Michael van Keulen is Chief Procurement Officer at Coupa. He formerly served as the Global Procurement Director at lululemon athletica inc. (NASDAQ: LULU), a $3B+ designer, distributor, and retailer of technical athletic apparel. Previously Michael served as the Procurement Director at VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC), a $12B+ lifestyle apparel and footwear company. Michael is known for leading procurement transformations that generate significant shareholder value.
You have a passion for sourcing talent and developing high-performing teams. How is your approach different than others?
I’m not claiming my approach is different or unique. When hiring, I look for attitude first and procurement experience second. I always say procurement is a seven-step process that can be taught to anyone. What is difficult (if not impossible) to teach someone is to be “naturally curious” and “passionate” about the profession. Procurement is about being bold, going outside the comfort zone and challenging the status quo. This mindset requires people who have high EQ, are agile and not afraid to make mistakes. These traits are even more important when going through a transformation from tactical/operational to strategic.
Adopting digital transformation (DX) leads to significant growth for organizations when compared to their lagging peers, according to McKinsey and Company research. McKinsey suggests that there are five approaches to plan for and incorporate into any digital transformation (DX) project: ensuring lean process design, digitizing the customer experience, selective process outsourcing, incorporating analytics to aid with decision-making and using intelligent automation for non-core human tasks.
These five approaches make sense; however, there are many speed bumps along the way that will amplify the risks of any DX undertaking. The reality is that few organizations are ready to attempt such an endeavor. The obstacles are enormous. Mapping and documenting processes, culture and change management, access to data science skills, access to the data itself, and managing many moving parts of an implementation are just a few of the complex tasks that an organization must tackle.
As a result, these capability problems have led to a change of thinking both on the part of enterprises and by the organizations that provide services to them. It is critical to examine the key challenges along with potential strategies to resolve these problems.
Greg Council, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management
As we look into the future of contingent workforce management, and our vision of what a Managed Services Provider (MSP) solution should deliver, we must acknowledge that many of today’s MSP programs are broken and failing to deliver on their original promise. These legacy programs have become ineffective, pushing managers and talent into a broken process and creating endless frustration. To the point where, after having squeezed every last penny from the staffing supply chain, they are no longer delivering the best talent to the client.
We call today’s market reality “MSP v1.0” and in many programs it is represented by a command and control mentality where the MSP actively prevents staffing suppliers from speaking to the business managers who have created requisitions for new workers, enforces unrealistic pricing restrictions, and delivers an anemic value proposition through a burdensome and time-consuming process.
It is no wonder that many hiring managers are frustrated with their organization’s contingent workforce program, and as a result, many legacy MSP program stakeholders discover huge amounts of rogue spend taking place outside of their programs. We’ve even seen recent examples where procurement and HR stakeholders have become so disenchanted with their MSP program providers that they are actually considering taking the draconian step of shifting their programs in-house.
Bruce is a distinguished thought leader and global innovator, with over three decades’ experience within the human capital and workforce management industry. In his current role, Bruce is involved in new services and product idea generation, sales presentations, internal and external evangelism, digital and social media strategies, and lead generation. He gives us an inside look into his role, how he acts as a key partner to the business and his outlook on the future of work.
Your CPO keynote presentation at the Denver CPO Meet and Eat is about leveraging spend management within services categories--why is this an important topic?
There is a lot of talk about spend analytics, data and how that is the future of success. Our position is that spend analytics is a wonderful tool and capability but we’ve yet to see the capability evolve beyond goods-level detail. As procurement teams are continuing to try to find ways to better address services spend and deliver value to their organizations, we feel that there is tremendous opportunity by thinking differently about this space.