CPOstrategy cover star this month is Kristina Andric, Supplier Manager IT at Tetra Pak and recent CIPS Young Talent winner, who discusses the procurement landscape from her perspective and how Tetra Pak is nurturing young procurement leaders like her… 

This month’s cover star is Kristina Andric, Supplier Manager IT at Tetra Pak and recent CIPS Young Talent winner, who discusses the procurement landscape from her perspective and how Tetra Pak is nurturing young procurement leaders like her… 

As a household name in food processing and packaging, Tetra Pak stands by having a customer-centric, strong, and competent procurement function.

As a result, it’s always working hard to evolve, which includes seeking out new procurement talent wherever possible. This is how Kristina Andric, Supplier Manager IT, became part of the team and kick-started an exciting career. 

Read the latest issue here!

Andric started working at Tetra Pak in 2018 via a trainee programme called Future Talent. The programme lasted two years and gave trainees the opportunity to understand Tetra Pak from multiple perspectives. Andric was rotated throughout different parts of the organisation and across different geographies, the idea being to give young people a holistic view of the company before taking on a permanent role.  

“Embracing change marked my career since the beginning,” she reflects. “My curious nature thrives on the opportunity to engage in diverse experiences and continuous learning. Challenges motivate me and develop my potential, so every change has been to my benefit. I’ve enjoyed it all.” 

Elsewhere, we also have fascinating insights into procurement hot topics such as optimising tail spend with Simfoni and Kearney, amplifying procurement’s influence with Arkestro, while Box looks at The Art Of Procurement As A Change Agent. Plus, we detail 5 ways of tackling procurement’s talent shortage and discuss being prepared for future pandemics…


Timothy Woodcock, Director of Procurement at CordenPharma, discusses the new wave of change following acquisition and amid transformation

We have a bumper issue of fascinating exclusives this month!

Corden Pharma: Powering Change

Timothy Woodcock, Director of Procurement at CordenPharma, discusses the new wave of change following acquisition and amid transformation 

Change is here, get busy. Indeed, some organisations are further along a transformation journey than others.
For CordenPharma, a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation (CDMO) partner, they are right on track. 

CordenPharma supports biotech and pharma innovators of complex modalities in the advancement of their drug development lifecycle. Harnessing the collective expertise of the teams across its globally integrated facility network, CordenPharma provides bespoke outsourcing services spanning the complete supply chain, from early clinical-phase development to commercialisation. Recognised as a key partner to the pharma industry, CordenPharma provides state-of-the-art know-how, an integrated product offering end-to-end capabilities from early-stage development to commercial large-scale manufacturing. 

A closer look 

Timothy Woodcock has been the Director of Procurement at CordenPharma since October 2022 and is based in Basel, Switzerland. He explains that since joining over a year ago, while it was a “good start”, he admits to discovering some surprises after closer inspection. “There was a lot of information to get to grips with at the start and it was spread wide and thin,” he tells us. “But the team is certainly key and they have helped me pull it together through solid collaboration and engagement. Of course, there were a few surprises in the process realm, but that’s what makes this challenge so interesting to me.”

Read the full story here

carbmee: Carbon management for complex supply chains

Prof. Dr. Christian Heinrich, Co-Founder at carbmee, discusses his organisation’s journey to being the trusted solution provider for carbon management.

​​carbmee means carbon excellence for complex supply chains. It is the carbon management solution for automotive, manufacturing, chemical, pharmaceuticals, medtech, hi-tech, logistics, and FMCG industries. Whether to assess emissions holistically throughout the entire company, product or suppliers, carbmee EIS™ platform can create the transparency required for uncovering optimal emissions reduction potential and at the same time, stay compliant with upcoming regulations like CBAM.

carbmee’s journey

Christian Heinrich has been the Co-Founder at the organisation since January 2021. While some executives end up in procurement and supply chain by mistake, for Heinrich he affirms it was “always” the industry for him. As far as he’s concerned, collaboration is a big piece of the puzzle and Heinrich points to his diverse experience in a range of different industries and sectors which have helped him along the way to forming carbmee. 

“This was actually one of the reasons my co-founder Robin Spickers asked me to leverage my supply chain knowledge,” he says. “Robin had expertise in sustainability areas like Product LifeCycle Assessments and I had that in procurement and supply chain. We connected together and created carbmee to have scope 1, 2 and 3 solutions for carbon accounting and carbon reduction, which also combines the lifecycle analysis.”

Read the full story here!

Hemofarm: Strength through glocal procurement

 Zorana Subasic, Director SEERU & PSCoE Cluster Procurement at Hemofarm A.D. reveals how a glocal approach is transforming procurement at the pharmaceutical… 

Zorana Subasic is all about people. She heads up procurement for Hemofarm, the largest Serbian exporter of medicinal products, with a share of more than 70% of the total pharmaceutical. It sells pharmaceutical products on four continents in 34 states and, since 2006, has been part of the multi-national pharmaceutical giant STADA Group. 

Meeting the challenges

Zorana explains that her priority is focusing on people, both within her team and in the wider company, a priority that has been even more important during the last few challenging years and has impacted her leadership style.  ”These are areas that were new for me – managing people in ‘business as usual’ times is completely different to what we’ve been through in the last two or three years. It has affected people, and how it was for me to manage people in difficult times – understanding the challenges around us and making sure that people also understand the challenges.”

Read the full story here!

Elon: Procurement as a strategic partner

Onur Dogay, CPO at Elon Group, reflects on a year of procurement evolution and making the function an indispensable partner to the organisation…

A lot can happen in a year. Just ask Onur Dogay. In late summer 2022 he arrived in Sweden from his native Turkey to take the helm of a complex and evolving procurement environment at Elon Group AB, the Nordic region’s leading voluntary trade chain for home and electronic products. That he joined just a month after a significant merger that cemented the company’s market-leading position was no coincidence. Rather, Dogay was brought on board with a specific mission: use his industry experience and passion for transforming procurement to sustain the company’s market status while spearheading growth in new areas of retail and electronics. 

And he hasn’t slowed down since. In little over 12 months, Dogay has overseen a procurement evolution that includes setting a new data strategy that’s aligned with the broader company vision, shifting procurement’s role to be less transactional and more of a strategic business partner, improving communication and partnerships both internally and externally with suppliers, and overseeing the greater use of data and technology to enhance forecasting and planning capabilities. 

A seasoned procurement professional

A glance at Dogay’s CV to date leaves little surprise at his success. He is a seasoned procurement professional, with more than 20 years’ experience in procurement leadership positions working across internationally dispersed teams in Europe. “My background is particularly strong in retail, consumer electronics, telecom, and IT business units,” he explains, “including at Arcelik, one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, and also for one of the biggest retailers in Europe, MediaMarkt. At the time of the merger in 2022 here at Elon Group, this experience, as well as the good relationships I had with many of the suppliers and brands we work with now, was the perfect match for the company.” 

Read the full story here!

Microsoft: A sustainable supply chain transformation

In the past four years, Microsoft has gained more than 80,000 productivity hours and avoided hundreds of millions in costs. Did you miss that? That’s probably because these massive improvements took place behind the scenes as the technology giant moved to turn SC management into a major force driving efficiencies, enabling growth, and bringing the company closer to its sustainability goals. 

An exciting time

Expect changes and outcomes to continue as Dhaval Desai continues to apply the learnings from the Devices Supply Chain transformation – think Xbox, Surface, VR and PC accessories and cross-industry experiences and another to the fast-growing Cloud supply chain where demand for Azure is surging. As the Principal Group Software Engineering Manager, Desai is part of the Supply Chain Engineering organisation, the global team of architects, managers, and engineers in the US, Europe, and India tasked with developing a platform and capabilities to power supply chains across Microsoft. It’s an exciting time. Desai’s staff has already quadrupled since he joined Microsoft in 2021, and it’s still growing. Within the company, he’s on the cutting edge of technology innovation testing generative AI solutions. “We are actively learning how to improve it and move forward,” he tells us. 

Read the full story here!

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Our exclusive cover story this month centres around Versuni, home to some of the world’s most renowned home appliance brands

Versuni: Procurement excellence to drive growth 

Our exclusive cover story this month centres around Versuni, home to some of the world’s most renowned home appliance brands. Versuni is a company with a rich history, dating back to 1891, albeit under a different name. Philips Domestic Appliances was renamed Versuni after the Netherlands-based giant sold the business to China-based global leading Private Equity company Hillhouse Capital in September 2021. And so began a process of disentanglement as Versuni embarked on its journey to becoming a successful and independent entity with a simple yet clear purpose of turning houses into homes. 

Read the new issue here!

“We refer to ourselves as a 130-year-old company with a scale-up mentality,” explains Hugo Sparidans, Chief Procurement Officer, Versuni. “We combine the legacy we have with Philips with all the goodies here in this new, agile environment where things can happen much faster and with a different mindset fully focused on growth.” 

Versuni is now operating under private equity ownership following its separation from Philips two years ago. “My boss called me and said, ‘So, we’re going to spin off Domestic Appliances. Do you have the interest to lead the transition for Procurement within that spin-off, and then potentially after?’ That was an interesting question for me,” Sparidans explains. “I’d had a great career within Philips working for a successful business, but I was now facing the idea of leaving that behind for a trip into the unknown.” 

Read the full story here!

Mars LATAM: Shaping the world of tomorrow  

Mars Pet Nutrition LATAM is changing the sustainability game within the pet food sector. Gabriel Guzman, VP Procurement LATAM, and Ana Milena Zambrano, Climate & Sustainable Sourcing Head LATAM, explain how…

Gabriel Guzman, VP Procurement LATAM, and Ana Milena Zambrano, Climate & Sustainable Sourcing Head LATAM, are leading a major ongoing evolution within Mars Pet Nutrition LATAM. Guzman has worked in some of the world’s largest organisations over 25 years, spearheading many high-profile projects during this time. Zambrano’s career spans 15 years across consumer goods and supply chains, with sustainability as a core lifelong passion. 

A focus on sustainability and the environment is nothing new for Mars – it’s part of the culture. It’s a business with firm ESG pillars and a clear concept of what sustainability means to the organisation. “We believe the world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today,” says Guzman. “It is the vision at the heart of our Sustainable in a Generation Plan – one where the planet is healthy, people and their pets are thriving, and society is inclusive.”

Read the full story here!

EMCS: A small fish making a big impact 

We sit down with Trevor Tasker, CEO of EMCS, for the second time to discuss partnership, leadership, and the state of the industry 

EMCS Industries is one of the best-kept secrets in its sector. An innovator from day one, EMCS Industries invented the world’s first electrolytic marine growth protection system (MGPS). This set the basic standard for the field, to the extent that everybody else now uses the same or similar technology based on the EMCS Canadian engineered and manufactured antifouling system. Trevor Tasker is the CEO of the company, and he’s not only passionate about what EMCS does, but his rich background in leadership puts him in excellent stead as head of an industry-leading company. 

Tasker’s first job at the age of 16 was as a self-employed wedding DJ. Since then, he has honed his entrepreneurial spirit on an international scale in industries such as financial, large scale digital signage, steel manufacturing, and others. He has experience in both building his own businesses, and being an employee, giving him a good foundation of what it means to both lead and be led. 

