risk and supply chain professionals earn an industry certification. Certification programs are a cost-effective alternative to lengthy degree programs, especially in an economic recession.
What’s keeping you up at night? CPOs today are under continued pressure to reduce costs and find new sources of value – and of course, manage risk.
At the same time, CPOs want to become more strategic advisors to the business. We’ve found the perfect opportunity to help you achieve those goals and more.
As a CPO, you probably manage millions of dollars’ worth of spend on services. Think of all the money your company spends on consultancies, IT services providers, marketing agencies, law firms, accounting firms, facilities management companies and more. These services providers operate across the enterprise, perform vital work and deliver enormous value.
You manage the contracts and rates for these services, but beyond that, how much attention do you pay to that spend? Do you know whether these services providers are delivering high-quality work? Do they hit deadlines? Is your business getting good value for money?
Most of us are guilty of under-managing services providers. That’s one of the key findings from a groundbreaking new research study published by SAP Fieldglass in collaboration with Oxford Economics, titled Services Procurement Insights 2019: The Big Reveal.
A CFO-CPO relationship, like any other, is not perfect and is often rooted in a lack of trust and miscommunication, which, at times, makes it seem beyond repair. The CPO promises savings and talks about adding value, but the CFO only sees costs and finds the P&L showing increased spending. This obvious gap between what procurement claims and what finance sees deepens further because the language and terminology used are not aligned. As a result, misunderstanding and communication breakdowns happen.
Before exploring how to make the relationship between procurement and finance work, it is crucial to note how procurement has evolved from having the penny pincher reputation to becoming the heart of supply chain management. Organizations are now starting to see it as a key driver for competitive advantage. With various value-adding superhero functions, it has emerged from being just a cost-cutting function to having its own voice with a newfound organizational influence and corporate visibility. Mastering its potential and knowing its strategic and critical contribution will ensure a competitive advantage in today’s dynamic global business landscape.
Procurement has evolved to become more strategic and collaborative and has moved from an isolated, back-office function to a boardroom partner. While the procurement function must continue to drive hard savings, manage suppliers and mitigate risk, it must also pivot to look for opportunities to deliver future savings and innovation.
“Procurement is at an inflection point,” said Dr. Marcell Vollmer in an interview with SIG CEO Dawn Tiura. “Procurement needs to transform into a value-added function focusing on strategic tasks.” How can procurement teams do this?
For all the great advancements that technology brings, it requires people to manage the technology. Oxford Economics’ survey among procurement executives and practitioners found that the top three investment priorities include new talent recruitment, training/upskilling programs and procurement/supply-chain technology.