“It allows you to get a good mix of what you like, what you don’t like, how you’d like to be treated, and how that shapes the way you treat others as you move through your career,” says Tasker. He’s worked across a variety of industries but the common denominator has been that he’s always either been in a leadership position within a company or running his own company. He’s conducted business all over the world and collected the tools he’s needed to be the best leader he can. 

Read the full story here!

AlphaSense: Making procurement a priority 

Joaquin Rivamonte, Director of Procurement at AlphaSense, talks about how he’s bringing scalability to the organisation, and the benefits of procurement working hand-in-hand with the wider business 

Joaquin Rivamonte has enjoyed a rich and varied career, one which taught him numerous lessons in preparation for his role with market intelligence platform, AlphaSense. He cut his teeth in the financial service sector; he was the Director of Procurement for some medium-sized investment banking companies in San Francisco, helping support Silicon Valley before the businesses he worked for were bought by bigger banks. One was acquired by JP Morgan Chase, where Rivamonte became VP of Procurement. He was then asked to move to New York, just as Silicon Valley was experiencing the dotcom boom.  

Office photos at AlphaSense, 24 Union Square East in New York City.

Rivamonte’s background in building procurement departments from the ground up continued, and eventually, Microsoft took him on. He moved to Seattle to be part of the Microsoft team in 2005, and this was the beginning of his education in how very large procurement departments work. “I did have experience in large groups of people reporting to me already,” Rivamonte says, “but at Microsoft, I had $2-3bn dollars of category responsibility under me. 

“I was responsible for putting together the consulting category, which was almost $1bn, and the outsourcing category of about $1.2bn, plus the web development category and a lot of different IT contracts.” 

Read the full story here!

This month’s cover story features Fiona Adams, Director of Client Value Realization at ProcurementIQ, to hear how the market leader in providing sourcing intelligence is changing the very face of procurement…

It’s a bumper issue this month. Click here to access the latest issue!

And below are just some of this month’s exclusives…

ProcurementIQ: Smart sourcing through people power 

We speak to Fiona Adams, Director of Client Value Realization at ProcurementIQ, to hear how the market leader in providing sourcing intelligence is changing the very face of procurement… 

The industry leader in emboldening procurement practitioners in making intelligent purchases is ProcurementIQ. ProcurementIQ provides its clients with pricing data, supplier intelligence and contract strategies right at their fingertips. Its users are working smarter and more swiftly with trustworthy market intelligence on more than 1,000 categories globally.  

Fiona Adams joined ProcurementIQ in August this year as its Director of Client Value Realization. Out of all the companies vying for her attention, it was ProcurementIQ’s focus on ‘people power’ that attracted her, coupled with her positive experience utilising the platform during her time as a consultant.

Although ProcurementIQ remains on the cutting edge of technology, it is a platform driven by the expertise and passion of its people and this appealed greatly to Adams. “I want to expand my own reach and I’m excited to be problem-solving for corporate America across industries, clients and procurement organizations and teams (internal & external). I know ProcurementIQ can make a difference combined with my approach and experience. Because that passion and that drive, powered by knowledge, is where the real magic happens,” she tells us.  

To read more click here!

ASM Global: Putting people first in change management   

Ama F. Erbynn, Vice President of Strategic Sourcing and Procurement at ASM Global, discusses her mission for driving a people-centric approach to change management in procurement…

Ripping up the carpet and starting again when entering a new organisation isn’t a sure-fire way for success. 

Effective change management takes time and careful planning. It requires evaluating current processes and questioning why things are done in a certain way. Indeed, not everything needs to be changed, especially not for the sake of it, and employees used to operating in a familiar workflow or silo will naturally be fearful of disruptions to their methods. However, if done in the correct way and with a people-centric mindset, delivering change that drives significant value could hold the key to unleashing transformation. 

Ama F. Erbynn, Vice President of Strategic Sourcing and Procurement at ASM Global, aligns herself with that mantra. Her mentality of being agile and responsive to change has proven to be an advantage during a turbulent past few years. For Erbynn, she thrives on leading transformations and leveraging new tools to deliver even better results. “I love change because it allows you to think outside the box,” she discusses. “I have a son and before COVID I used to hear him say, ‘I don’t want to go to school.’ He stayed home for a year and now he begs to go to school, so we adapt and it makes us stronger. COVID was a unique situation but there’s always been adversity and disruptions within supply chain and procurement, so I try and see the silver lining in things.”

To read more click here!

SpendHQ: Realising the possible in spend management software 

Pierre Laprée, Chief Product Officer at SpendHQ, discusses how customers can benefit from leveraging spend management technology to bring tangible value in procurement today…

Turning vision and strategy into highly effective action. This mantra is behind everything SpendHQ does to empower procurement teams.  

The organisation is a leading best-in-class provider of enterprise Spend Intelligence (SI) and Procurement Performance Management (PPM) solutions. These products fill an important gap that has left strategic procurement out of the solution landscape. Through these solutions, customers get actionable spend insights that drive new initiatives, goals, and clear measurements of procurement’s overall value. SpendHQ exists to ultimately help procurement generate and demonstrate better financial and non-financial outcomes. 

Spearheading this strategic vision is Pierre Laprée, long-time procurement veteran and SpendHQ’s Chief Product Officer since July 2022. However, despite his deep understanding of procurement teams’ needs, he wasn’t always a procurement professional. Like many in the space, his path into the industry was a complete surprise.  

To read more click here!

But that’s not all… Earlier this month, we travelled to the Netherlands to cover the first HICX Supplier Experience Live, as well as DPW Amsterdam 2023. Featured inside is our exclusive overview from each event, alongside this edition’s big question – does procurement need a rebrand? Plus, we feature a fascinating interview with Georg Rosch, Vice President Direct Procurement Strategy at JAGGAER, who discusses his organisation’s approach amid significant transformation and evolution.


  • Digital Procurement
  • Procurement Strategy

Welcome to issue 43 of CPOstrategy!

Our exclusive cover story this month features a fascinating discussion with UK Procurement Director, CBRE Global Workplace Solutions (GWS), Catriona Calder to find out how procurement is helping the leader in worldwide real estate achieve its ambitious goals within ESG.

As a worldwide leader in commercial real estate, it’s clear why CBRE GWS has a strong focus on continuous improvement in its procurement department. A business which prides itself on its ability to create bespoke solutions for clients of any size and sector has to be flexible. Delivering the superior client outcomes CBRE GWS has become known for requires an extremely well-oiled supply chain, and Catriona Calder, its UK Procurement Director, is leading the charge. 

Procurement at CBRE had already seen some great successes before Calder came on board in 2022. She joined a team of passionate and capable procurement professionals, with a number of award-winning supply chain initiatives already in place.

With a sturdy foundation already embedded, when Calder stepped in, her personal aim focused on implementing a long-term procurement strategy and supporting the global team on its journey to world class procurement…

Read the full story here!

Adam Brown: The new wave of digital procurement 

We grab some time with Adam Brown who leads the Technology Platform for Procurement at A.P. Moller-Maersk, the global logistics giant. And when he joined, a little over a year ago, he was instantly struck by a dramatic change in culture… 

Read the full story here!

Government of Jersey: A procurement transformation journey 

 Maria Huggon, Former Group Director of Commercial Services at the Government of Jersey, discusses how her organisation’s procurement function has transformed with the aim of achieving a ‘flourishing’ status by 2025…

Read the full article here!

Government of Jersey

Corio: A new force in offshore wind 

The procurement team at Corio on bringing the wind of change to the offshore energy space. Founded less than two years ago, Corio Generation already packs quite the punch. Corio has built one of the world’s largest offshore wind development pipelines with projects in a diverse line-up of locations including the UK, South Korea and Brazil among others.  

The company is a specialist offshore wind developer dedicated to harnessing renewable energy and helps countries transform their economies with clean, green and reliable offshore wind energy. Corio works in established and emerging markets, with innovative floating and fixed-bottom technologies. Its projects support local economies while meeting the energy needs of communities and customers sustainably, reliably, safely and responsibly.  

Read the full article here!

Becker Stahl: Green steel for Europe 

Felix Schmitz, Head of Investor Relations & Head of Strategic Sustainability at Klöckner & Co SE explores how German company Becker Stahl-Service is leading the way towards a more sustainable steel industry with Nexigen® by Klöckner & Co. 

Read the full article here!

And there’s so much more!


  • Digital Procurement
  • Procurement Strategy

Welcome to issue 42 of CPOstrategy!

This month’s cover story sees us speak with Brad Veech, Head of Technology Procurement at Discover Financial Services.

CPOstrategy - Procurement Magazine

Having been a leader in procurement for more than 25 years, he has been responsible for over $2 billion in spend every year, negotiating software deals ranging from $75 to over $1.5 billion on a single deal. Don’t miss his exclusive insights where he tells us all about the vital importance of expertly procuring software and highlights the hidden pitfalls associated.

“A lot of companies don’t have the resources to have technology procurement experts on staff,” Brad tells us. “I think as time goes on people and companies will realise that the technology portfolio and the spend in that portfolio is increasing so rapidly they have to find a way to manage it. Find a project that doesn’t have software in it. Everything has software embedded within it, so you’re going to have to have procurement experts that understand the unique contracts and negotiation tactics of technology.” 

There are also features which include insights from the likes of Jake Kiernan, Manager at KPMG, Ashifa Jumani, Director of Procurement at TELUS and Shaz Khan, CEO and Co-Founder at Vroozi. 

Enjoy the issue! 

  • Digital Procurement
  • Procurement Strategy

We explore the transformation of sustainability in procurement & visions of a future where sustainability & procurement are fully integrated.

Dr Carsten Hansen, Founder of SourcingHaus Research and Consulting Group, explores the transformation of sustainability in procurement and envisions a future where sustainability and procurement are fully integrated and mainstreamed.

STADA graces the cover of CPOstrategy this month!

Our exclusive cover story this month features Alan Rankin, Chief Procurement Officer at STADA, who discusses his company’s journey to offering a best-in-class procurement function.

Few industries can say that statement with certainty. But for the pharmaceutical industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding a solution quickly was non-negotiable.  

Indeed, Alan Rankin, Chief Procurement Officer at STADA, acknowledges the role his sector played in helping to combat one of the biggest health crises of all time. He says the COVID-19 period made him “extremely proud” to be part of the industry. “The pharmaceutical industry worked hard to come up with a solution during a time when governments struggled to cope with what happened,” he recalls. “The industry had a real impact on the world being able to handle the situation and not going into financial meltdown. That alone makes me so proud to be in this space.” 

Read the latest issue here!

Today, STADA stands as a renowned manufacturer of high-quality pharmaceuticals. The firm operates with a three-pillar strategy consisting of consumer healthcare products, generics and specialty pharmaceuticals. Its consumer healthcare brands such as Hedrin, Nizoral, Grippostad and Zoflora are among the top sellers in their respective product categories…

Not only that but we also have fascinating discussions involving all the hot topics around the procurement function at the moment, with George Schutter, Former Chief Procurement Officer at the District of Columbia, Noemie Chetty, Director of Procurement of the Seychelles’ Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) and Trevor Tasker, CEO at EMCS Industries. Plus, Bob Booth Senior Partner, Finance & Supply Chain Transformation at IBM Consulting details how AI could affect the procurement function. “We are now witnessing a tipping point in the application of AI at real scale, and CPOs are wondering how this impacts them and their colleagues. This article aims to equip CPOs and their teams with some ideas to consider and some pointers on applying AI in a professional capacity to their company,” he reveals.

All this and lots, lots more!


Nicolas Walden, The Hackett Group, discusses today’s landscape & what procurement’s future could hold amid a turbulent time for the industry.

Nicolas Walden, Associate Principal at The Hackett Group, discusses today’s landscape and what procurement’s future could hold amid a turbulent time for the industry.

Diana Monterrubio, Procurement Global Strategic Leader, Teleperformance talks with us about the way forward for women in procurement roles.

Diana Monterrubio, Procurement Global Strategic Leader at Teleperformance talks with The CPOstrategy Podcast about her opinions on technology, AI and the way forward for women in procurement roles.

Procurement is in a state of flux. Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, the procurement landscape is volatile and requires…

Procurement is in a state of flux.

Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, the procurement landscape is volatile and requires agility to navigate turbulent waters. But, despite significant disruption could there still be opportunity?

Simon Whatson, Vice President of Efficio Consulting, is optimistic about the future of digital procurement and despite a challenging few years he is confident of a successful bounce back. He gives us the lowdown on the direction of travel for digital procurement in 2023. 

As an executive with considerable experience in the space, we’d love to learn more about your background and how you ended up in procurement. Why was this the specialism for you and how did you get involved to begin with?

Simon Whatson (SW): “I think the one-word answer of how I came into procurement was accidental. I studied maths at university, with a year in France, before I began looking for different roles to apply for.

“Eventually, I was offered a position with a big plumbing and heating merchant with global operations. I worked in that supply chain team for two and a half years. Although it was called supply chain, a lot of the work was procurement, which involved negotiating with suppliers. It was after that stint there, that I discovered consulting and joined a boutique procurement consultancy. Now I am onto my third consultancy and I’m very happy here!

“In terms of why I’ve stayed, one of the success factors in procurement is being able to work cross-functionally. Procurement doesn’t own any of the spending that it is responsible for helping to optimise. It must work with other functions and the spend owners. I quite like the people side of that, building relationships, almost selling internally to bring teams together. That really appeals to me and is a key reason why I’ve been very happy in procurement.”

As we move into exploring procurement today in 2023. The space is filled with challenges and complexities. You only need to look at the last few years. Covid, war in Ukraine, inflation – how would you describe the world’s recent challenges and their effect on the industry and what do you feel CPOs and leaders can do to combat these issues?

SW: “I would flip it around and say that these are not so much challenges but rather opportunities for procurement. When I started my career 18 years ago, procurement was often fighting to get a voice and there were complaints that procurement was not represented at the top table, but the war in Ukraine, inflation, COVID and ESG, these are things which are now on the C-suite agenda and procurement is ideally positioned to help companies face those challenges. If you think about COVID and the war in Ukraine, procurement is in a privileged position to help with this.

“I see some procurement functions that prefer to do what they know, which focuses on the process and transactional side. However, there are also many forward-thinking CPOs and procurement professionals out there, that have really seized this opportunity of being on the C-suite agenda and drive the thinking and the solutions to some of these big challenges we’re seeing.”

Although new technology in procurement has been around for well over a decade, digitalisation has become so much more of an important topic. How would you sum up where procurement and supply chain are in terms of digital transformation today?

SW: “It’s a bit laggard, but digital transformation is difficult, and we have to recognise there are some real trailblazers. There are some firms doing some fantastic things in digital to produce better outcomes. If you contrast your experience when you’re buying something in your private life, it’s much easier than 20 years ago. You can get access to a wealth of pre-sourced things, whether it’s food, a holiday, a car, or a book. You can see reviews of what other people think of these things.

“But when you go into your workplace as a business user and you want to buy something, it doesn’t quite work like that yet. You often have to fill in a form, send it off and wait for them to come back to you. They might come back a little bit later than you were hoping and might tell you that they don’t have that part on the supply frameworks. I think people sometimes get confused about how it can be so easy to buy something as large as a car or a holiday on their sofa at home, but when they want to buy something at work, it seems to be quite cumbersome. Digital can help a lot with that, but it is incumbent on organisations and procurement functions to figure out how to recreate that customer experience that we’ve become accustomed to in our private lives.”

With a new generation of leaders growing up with technology, some might say that it could be a key driver in helping to speed the adoption in procurement along. Is this something you would agree with or what would you point to as a key driver?

SW: “I do think that it will act as one of the catalysts for further digital transformation in organisations, because if procurement doesn’t manage to recreate that customer experience that the new generation expects, then they won’t use procurement going forward and will look to bypass it.

“The analogy that I’ve used previously in this case is one of travel agents. I remember as a child, my parents were able to take us on holiday and I remember the whole process. We would walk into town to the travel agent, and look at some of the brochures of options. They often then had to phone the various airlines or resorts on our behalf. They might not be able to get through, so we’d have to come back the next day. I remember as a child being quite excited by the whole process but actually, thinking back, it was quite cumbersome. You compare that to now, with being able to review online, and you can get instant answers to your questions. It’s not a coincidence that travel agents don’t really exist anymore.”

How much of a challenge is it to not get caught leveraging technology for technologies sake? How important is it to stay true to your approach and be strategic?

SW: “We conducted a study of many procurement leaders and CPOs a few years ago, and one of the things that we found was that about 50% of procurement leaders admitted to having bought technology just on the basis of a fear of missing out, without any real understanding of the benefits that technology was going to bring. That was a real shock and a revealing find because technology is not cheap, and its implementation is quite disruptive. If you’re purchasing a system because everybody else is using it, then there could be some pretty costly mistakes. It is really important to make sure that when buying technology, it is because the benefits are fully understood.

“My advice to companies when looking to digitalise is own your data, visualise that data, and manage your knowledge. If you can focus on getting those things right in that order, and make your technology decisions to support that goal, then that’s a much better way of thinking about it rather than just jumping in and buying a piece of technology.”

It’s clear that the procurement space is an exciting, but challenging, place to be. What do you think will play a key role in the next 12 months to push the digital conversation further to take procurement to the next level?

SW: “Looking forward, one thing that procurement needs to do and continue to do is attract the best people. Ultimately, people are what makes an organisation, and it is what makes a function successful. I think procurement has often not looked for the right skills in the people that it employs. Traditionally, it’s looked for people with procurement experience and while they are valuable and required, we also need leadership potential. People who think a bit more outside the box and aren’t so process driven. A lot of what procurement has done in previous years has been process driven, so if you’re just limiting your search of people to those that have had procurement experience, you’re inevitably going to end up with a lot of people who are process driven.

“I think being bolder and recruiting people from different backgrounds with different skill sets is the way to go. If procurement can ‘own’ the ESG space, that will help with the younger generation see procurement make a difference. I think that’s one thing that will be key to success going forward.”

Check out the latest issue of CPOstrategy Magazine here.

Paul Farrow, Vice President of Hilton Hotels’ Supply Management, sits down with us to discuss how his organisation’s procurement function has evolved amid disruption on a global scale

The hospitality industry has endured a rough ride over the past few years.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic which stopped the world in its tracks and now with millions facing a cost-of-living crisis, it’s been a period of unprecedented disruption for those involved in the space and beyond.

But it’s a challenge met head-on by Paul Farrow, Vice President of Supply Management at Hilton Hotels, and his team who have been forced to respond as the world continues to shift before their eyes.

Farrow gives us a closer look into the inner workings of his firm’s procurement function and how he has led the charge during his time with Hilton Hotels.

Could we start with you introducing yourself and talking a little about your role at Hilton Hotels? 

Paul Farrow (PF): “I’m the Vice President of Hilton’s Supply Management, or HSM as we call it. I’ve been with Hilton Hotels for 12 and a half years, and my role is to head the supply chain function for our hotels across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“Over the past few years, Hilton has grown rapidly and has now got 7,000 hotels in over 125 countries globally. What is really exciting is Hilton Supply Management doesn’t just supply Hilton Hotels and the Hilton Engine because we also now supply our franchisees and competitive flags. While we have 7,000 hotels globally, Hilton Supply Management actually supplies close to 13,000 hotels. That’s an interesting business development for us, and a profit earner too.”

You’re greatly experienced, I bet you’ve seen supply chain management and procurement change a lot in recent years? 

PF: “The past two to three years have been tremendously challenging on so many industries but I’d argue that hospitality got hit more than most as a result of the Covid pandemic. Here at Hilton, supply management was really important just to keep the business operational throughout that tough time, but I’m delighted to say we’re fully recovered now.

“Looking back, it was undoubtedly difficult, and you only have to look at the media to see that we’re now going through a period of truly unprecedented inflation. On top of the normal day job, it’s certainly been a very busy time.”

Hospitality must have been under an awful lot of pressure during the pandemic… 

PF: “Most of our teams as a business and all functions have worked together far more collaboratively than ever before through the use of technology and things like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Trying to work remotely as effectively as possible changed the way we all had to think and the way we had to do. Now we’re back in the workplace and in our offices, we’re actually looking to take advantage of that new approach.”

Inflation, rising costs, energy shortages, as well as drives towards a circular economy means it’s quite a challenging time for CSCOs and CPOs right now, isn’t it?

PF: “Those headwinds have caused and created challenges of the like that we’ve not seen before. The war in Ukraine and Russia has meant significant supply chain disruption and supply shortages of some key ingredients and raw materials. China is a significant source of materials and they’re still having real challenges to get their production to keep up with demand.

“All the local and short-term challenges are around energy and fuel pricing, so throughout the supply chain that’s been a major factor to what we’ve had to deal with. On top of that is the labour shortages. We rely heavily throughout the supply chain and within our business to utilise labour from around the world. In my region, particularly from say Eastern Europe as well as other businesses all fighting for a smaller labour pool than we had before. We are fighting with the likes of the supermarkets, Amazon’s, not just other hotel companies to capture the labour pool we need both in our properties but also within our supply chain supplies themselves.

Hilton operates a rather unique procurement function, doesn’t it?  

PF: “We trade off the Hilton name because our brand strength is something that we are able to utilise and we’re very proud of, but we’ve also got additional leverage by having that group procurement model.

“We’ve got essentially two clients. We’ve got our managed estate which is when an owner chooses to partner with Hilton, they’re signing a management agreement because they want the benefit and value of the Hilton engine. That could be revenue management, how we manage onboarding clients and customers through advertising, as well as the other support we give in terms of finance, HR, marketing and sales as well as procurement.”

HSM is a profit centre and revenue driver through its group procurement model but how does this work?

PF: “Our secret sauce is our culture. It’s our people and that filters across all of our team members and indeed all of our functions. The key strategic pillars are the same for health and supply management around culture, maximising performance and so on as they are across the overall global business.

“Across our 7,000 plus hotels, the majority are actually franchised hotels because that’s the legacy of what still is the model in the US. When I joined Hilton 12 and a half years ago, the reverse is true where nearly all of our hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and indeed in Asia Pacific, were and are managed. In the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions right now we’re building up close to a 50/50 split between managed, leased and franchised.”

What has pleased you most about the roll-out of the HSM?

PF: “It’s certainly not been easy because we’ve got 70 countries that sit within our region here in EMEA and Hilton’s penetration in those individual countries is very different. We may have 100 hotels in one of those markets and only one or two in specific countries. Our scale and our ability to get logistics solutions is different by market.

“Getting everyone on board to what we want to achieve to our guests and to our owners means we have to pull different levers. We have very effective brand standards. If you’re signing up to Hilton, you’re signing up to delivering against those brand standards that we believe are right for our organisation.”

What kind of feedback have you had from your clients? 

PF: “Integrity is in our DNA, and we work very closely with our suppliers who we value as partners. These are long-term relationships, and we work hand in hand because we have to see that they’re successful so that we can be successful – it’s really important to what we do and we constantly look for feedback.

“With our internal and our external customers, we’ll have quarterly business reviews and so we’ll get that feedback through surveys where we are asking them to tell us what we do well and what we could do better. Our partners are now asking what additional value can you do to bring support to our organisation through ESG? So that’s what’s on the table now when it wasn’t before. But it’s not just that – it’s about the security of supply competitiveness, competitiveness of pricing, and a whole bunch of other very important things as well.”

Looking to the future, what’s on the agenda for the next few years?

PF: “We’re out there meeting and greeting people in person and there’s always new opportunities that make things exciting in what we do and how we work. Innovation’s very high on our agenda and we’re very proud of what we do in food and beverage. In non-food categories, it’s about how we support our owners and our hotel general managers to find that competitive edge and do the next big thing ahead of our competitors.”

Anything else important to know?

PF: “One thing we’ve been able to take full advantage of is how we’ve been able to grow our business by bolting on new customers. I think it’s fantastic that our competitors choose to use Hilton Supply Management because they benchmarked what our capabilities are and how competitive we are.

“Another key part of the agenda is environmental, social and governance (ESG) sustainability. Responsible sourcing and everything that sits within that is front and centre of what we do. Within that you’ve got human rights, animal welfare, single use plastics as well as general responsible sourcing like managing food waste. The list is very long, but they’re all very important.”

Check out the latest issue of CPOstrategy Magazine here.

CPOstrategy catches up with Sam de Frates, who has been leading procurement transformation at Mars, Incorporated, to discover how one of the world’s largest enterprises has put people at the heart of its plans…

Our exclusive cover story this month, sees us catching up with Sam de Frates, Vice President, Commercial – Europe, CIS & Turkey at Mars, Incorporated, and the leader of procurement transformation at the company, to discover how one of the world’s largest enterprises has put people at the heart of its plans…

Read the latest issue here!

CPOstrategy Magazine cover - Issue 39

Talk of technological change and digital transformations often excludes the most vital tools in delivering meaningful value within an enterprise: the people. Because new tools, processes and capabilities only truly maximise their value if they are shaped by the very people that require their services. The adoption of technology without the human touch can be an expensive opportunity missed.

An experienced procurement leader who has worked at some of the largest companies on earth, de Frates joins us for a chat from his London office to discuss how digital procurement at Mars has evolved under his guidance, whilst the company undergoes cross functional changes at scale – a hugely significant transformation with Mars Associates and its suppliers at its heart…

Elsewhere, we also we discuss the hottest topics within the procurement function, with Paul Howard, Chief Commercial Officer at New Zealand Defence Force and Manuele Burdese, Sr Director, Head of Business Insights & Analytics Strategic Sourcing & Procurement, Bristol Myers Squibb. Plus, we have some incredible insights from Efficio, Ivalua and Hilton Supply Management.

Enjoy the issue!

Andrew Woods

Global procurement executive Fadi El Mouallem discusses the value of talent in procurement in today’s world.

Global procurement executive Fadi El Mouallem discusses the value of talent in procurement in today’s world.

Sanja Cancar-Todorovic, eMBA, MM., discusses gender imbalance in procurement and the benefits of organisations reaching parity in the industry.

Sanja Cancar-Todorovic, eMBA, MM., Head of Enterprise Procurement, Outsourcing and Third-Party Risk Management Leader, discusses gender imbalance in procurement and the benefits of organisations reaching parity in the industry.

If you enjoyed our podcast and would like to read or hear more from Sanja, her new book ‘BE BOLD and Brilliant: Unlocking your Personal and Professional Potential’ is available to purchase from Amazon in both Kindle and paperback format.

Digital procurement functions and leadership styles are changing as the pace of technology adoption accelerates.

The CPOstrategy Podcast: Unleashing the opportunity of procurement

Simon Whatson, Vice President of Efficio Consulting, speaks to us about the changing digital procurement function.

We also discuss how leadership styles are changing as the pace of technology adoption accelerates.

Sara Malconian, Chief Procurement Officer at Harvard University & Jim Bureau, CEO of JAGGAER explain how ESG & the Circular Economy is changing the evolution of procurement.

We speak to Sara Malconian, Chief Procurement Officer at Harvard University and Jim Bureau, CEO of JAGGAER to see how ESG and the Circular Economy is changing the evolution of procurement…

Sara, how have you seen your role evolve as a procurement leader over the years as ESG and supplier diversity come into focus? 

Procurement leaders have gone from ‘cost cutters’ to ‘problem solvers’ within their organisations. Our core mandates used to be to drive cost savings and efficiency. We were hyper-focused on getting the most out of the organisation’s spend and supplier relationships. Those priorities haven’t gone away, especially in today’s inflationary environment, but the expectations of the procurement function are significantly higher and broader today. 

Procurement functions saved their companies during COVID and the confluence of disruptions that followed. We showed we are a strategic linchpin. We are now looked upon to drive value and impact and strategically guide our organisations to achieve broader goals, including diversity and environmental, social, governance (ESG). Internal stakeholders realised the benefits of procurement and sought help with advancing their department’s agendas or solving their challenges. We listen to their needs, allocate the right resources, and ultimately enable them and the overall organisation to be successful.  

I’ve been in procurement for over 20 years, and I can honestly say you’d be hard-pressed to find a more rewarding and exciting career. Procurement professionals have a real opportunity to make a tangible difference within their organisations, communities, and the world through the way we source products and services. 

What is Harvard doing to have a positive impact on society? Can you share some examples, Sara?

Across the Harvard community, students, alumni, faculty, and staff are advancing scholarship and teaching on the world’s most significant challenges, and everyone wants to do their part to address inequities. Supplier diversity and inclusion have been a priority for Harvard for years, but we wanted to make even more of an impact and really invest in the growth and development of diverse businesses, especially as the pandemic highlighted inequities and disparities within our communities.

In 2021, we formed the Office for Economic Inclusion & Diversity (OEID), which is dedicated to reaching out to diverse suppliers, giving them opportunities, and providing them with tools, training, and resources to be successful. The office also encourages the use of underrepresented business enterprises (UBEs) in the purchasing of all goods, services, and construction at Harvard and standardises procurement practices with these businesses across the university. 

We’re proud of the work this office is doing. We’re actively training suppliers on Harvard’s policies and how they can work with us. We’re creating a central location for them to access bid and RFP opportunities. UBEs can also apply to be mentored by Harvard Business School students.

We’ve created a dashboard to track and analyse spend with diverse suppliers across all of Harvard’s schools and measure progress over time. Everything we’re doing is aimed at increasing spend with our existing diverse suppliers, as well as the number of diverse suppliers that work with Harvard, and helping these suppliers grow their businesses.

Jim, why is prioritizing ESG and supplier diversity important and what steps can companies take today to progress in their journey? 

Beyond being the right thing to do, investors, boards, regulators, customers, and employees now expect organisations to prioritise ESG and diversity initiatives and walk the talk. There’s also a clear business impact. Supplier diversity drives competitive bidding processes that lead to cost savings. Working with partners who are sustainable and have different ideas and perspectives fuels innovation and creates a competitive advantage. Sourcing from a sustainable and diverse supplier pool also reduces risk by broadening organisations’ access to multiple resources for various materials, products, and services. 

One of the most critical steps companies can take to progress on their ESG journey is to make it clear to suppliers that environmentalism is a priority for their organisation. They will attract suppliers with higher levels of ESG maturity and provide suppliers who are earlier on in their ESG journey with sustainability toolkits and training to help educate them on eco-friendly best practices and sustainability innovations.

This step avoids having to overhaul their supply chain to account for ESG. Strategically managing suppliers by leveraging third-party data, scorecards, and supplier audits are crucial for understanding the ESG risks that suppliers pose and minimizing disruptions by working with them to correct these issues. 

Successful supplier diversity programs start with a top-down culture shift. If a company’s culture isn’t diverse, inclusive, and supportive for all its stakeholders, they won’t be able to drive supplier diversity in a meaningful way. Supplier diversity strategy should map back to company goals and include an executive-level champion to sponsor the program internally and help bring in the resources they need.

Outside of leveraging technology to identify diverse suppliers and build a program, businesses can talk with people who have been in their shoes. They can collaborate with like-minded companies at industry events, engage in relevant LinkedIn groups, and connect with organisations such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

Once diverse suppliers are on board, organisations can create a supplier diversity policy that clearly outlines how many diverse suppliers need to be invited to bid for each event to ensure teams are executing on the strategy. Leading supplier diversity programs go beyond simply spending with diverse suppliers to providing mentorship and training them on how to respond to RFPs correctly, as well as creating environments where it’s easier for them to engage. 

Jim, what role does technology play in helping organisations achieve ESG and supplier diversity goals?

Technology is a key enabler of ESG and supplier diversity initiatives. One of the biggest obstacles to supplier diversity and ESG is a lack of reliable supplier data. Suppliers don’t always keep their information up to date in self-service portals. The data procurement teams have isn’t always enriched to the level they need, with insights on diversity status, certifications, and proof of ESG compliance.

Researching and assessing suppliers is tedious and time-consuming, which leads many organisations to skip the verification step. Without this information, organisations don’t have a true picture of the inclusivity and sustainability of their supplier network, which makes it impossible to identify the right partners to source from to meet their ESG and supplier diversity goals and make an impact.

Technology addresses this challenge by automatically collecting, enriching, validating, and integrating the supplier data needed to obtain this level of supply base visibility and make decisions that drive ESG and diversity. AI-powered tools are available to match buyers with specific diverse suppliers who also have the capabilities to help drive ESG objectives and meet broader procurement criteria.

Software that segments the supply base and helps visualise spending with small and diverse suppliers across a variety of classifications is critical for setting benchmarks and measuring progress and ROI. 

Jim and Sara, how do you expect the ESG and diversity conversation to shift and where should procurement leaders focus for the future?

Sara: I expect we’ll see the conversation shift to emphasise measurement. It’s not enough anymore to say you’re committed to ESG – you need to prove it and show demonstrable progress and ROI. Maintaining the momentum on ESG initiatives is hard. Technology is key for setting benchmarks and goals, ensuring accountability for hitting key milestones, and measuring progress and return in a credible way. 

Jim: In a declining economic environment, choices inevitably need to be made. I expect the conversation around ESG will center around where companies can focus to maintain progress on ESG initiatives as financial and economic pressures come to the forefront. While some companies may need to scale back in some areas to preserve cash and resources to navigate a downturn, I’d advise them to be careful about slowing ESG down too much as it will be much harder to catch up to current levels after the economy bounces back.

I’d argue that when ESG is done right it can be a strategic lever for navigating a down economy, saving organizations money and resources, driving innovation, and helping them achieve broader business objectives and resilience. 

Here are five of the biggest procurement events happening during 2023 that chief procurement officers won’t want to miss.

Procurement Futures 

London, UK  |  1-2 February 2023 

Held at the QEII Centre in central London, Procurement Futures is a new conference, launching in 2023. It promises delegates the chance to find out how to make supply chains more resilient, with thought-provoking and presentations and discussions designed to inform and inspire.

There is a flexible programme of content that can be tailored to attendees’ preferences, with networking opportunities throughout and a huge variety of sessions to attend and take part in.

This CIPS event has three streams of content: Insights, Ignite and Interact. Insights will showcase presentations and panel discussions from leaders, Ignite will consist of hands-on workshops to help delegates optimise their procurement strategies and Interact will be smaller groups taking part in interactive roundtables and debates.

Speakers across the two days will include Ross Grierson, Director of Procurement, Primark; Patrick Dunne, Director of Group Property, FM & Procurement (CPO), Sainsburys Plc; Rebecca Simpson, Procurement and Supply Chain Director, Balfour Beatty; and Nick Jenkinson, Chief Procurement Officer, Santander. In addition, delegates are ablew to book a one-to-one career workshop, where they’ll get advice on professional development from coaches covering a variety of specialisms. 

Tickets are £795 for CIPS member, £995 for a non-member and £2240 for a supplier/solution provider, and there is a discount of 30% for tickets purchased before 30 November 2022. 

3rd World Digital Procurement Summit 

Berlin, Germany  |  2-3 March 2023 

The third World Digital Procurement Summit is aimed at procurement directors, VPs, managers and other industry specialists. The two-day event will focus on accelerating procurement processes, adopting emerging technologies, finding the right talent, overcoming the barriers to progress and embarking on a journey of transformation. It’s a hybrid event, bringing together procurement experts from various industries, which will maximise knowledge exchange opportunities. The event organisers list five key learning points for delegates: 

  1. Exploring the latest advances in data and cognitive technologies to gain greater insights and improve procurement processes 
  1. Overhauling the procurement ecosystem with new technologies and strategies to drive business value 
  1. Sharing the best practices of monitoring and managing a range of risks to hedge against future disruptions 
  1. Developing capabilities and skillset required for the digital transformation of procurement 
  1. Defining ESG metrics of the procurement strategy to ensure business continuity 

Speakers will include Paul Harlington, Group Procurement Director at TUI Group and Patrick Foelck, Head of Strategy and Transformation Procurement at Roche. 

Click here to check out a video from a previous event. Tickets cost €1495. 

Women in Procurement & Supply Chain 

Sydney, Australia  |  6-8 March 2023 

Returning for its 8th annual event, Women in Procurement & Supply Chain will deliver two days dedicated to leadership and the future of procurement. The event will feature a series of exclusive panel discussions and keynote addresses examining career development, overcoming imposter syndrome, working with confidence, developing an unbeatable talent pool, mentoring, diversity and inclusivity.

It will also address risk mitigation, digital disruption, ESG, sustainability, economic development, ethical sourcing, category management, cultural diversity, strategic sourcing, supplier relationships, procurement with purpose, and supply chain resilience. There are two pre-conference masterclass options on 6 March – that can be booked separately – covering either contract law or leadership skills. 

Some of the reasons to attend include: 

  • Discover the path to taking your procurement career to a new level while elevating your organisation with dedicated days on leadership and the future of procurement 
  • Learn best practice strategies to facedown supply chain vulnerabilities and reduce risk exposure 
  • Get ahead of the game with insights into the future of procurement and the impact of globalisation on modern supply chains 
  • Put yourself at the cutting edge of ESG and procurement with the latest updates and trends in procurement with purpose 

Speakers for the main two-day conference include Michelle Richard, Director of Procurement, Thales; Karina Davies, Chief Procurement Officer, icare NSW; and Kylie McKinlay, Procurement Partner – Property and Business, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 

Tickets start at $3,495 with discounts available until 25 November 2022. 

Americas Procurement Congress 

Miami, USA  |  21-22 March 2023 

The Americas Procurement Congress will feature the region’s most progressive CPOs sharing their expertise

With a focus on what makes CPOs tick, the Americas Procurement Congress will feature the region’s most progressive CPOs sharing their expertise in keynote presentations and working groups.

Giving delegates the tools to stay on the cutting edge of procurement developments, there are also sessions aimed at those with responsibilities over governance, procurement capabilities and quantifying data. Unsurprisingly, sustainability will also be a key theme in 2023, and attendees will hear from a diverse range of sustainability leaders about how to transition from traditional metrics to a purpose-driven function. 

The agenda for Americas Procurement Congress 2023 will include: 

  • Sustainability of the future  
  • How to transition from traditional metrics to a purpose-driven function   
  • Harnessing the power of digital transformation  
  • Utilizing data as a driver of sustainable value, supply continuity and transparency   Agile procurement  
  • New approaches and skills that facilitate speed and agility   
  • Frictionless procurement  
  • Removing friction from the procurement process to support high-velocity sourcing   
  • Beyond Just in Time 
  • Designing future-fit supply networks for an age of chaos and conflict 

Tickets start at $3649. 

Americas Procurement Congress 

Orlando, Florida  |  8–10 June 2023 

Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo 2022 addressed the most significant challenges that chief supply chain officers and supply chain leaders face as they mitigate risk and navigate uncertainty in an increasingly dynamic and challenging environment.  

At the conference, the top 5 sessions that CSCOs and supply chain leaders met on included: 

  • Signature Series: The Future of Supply Chain 
  • What the Pivot to Sustainable Profit Means for Procurement Leaders 
  • The Art of the New Age One Page Dashboard: Why Your Current Perfor-mance Measures May Be Doing More Harm Than Good 
  • Manage Supplier Risk With Technology 
  • Procurement Role Redesign: Stop Fitting Square Pegs Into Round Holes 

Tickets start at $4725. 

Here are five of the best procurement schools in Europe.

As procurement becomes an increasingly vital and strategic function within many organisations, people are beginning to realise the full potential of turning it into a career for themselves.

This has subsequently led to many universities noticing the demand in the industry and offering courses which equip students with the relevant qualifications and skills needed to succeed in the supply chain space.

With this in mind, here are five of the best procurement schools in Europe.


Course: Various
Where: Across England

procurement schools

Run by Oxford College of Procurement and Supply, there are 10 Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply centres in England offering several different qualification levels to choose from. The courses are recognised throughout the world as harnessing leading edge thinking and professionalism across the procurement and supply chain management space.

CIPS offers courses such as level three, four, five and six in procurement and supply with each qualification created to reflect current, emerging and best practice in procurement and supply chain management. Classes focus on exploring legacy purchasing and supply methods as well as techniques and theory to the application in a business environment.

CIPS doesn’t just offer in-person studying as courses are designed to suit individual lifestyles with virtual classrooms, part-time and weekend options to choose from.

2. Politecnico di Milano

Course: MSc in Supply Chain and Procurement Management
Where: Milan, Italy

Politecnico di Milano
Politecnico di Milano offers an extensive portfolio of programmes

Renowned as being one of the best scientific and technological universities in the world, Politecnico di Milano offers an extensive portfolio of programmes in a variety of different spaces. Its supply chain master’s degree is a 12-month course aimed at equipping students with vital knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the industry.

The course also includes a number of practical activities in the programme such as lessons with international lectures, workshops on soft skills, company presentations, projects with companies, company visits and an international study tour in Rotterdam.

According to Politecnico di Milano, 86% of students were employed three months after graduation while 55% were also working abroad during the same period.

The course was ranked third in the TOP 2021 Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking (Global) and eighth in the QS Supply Chain Management Masters Rankings for 2023.

3. SKEMA Business School

Course: MSc (and MS) Supply Chain Management and Purchasing
Where: Lille and Paris, France

Skema offers two supply chain management (SCM) and procurement masters: The premium international MSc Global Supply Chain Management in Lille taught in English, and the MS in SCM and Purchasing in Paris and Lille mainly taught in French. France’s highly-rated supply chain and procurement program has been designed with a progressive shift from theory to practice. The degree covers the entirety of supply chain activities from planning, purchasing, receiving, production, storage to delivery through nine compulsory and six elective courses.

The global MSc has a new cooperation with the leading prestigious business school, MIT in the US, plus another cooperation with Politechnico from Milano. The MSc master’s degree provides soft skills in supply chain and purchasing management as well as going into future trends in digitalisation, AI, sustainability, ethics, globalisation, risk management and agility. The course’s primary goal is to find future leaders who are seeking to make a positive impact on the world of supply chain management and procurement. The MSc is a full time program, complemented by paid internships in the area of the student’s choice, while the MS alternates weeks of classes with professionals at the forefront of their fields.

4. Audencia Business School

Course: MSc in Supply Chain and Purchasing Management
Where: Nantes, France

Audencia Business School

Created in 2009, Audencia Business School’s programme will cover topics such as procurement, global sourcing and supply chain strategies. Other topics to feature includes green logistics, Big Data, digital transformation, negotiation and commercial law. The course will provide expertise from industry insiders as business executives visit and share professional insights during the programme.

The school works closely with the corporate world and is recognised for its responsible management practices. Audencia is triple-accredited, highly ranked and internationally oriented and according to its website, 79% of course graduates are employed before graduation. The course is available as a one-year or two-year master’s programme.

In autumn 2024, the course is set to be renamed to the MSc in Responsible Procurement and Supply Chain Management.

5. Cranfield School of Management

Course: MSc in Procurement and Supply Chain Management
Where: Cranfield, United Kingdom

Cranfield School of Management provides students with specialist knowledge and skills in procurement needed to progress their careers

Cranfield’s Procurement and Supply Chain Management course has been co-designed with senior industry executives. This purchasing postgraduate course provides students with specialist knowledge and skills in procurement needed to progress their careers. Possessing one of the largest facilities in Europe, the course places considerable emphasis on how to overcome real-world challenges.

Students will gain an in-depth understanding of supply chain strategy and sustainability, procurement strategy, supplier selection and evaluation, negotiation and contact management. They will also be taught how to use data, models and software to solve problems and inform decisions, inventory and operations management and how to design effective supply chain operations.

Students will have the opportunity to attend a study tour and experience a different supply chain perspective elsewhere in Europe.

The course was ranked 11th in the world on the QS Supply Chain Management Masters Rankings for 2023.

Our exclusive cover story this month features Sangram Bhosale, CPO at Xcel Energy.

Our exclusive cover story this month features Sangram Bhosale, Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer at Xcel Energy. Sangram Bhosale is a highly experienced CPO with an impressive track record of delivering procurement excellence within the energy sector for some of its biggest names.

When the former TransAlta and Husky Energy CPO joined Xcel Energy as Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer (CSCO) in 2020, he wasted no time devising a procurement transformation plan to advance the function to the top quartile. One that would capacitate the rest of the organization to meet and overcome the many technical and tactical challenges to meet current and future needs.

Read the latest issue now!

What attracted Bhosale to Xcel Energy was its visionary leadership team and an opportunity to catalyze the profound shift in how energy is generated and consumed.

“One of the things that I love, and a big part of why I joined Xcel Energy, is that we are a purpose-driven organization with a bold vision of being an industry leader in clean energy. The fast-evolving and innovation-driven utility industry also attracted me,” he tells us from his Denver office.

“Today, utilities are no longer the stodgy beast of yesteryears where not much had changed for decades. New technology is being explored and adopted, with billions invested in grid expansion and strengthening to meet reliable, cleaner, and increased energy demand. To be at the forefront of and lead that clean energy transition aligns closely with my values and beliefs and makes my role at Xcel Energy very exciting.”

Elsewhere, we also feature exclusive interviews with Vice President of Procurement, Anna Barej, and Director, Procurement Center of Excellence, Shawn Calabrase from Best Buy, Alessandro Gaiati, CPO at Fedrigoni, Norian Wasch, Director Procurement at EuroFiber, David Latten, Head of Global Indirect Procurement at Logitech, as well as Heath Nunnemacher, VP Global Electronics Sourcing, TTI and Mark Brady, Global Supply Chain Director at McPherson’s. It’s a bumper issue!


The Top Procurement Events for the first quarter of 2023.

Top Procurement Events for 2023

Hear from industry experts and keep up-to-date with the latest innovation in procurement by adding these upcoming, must visit, procurement events to your calendar in the first quarter of 2023.

ICSCM2023, 4th International Conference on Supply Chain Management

Macau, China | 13-15 January 2023

This academic conference – co-located with the International Conference on Computers in Management and Business – describes its main purpose as providing an international platform for presenting and publishing the latest scientific research outcomes on supply chain management. There will be opportunities for delegates to exchange new ideas, and to network with others, alongside the conference sessions. There is an optional tour, still to be confirmed, on the third day of the event.

Keynote speakers include Fugee TSUNG, Professor, HKUST (Guangzhou), Hong Kong, and Kwong Meng Teo, Senior Scientist, Huawei Technologies, 2012 Research Labs, China.

8th Annual Strategic Sourcing & Procurement MENA Summit

Dubai, UAE 24-25 | January 2023

Another hybrid event, the Strategic Sourcing & Procurement MENA Summit will offer delegates information on addressing current procurement challenges, focusing on areas such as category management, cost optimisation and risk mitigation. There will be case studies and discussions on e-procurement, plus solutions-based sessions on leadership in procurement.

Speakers will include experts from leading banks, telecoms, airlines, hotels, retailers, and other cross-industry companies, such as Emmanuel Augustin, Vice President Supply Chain Management | CPO, Dubai Airports and Kazim Duman, Director of Procurement, Rixos Hotels.

The agenda will cover:

  • Building a Sustainable Future
  • Risk Mitigation and Management
  • Prioritizing ESG: Procurement’s Role in Standardizing Sustainability
  • Cost Reduction and Value Generation
  • Talent Development and Acquisition Role in Strategic Sourcing and Procurement
  • From Good to Great in Digital Transformation
  • Leadership in Procurement Management
  • The Future of the Strategic Sourcing and Procurement

Procurement Futures London

UK | 1-2 February 2023

Held at the QEII Centre in central London, Procurement Futures is a new conference, launching in 2023. It promises delegates the chance to find out how to make supply chains more resilient, with thought-provoking and presentations and discussions designed to inform and inspire.

There is a flexible programme of content that can be tailored to attendees’ preferences, with networking opportunities throughout and a huge variety of sessions to attend and take part in. This CIPS event has three streams of content: Insights, Ignite and Interact. Insights will showcase presentations and panel discussions from leaders, Ignite will consist of hands-on workshops to help delegates optimise their procurement strategies and Interact will be smaller groups taking part in interactive roundtables and debates.

Speakers across the two days will include Ross Grierson, Director of Procurement, Primark; Patrick Dunne, Director of Group Property, FM & Procurement (CPO), Sainsburys Plc; Rebecca Simpson, Procurement and Supply Chain Director, Balfour Beatty; and Nick Jenkinson, Chief Procurement Officer, Santander.

In addition, delegates are able to book a one-to-one career workshop, where they’ll get advice on professional development from coaches covering a variety of specialisms.

3rd World Digital Procurement Summit

Berlin, Germany | 2-3 March 2023

The third World Digital Procurement Summit is aimed at procurement directors, VPs, managers and other industry specialists. The two-day event will focus on accelerating procurement processes, adopting emerging technologies, finding the right talent, overcoming the barriers to progress and embarking on a journey of transformation. It’s a hybrid event, bringing together procurement experts from various industries, which will maximise knowledge exchange opportunities. The event organisers list five key learning points for delegates:

  1. Exploring the latest advances in data and cognitive technologies to gain greater insights and improve procurement processes
  2. Overhauling the procurement ecosystem with new technologies and strategies to drive business value
  3. Sharing the best practices of monitoring and managing a range of risks to hedge against future disruptions
  4. Developing capabilities and skillsets required for the digital transformation of procurement
  5. Defining ESG metrics of the procurement strategy to ensure business continuity

Speakers will include Paul Harlington, Group Procurement Director at TUI Group and Patrick Foelck, Head of Strategy and Transformation Procurement at Roche.

Women in Procurement & Supply Chain

Sydney, Australia | 6-8 March 2023

Returning for its 8th annual event, Women in Procurement & Supply Chain will deliver two days dedicated to leadership and the future of procurement. The event will feature a series of exclusive panel discussions and keynote addresses examining career development, overcoming imposter syndrome, working with confidence, developing an unbeatable talent pool, mentoring, diversity and inclusivity. It will also address risk mitigation, digital disruption, ESG, sustainability, economic development, ethical sourcing, category management, cultural diversity, strategic sourcing, supplier relationships, procurement with purpose, and supply chain resilience. There are two pre-conference masterclass options on 6 March – that can be booked separately – covering either contract law or leadership skills.

Some of the reasons to attend include:

  • Discover the path to taking your procurement career to a new level while elevating your organisation with dedicated days on leadership and the future of procurement
  • Learn best practice strategies to facedown supply chain vulnerabilities and reduce risk exposure
  • Get ahead of the game with insights into the future of procurement and the impact of globalisation on modern supply chains
  • Put yourself at the cutting edge of ESG and procurement with the latest updates and trends in procurement with purpose

Speakers for the main two-day conference include Michelle Richard, Director of Procurement, Thales; Karina Davies, Chief Procurement Officer, icare NSW; and Kylie McKinlay, Procurement Partner – Property and Business, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Americas Procurement Congress

Miami, USA | 21-22 March 2023

With a focus on what makes CPOs tick, the Americas Procurement Congress will feature the region’s most progressive CPOs sharing their expertise in keynote presentations and working groups. Giving delegates the tools to stay on the cutting edge of procurement developments, there are also sessions aimed at those with responsibilities over governance, procurement capabilities and quantifying data. Unsurprisingly, sustainability will also be a key theme in 2023, and attendees will hear from a diverse range of sustainability leaders about how to transition from traditional metrics to a purpose-driven function.

The agenda for Americas Procurement Congress 2023 will include:

  • Sustainability of the future
  • How to transition from traditional metrics to a purpose-driven function
  • Harnessing the power of digital transformation
  • Utilizing data as a driver of sustainable value, supply continuity and transparency
  • Agile procurement
  • New approaches and skills that facilitate speed and agility
  • Frictionless procurement
  • Removing friction from the procurement process to support high-velocity sourcing
  • Beyond Just in Time
  • Designing future-fit supply networks for an age of chaos and conflict

Explore the top procurement trends in 2022 in detail.

The pace of evolution of the procuretech ecosystem continues to inspire the industry and we have seen digital procurement leaders rise in challenging times. So, what were the top procurement trends in 2022?

Last year’s ProcureTech100 cohort has outperformed their peers with over 40% growing exponentially, introducing new innovation, new partnerships and alliances. The 2022 ProcureTech100 cohort continue this drive with the most significant growth rate compared to their peers being in companies under 100 employees in size. Over 60% of the digital procurement ecosystem is made up of companies with under 50 employees with there being a clear step up required to building teams with over 50 employees. This correlates with the level and pace of funding within procuretech too and the step up to Series A.

Sign-up now to receive the FREE 2022 Yearbook, full of more useful insights.

Agility, decision making, risk and collaboration drive the digitisation of procurement

65% of companies see digitalisation as being important to achieve their company and procurement objectives.

The key drivers for this digitalisation are process agility and decision making (79%), transparency, compliance and risk (78%), and supplier or partner collaboration (70%).  Leaders see optimising cost and cash flow as well as improving compliance and risk as key drivers to digitalise, priorities that mirror the current 2022 global challenges.

Whilst we are living in post pandemic times and in the middle of supply chain shortages,  digitalisation to help secure supply, is not seen as significant driver. Immediate issues have been addressed through the application of corporate and supplier talent. We would anticipate that this will change in the next 12-18  months through the introduction of new digital solutions to help solve these issues.

For large companies, with over 5,000 people, the digital drivers are focused on increased decision agility and risk compliance, whereas for smaller companies, less than 200 people, the drivers were stronger supplier or partner collaboration and improved transparency.

Driving revenue growth and optimising product/service demand were also evaluated as relatively low reasons to digitise. For future leaders addressing demand management will increase the importance of optimising product or services demand through greater access to data and application of digitalisation.

1 – New digital procurement categories and capabilities are emerging

As procurement’s scope continues to expand both across the company and through the supply chain, the great ‘unbundling’ of procurement continues too. This unbundling is characterised by the application of digital to either existing or new capabilities and skills. As a result we have seen the rapid emergence of point solutions to digitalise these areas from Candex for tail spend transactions to Scoutbee for supplier discovery. Their success is driven through the simplicity of the user experience which is enabled by advanced technology (which the user never sees). The application of point solutions extends to enablement through data too, for example Keelvar’s sourcing optimisation solution uses ocean and air freight benchmarking and market analytics from Xeneta, and Lytica is a standalone solution for electronic component spend analytics and risk intelligence enabled by real customer data.

The unbundling and digitalisation continues into existing and new categories too, with many new category specific solutions evolving. As companies digitalise their buying and supply channels it is possible to apply point solutions (if the volumetrics work) to most categories. Globality’s approach to services shifts the whole delivery model addressing both capacity and capability constraints. Niche solutions like Lightyear for Telecoms procurement and Zluri for SaaS procurement go deep within subcategories, often combining software with services to provide a point of differentiation and extending from the buying to management of solutions too.

“ We have spent the last decade creating toy boxes, now we have to create toolboxes that have the process, skills and culture integrated. My favourite tool box is for adoption.” Amanda Davies, Mars

2 – From interface to database

Traditionally, there is much focus by procurement on the ‘app layer’ that delivers the end to end capability. It is essential for procurement to be aligned with corporate digital and IT teams to design and deliver the whole procuretech stack. At the top of the stack the ‘interface’ and starting point of the user journey for buyers, suppliers, business users, chat bots and functional experts should be defined. Beyond a simple portal, Kore.  ai can provide this conversational interface as a multichannel interface into procurement.

Often this also integrates your procurement process orchestration and intelligence layers which are either embedded or connected to your app layer. There are significant improvements in user experience through the deployment of tools like ZIP and UIPath which provide this orchestration and have established integration.

The ‘middleware’ layer that connects apps including your ERP system to data can be provided by solutions like HICX, apexanalytics and Oro. Into this advanced companies are augmenting their data layer and foundation with AI and ML from solutions like Creactives and TealBook

Get started defining your procuretech stack and fungible data fabric!

3 – Best of All ecosystem of solutions

Fact: There is no equivalent of ERP for all of procurement. There is no equivalent of PLM for procurement.

As procurement’s role has expanded so have our digital and data needs. Each and every procurement team has an accountability to define their own digital procurement operating platform. This platform should consider ALL solutions, from the capabilities provided by traditional ERP and finance solutions to the latest process workflow, apps and data solutions. From this your own ‘Best of All’ solutions ecosystem will emerge.

This trend is happening across procurement and also within individual capabilities with procurement too. Especially those areas with multiple user journeys and many data feeds. This is creating ‘micro’ platforms.

“There is no one-stop shop to cover risk management end-to-end, we will likely require an ecosystem within an ecosystem, including one for risk apps within the broader digital ecosystem. The market is moving away from one solution does it all to ecosystem suites with central management and focussed solutions for specialist areas such as: Supply Chain Visibility, Mapping or Traceability; Cyber; Finance Etc. This is reflected in the spread of different solutions here across the ProcureTech100. The ‘winners’ will likely be the ones who best integrate in this ecosystem, and also transparently with ESG, ERP and other ProcureTech areas.” Tim Perry-Ogden

4 – Digital supply and demand more in balance

Over the last 10 years the supply of digital procurement solutions has rapidly increased. If you had asked for a blockchain solution to help with the provenance of goods 10 years ago you would not have been able to find a solution – now you can. For most of the current and new use cases you can now find the digital procurement solutions that you need. Moreover, in many areas there are now multiple digital procurement solutions providing companies with choices for their digital procurement operating platform. Where digital solutions don’t quite meet what you need then many digital solutions are prepared to flex their product roadmap to align with those needs.

Top 10 countires investing in procurement

Fuelled by investment

The venture investment into procuretech continues to grow, there are over 1,000 venture capitalists with single investments and increasing numbers of B2B investors that have multiple investments into procuretech.

Procurement teams are also clear on the investment required, the ROI and how quickly this needs to be achieved.

“We must go on this investment journey … we may need to tighten our belt in other areas but digitalisation is not one of them.” Marielle Beyer, Roche

📢 Sign-up for full access to the ProcureTech100 2022 Yearbook for the full report and more insightful articles!

The latest issue of CPOstrategy is LIVE!

This month’s cover story is an exclusive and compelling insight into the procurement strategy at Vodafone New Zealand.

This month’s cover story is an exclusive and compelling insight into the procurement strategy at Vodafone New Zealand.

“For me, the future of procurement is two things: digital and sustainability,” says Rajat Sarna, Chief Procurement Officer and these two themes are the thread that runs through everything he’s put into place since he took over the reins of the procurement function at Vodafone New Zealand in October 2020.

The role was a huge one to take on, too – the telco employs 2,000 people, serves 2.4m customers and is a $2bn revenue company. The scale of its operations is huge with customers consuming over 3 billion minutes, 4,500 terabytes of mobile data and 55,000 terabytes of fixed line data every month.  A key part of his mandate was to transform procurement into a market-leading operating partner to the business that would “ultimately improve the value that we deliver to our customers”.

Read the latest issue here!

Sarna went back to basics initially, thinking about what the future capability of Vodafone New Zealand would look like, and what its procurement operation needed to be to support this. He says: “It was very critical for me to have a purpose and it cannot just be better savings or improved cost position. That’s not purpose; purpose is: what are we doing in terms of how we align with the future of procurement?”

Elsewhere, we have exclusive interviews with procurement strategists Lawrence Kane, a SIG Sourcing Supernova Hall of Fame member and Nirav Patel, CEO of Bristlecone. Plus, a ProcureTech exclusive and a guide to the best procurement events over the next 12 months and much, much more.


CPOstrategy speaks exclusively to Kathy Golding, Procurement & Supplier Ecosystem Services Leader at EY Global Services Limited, to see how a range of transformative initiatives have evolved the functions at the Big Four organization.

CPOstrategy speaks exclusively to Kathy Golding, Procurement & Supplier Ecosystem Services Leader at EY Global Services Limited.

This month’s cover story sees us speaking exclusively to Kathy Golding, Procurement & Supplier Ecosystem Services Leader at EY Global Services Limited, to see how a range of transformative initiatives have evolved the functions at the Big Four organisation, in a bid to benefit its operational excellence, its people experience, and the wider global community.

Read the latest issue here!

The global EY organization has over 350,000 employees across many countries, providing consultancy, assurance, tax and transactional services that “help solve EY clients’ toughest challenges and build a better working world for all.”

Kathy Golding is the Procurement & Supplier Ecosystem Services Leader at EY Global Services Limited and has been with the company for over 10 years, having spent her entire EY career in Supply Chain Services. Working under the guidance and leadership of Larry Phelan, Chief Supply Chain Officer at EY Global Services Limited and recognized by Procurement Magazine at no. 7 in the Top 100 Leaders in Procurement 2022, Golding helps manage the procurement and supplier relationship management of the Talent, Technology, and Brand, Marketing & Communications (BMC) categories across EY Global, with approximately US$5 billion annual spend. Golding is a highly experienced force at EY, and we were delighted to meet her at the company’s Canary Wharf office to discuss how procurement is evolving at one of the biggest enterprises on earth.

Kathy Golding, Procurement & Supplier Ecosystem Services Leader at EY Global Services Limited
Kathy Golding, Procurement & Supplier Ecosystem Services Leader at EY Global Services Limited

Not only that, but we also catch up with Vodafone NZ’s Rajat Sarna to see how procurement is being transformed at the telco through a start-up mentality.

And… there’s lots, lots more…

How can businesses cope with persistent, global supply chain issues and what are the concerns looming on the horizon?

The Digital Insight speaks to Nirav Patel, CEO of Bristlecone (a supply chain company of the $19bn Mahindra group), who discusses how businesses can cope with persistent, global supply chain issues – and outlines the concerns looming on the horizon.

The latest edition of CPOstrategy is live, featuring exclusive articles on Coupa, Just Eat Takeaways, Friesland Campina, DPW and ProcureTech

This month’s exclusive cover story centres around the Coupa App Marketplace, the digital ecosystem transforming procurement functions the world over.

We speak to Nigel Pegg, Vice President and General Manager of the Coupa App Marketplace and CoupaLink to find out more about the roll-out one year on.

Read the latest issue now!

The evolution of procurement into a true strategic business enabler is fuelled by technological advances. The ability to dig deep into data with true visibility into an enterprise’s entire spend and supplier network has been provided through ever-evolving platforms, such as Coupa’s highly successful Business Spend Management (BSM) platform. In BSM, Coupa has created a digital ecosystem that brings suppliers, vendors, and partners together in the same room with a single ‘source of truth’. 

Elsewhere, we discuss how strategic procurement is the way forward at a rapidly growing enterprise, with John Butcher, Group Procurement Director Just Eat Takeaway.com. Plus, we grill Maximillian Tan, Director Business Procurement Asia at FrieslandCampina, one of the largest dairy companies in the world with a cooperative tradition going back 150 years, on how he is unlocking value at the enterprise.

We also have features on DPW and its NEXT100, the CIPS Awards 2022 and revisit the winners of ProcureTech100 2021.

Enjoy the issue!

Andrew Woods

Editorial Director

CPOstrategy’s cover star this month is procurement transformation expert, and CEO and Co-Founder of Tropic, David Campbell…

Right now, procurement excellence is blooming. Experts determined to create change are coming to the fore and aligning procurement with SaaS to bring an end to the do-it-yourself way of working that decimates technology budgets. Tropic is one such game-changer, providing the tools to navigate software procurement’s complexities for competitive advantage.

Read the latest issue here!

The CEO and Co-Founder of Tropic is David Campbell, a born entrepreneur. He grew up on a cattle ranch in California and has always had at least one side-hustle on the go. Even as a child, he was running some form of money-making venture at any one time – but he didn’t necessarily consider that entrepreneurial pursuits were his calling until later.

CEO and Co-Founder of Tropic, David Campbell
CEO and Co-Founder of Tropic, David Campbell

Campbell studied English at UC Berkeley, and on graduating assumed he’d go into the arts. He’s a lifelong musician and writer, and he moved to a cabin in the woods to write the ‘next great American novel’. This venture, while it didn’t have the exact results he had hoped for, planted the seed in his mind that perhaps entrepreneurialism was for him because he loved setting his own hours and vision, creating a strategy, and executing that…

Elsewhere, we have exclusive interviews with supply chain and procurement leaders at the City of Edmonton and QSC, as well as the results of our first Sustainable Procurement Champions Index. We also have some exciting news from DPW too, ahead of its conference later this month.

Enjoy the issue!

There is an urgent need for the digitalisation of the procurement function, according to a new report from leading smart sourcing solutions organisation Globality

There is an urgent need for the digitalisation of the procurement function, according to a new report from ProcureTech and leading smart sourcing solutions organisation Globality.

The report, which can be read in full here, states that 9/10 of global procurement leaders are committed to the urgent transformation of their operations and processes to become more resilient, agile and future-proofed in these uncertain and volatile times.

The report, which surveyed 170 global procurement leaders, claims that innovative and emerging technologies are being harnessed in order to better arm CPOs as they face global inflation, COVID-19 and geo-political crises such as the war in Ukraine.

Those surveyed also cited the growing need to fully digitalise operating processes in order to improve efficiency and boost cost reduction, while enhancing agility, resilience and value. 90% expected operational transformations within the next three years.

The report covers:

  • Digitalisation drivers
  • Future procurement operating models
  • Digital work in the future
  • Procurement process digitalisation
  • Digital supplier management
  • Challenges to progress
  • Value of digital adoption
  • Change manifesto

“Everyone recognises this shift, 99% of companies plan to make changes to their operating model over the next three years,” says the Globality report. “In 2020 and 2021, change has been thrust upon us all. In 2022 and beyond companies are owning the shift. In our research, we have seen the procurement leaders outperform their peers through a focus on resilience and cost in the short term. However, to maintain this competitive advantage in the long term, they need to adopt a new digital-led operating model.”

That said, 81% cited a lack of organisational support with regards to digitalisation, indicating a need for further engagement at some enterprises. 68% say that digitalisation will continue to increase business self-service, while 50% of organisations aim to move to a business procurement-centric organisation, acting as advisors and business partners versus executing transactional processes.

Content Credits: Globality & ProcureTech

Designed By: CPOstrategy

EyeCare Partners works in partnership with clinicians and healthcare leaders to achieve the best patient and business outcomes and this…

EyeCare Partners works in partnership with clinicians and healthcare leaders to achieve the best patient and business outcomes and this has had dramatic results, such as a 1,500% revenue growth since 2015.

EyeCare Partners is growing through acquisitions, by providing strategic capital and operational support to its network of partner practices in 680 locations across 18 states. In February 2020, this growth was boosted when Swiss private equity firm Partners Group acquired a controlling stake in EyeCare Partners. “They’re a very interesting group,” he says. “They’re very heavy on investment, plus they have a very, very impenetrable and robust sustainability platform too, which is very near and dear to my heart through my time at Unilever,” This level of growth is fuelled significantly by increasing demand for eye care over the longer term, driven by an ageing US population and an increased incidence rate of eye diseases. But this level of growth requires an agile and resilient operational enterprise.

Procurement channel optimisation is a holistic approach to maximising the performance of, and value from, companies’ external spend and digital…

Procurement channel optimisation is a holistic approach to maximising the performance of, and value from, companies’ external spend and digital assets.

The CPO has one of the hardest jobs in the company managing spend with suppliers. She or he has to work with people who think they are expert shoppers (many of us are Amazonaholics, or equivalent) following processes alongside their day job, and who need to be convinced to buy from suppliers who may not be their personal preference.

The impact of taking the wrong process steps, using suboptimal channels or ill-suited suppliers can be consequential. To illustrate, for a $10bn spend company with $1bn indirects whose procurement team saves 8% a year on average, a compliance of 60% compared to best in class of 95% compliance equates to almost $30m lost bottom line benefits each year.

Non-compliant shoppers are also often adding supplier risk, accounts payable complexity and costs. Often the reason for people’s failure to use the correct process and vendors is that contracts are not enabled and user experiences are poor. Procurement channel optimisation touches the core areas of procurement and external spend management and ensures that all assets are interconnected with no value leakage.

Contract, buying channel and content data are loaded correctly allowing buyers to use correct suppliers and negotiated prices, while also streamlining operations, driving compliance and generating spend insights. The procurement function can then realise the full value for their business. After all, underperformance can hide in plain sight unless all channels are fully utilised and optimised.

Read the full article in CPOstrategy – Issue 30

Written by Veronika Strausova
Procurement Transformation Lead, IBM Consulting, UK & Ireland

Our cover story reveals a massive procurement transformation programme at Zendesk

Procurement transformation is the hot topic this month as we speak to Rendi Miller, VP of Strategic Sourcing and Procurement at Zendesk. Miller is a procurement evangelist and transformational leader who is clearly energised as she delivers meaningful change to the function at Zendesk.

“What I’ve always enjoyed about procurement is the visibility into what the entire company is buying, from Marketing creative services to IT and Engineering technology to office furniture and everything in between.”

“Procurement has insight to trends before they become mainstream that gives us the ability to research new partners, technologies and solutions to start addressing the needs of the business early on. Being in procurement offers an awareness to nearly every aspect of the company.”

Read the latest issue here!

According to Miller, trust is absolutely critical to success because without that, “there is no reliability, there’s no confidence and there’s no relationship”, says Miller. “That’s something I emphasise with my team. Trust must be earned, but trust is also given. I empower them to be the leaders that I’ve hired them to be…”

Elsewhere, we sit down with Procurement Excellence Lead at Antofagasta Minerals, Christophe Le Flech, to discuss the state of procurement in the South America mining industry, and the work he’s doing to make a difference. We also talk to Convex Insurance’s Head of Procurement & Tactical Change, Vivek Pai… and discuss diversity in the workplace with Silvia Simon, LATAM Procurement Senior Manager at Mercedes-Benz Brazil. Plus, we look at 10 ways to optimise your digital procurement scouting approach with ProcureTech.

Enjoy the issue!

Andrew Woods

Sustainable and ethical procurement practices increase trust and confidence.

Winston Yong, Blockchain leader at IBM Consulting, reveals how blockchain can be a great tool for organizations to move towards more sustainable and ethical procurement practices.

Confidence in your procurement promise through trust and traceability

As enterprises, and their connected ecosystems, move toward more sustainable and ethical practices, the procurement function has been placed under even greater scrutiny.

On the front line of assuring the sustainable and ethical practices of its suppliers and partners, and by proxy itself, the procurement function needs to demonstrate providence by accessing greater transparency within the supply chain to establish the provenance of the goods and services they are purchasing.

What is Blockchain technology?

At the forefront of technologies that are providing a new level of transparency and traceability is blockchain. The concept of blockchain is very simple. Every ‘event’ has a block of information associated with it as it occurs.

As other related events occur subsequently, the associated event also has another block of information connected to it. If we were to chain all of this up cryptographically, you would be able to trace the history of the event to a high level of assurance. That is the basic concept of blockchain, which is shared, secure, INSIGHTS Confidence in your procurement promise through trust and traceability immutable, and configurable; changing the way that provenance and traceability in the supply chain has been determined, with incredible granularity.

Supply chain implications

A great example of how blockchain is increasing transparency and provenance in the supply chain is seen in the seafood industry. The seafood industry faces several challenges; primary amongst them is reputational: how fish is farmed. Trust is paramount with consumers that buy seafood. They want to know what the fish has been fed, for example, and this trust requires ever more information.

The Seafood Network is a blockchain-based network for the seafood industry. By joining the network and utilising the blockchain transparent supply, seafood companies can be more open about how the food is produced so the consumer will have a greater knowledge and understanding of that product.

The natural predisposition of blockchain to independently validate and securely track the provenance of products has seen companies, quietly and assuredly, apply blockchain technology to record events along many diverse distribution chains.

CPOstrategy – Issue 29

Read the full article from Winston Yong in Issue 29 of CPOstrategy.

Bringing a wealth of experience to the table, Kuvesh Ayer, CPO for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority discusses procurement transformation and being prepared for anything…

Bringing a wealth of experience to the table, Kuvesh Ayer, CPO for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority discusses procurement transformation and being prepared for anything…

Tell us about yourself and your current role…
I’m currently the chief procurement officer for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The MTA embarked on a huge transformation effort across all its operating divisions to transform the organization into a more efficient, effective one.

I got a call one day asking if I’d be interested in this position and I decided, “Okay, it sounds interesting and very challenging,” and decided to throw my hat in a ring. Lo and behold, it’s two years down the line – it’s gone like a flash. Overall, my responsibilities include managing the MTAs procurement and sourcing operations, which also include the logistics, warehousing, and distribution aspects...”

What is excellence in procurement – and how we can encourage it? We chat to Olivia Brown, a Managing Consultant…

Olivia Brown, a Managing Consultant with Rowe Advisory UK.

What is excellence in procurement – and how we can encourage it? We chat to Olivia Brown, a Managing Consultant with Rowe Advisory UK…

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I spent the first 16 years of my career as an employee with oil and gas operators, both here in the UK and internationally, so I have a solid foundation in working in contracts and procurements. Later in my career, I became focused more on general management roles. Those roles combined led me to understand what good business looks like, and the things to avoid – not just within the function, but more broadly within the wider business context. I started working as a consultant with Rowe Advisory in 2017, initially working in support of clients in overseas, in Australia.

Give us some background on Rowe Advisory.

Rowe Advisory was established in 2013 by a very inspirational lady called Jody Rowe. I started to get involved with some of the Australian clients in 2017, working remotely from here in the UK to support them in redefining, updating, reviewing their procedures and their processes.

Typically, what we find is that a client will have a particular requirement for an area of concern, so we will go in and start to address that and help support them. From there, we often get involved in other areas for improvement as a consequence. 

In 2020, Rowe Advisory set up a branch here in the UK. It was difficult timing because we were launching it during lockdown. We had the challenge of the pandemic which was also compounded by the oil price crash. However, it was a real opportunity for us to reestablish some individuals within our network and reconnect with previous colleagues to tell them who we are and what we do, and make them aware of how we can help as in when the need arises.

What does ‘procurement excellence’ mean to you?

For us, it’s about aligning the strategy and the delivery of third-party spend with the needs of the business. It’s really connecting the department’s activity with the business priorities. To best achieve that, we see a focus on the overall procurement operating model. As previously mentioned, often there are areas of concern already which CPOs recognise can improve.

Generally, when we get involved with a new client, we will review the whole operating model to be more holistic in the review and understand how joined-up the department can be in providing that functional excellence back to the business. It’s really about the department adding value back to the business and establishing credibility through delivery of value to the business. 

We’ll look at the people, the process, the systems, and the tools to really focus on how the department can manage risk, provide clear strategic planning, align with the business objectives, be innovative, be creative, and also collaborative internally and externally. 

We’re working to elevate the role of the procurement department. It has the potential to provide significant benefits to the business, and they extend far beyond the P&L impact. The events of the last 18 months have really proven the importance of procurement departments and non-financial performance incentives; those non-financial performance metrics have become more integral to the priorities for procurement. That being said, we recognise the need to get the basics right first so it’s about having clarity on rules and responsibilities, both within the department and the business. 

What have you seen by way of sector differences or trends?

The most interesting thing for me, having come from a strong background in oil and gas, is that a lot of the areas of focus that I’ve talked about – specifically identifying areas of improvement and what functional excellence can look like – are very much sector agnostic. The tactical interventions do vary depending on each client, so the areas of focus will always vary – but that’s true within any sector. We’ve seen that transcend into others. The fundamentals of what good looks like in procurement are, we’ve observed, sector agnostic. 

That’s been very interesting. It’s allowed us to provide diversity of thought into new sectors. If you think about demand planning and category management, we’ve seen with some clients where it works very well, and we’ve been able to translate that knowledge and experience in working with them in embedding that, sustaining it, and building on it. We’ve been able to translate that into other sectors that are less familiar with the concepts of category management and category planning, and the importance of that in the upfront strategic planning where real value can be set for procurement.

One thing we do find in some sectors more than others is that the procurement department is seen as a transactional function, and there is absolutely a strong requirement for there to be good transacting within any procurement team. But in the context of functional excellence, what we try to do is to explain the value that can be delivered through moving beyond that phase of the department into the strategic, and doing that in an appropriately segmented way so that it is differentiated based on value and risk – and other relevant factors – but ensures that both the department and the business are focused on those contracts that are key to the delivery of the business.

How do you support your clients by driving change within their procurement departments?

We work on ensuring that the focus is in the right place to deliver value, getting the transacting right and then also, of course, post-award. The contract is then executed, and it’s not about necessarily just putting it on the shelf and leaving the business to manage it. Certainly, for a number of contracts, it’s about managing those contracts for delivery and being clear on the role that the procurement department plays in that process. A further development on that is, again, how many of those need to be strategically managed? How do you strategically manage the relationship with key suppliers to, again, further leverage the value through innovation, being creative, and working together to further enhance the value that can be achieved?

The case for change is important because people’s response will be, “What’s in it for me? We’ve done it like this for years and it’s been fine, so help me understand.” And you need to kind of take people on that journey of change. Clarity on single-point decision making, understanding that when a decision is taken, that’s not the start of a conversation on the matter – it clarifies the need to move on. 

Tell us about your sister company, Promitheia Procurement.

Promitheia Procurement was established 2020. It is an online platform for procurement templates and also advisory services. It’s a web-based system so anyone can go on and buy, and download the whole series of procurement templates across the whole life cycle. It ranges from demand planning, strategy setting to people and competencies, and skills matrices, development planning, and performance management, through the procurement life cycle itself, through the transacting, into post-award, and supplier relationship management. So, they’re documents which can become available to companies at the click of a button, which is fantastic. It allows us to diversify further into new sectors who may otherwise not be able to come to us for the full suite of consultancy services. 

What do you enjoy most about your work? 

We have that real passion for procurement and want to really be ambassadors for what good can look like – and we want the clients to feel that as well. It can never really be implemented and sustained based on a consultant coming in and telling you how to do it. It’s very much about working alongside the client in their particular environment to understand how best to do that.

Procurement transformation is at the heart of our chat with Tod Cooper, Director Procurement at the Department of Corrections in New Zealand

This month’s exclusive cover story features Tod Cooper, Director Procurement at the Department of Corrections in New Zealand, who reveals all regarding the strategic restructure of the procurement function.

Read the latest issue here!

Procurement transformation is at the heart of our chat with Tod Cooper, Director Procurement at the Department of Corrections in New Zealand
Procurement transformation is at the heart of our chat with Tod Cooper, Director Procurement at the Department of Corrections in New Zealand

Most of us like to think that if we were presented with the chance to do something positive and societally significant for our country and its indigenous people, in particular, we would.

And that’s exactly the opportunity Tod Cooper, Director Procurement at the Department of Corrections in New Zealand, has grasped with both hands, with the department’s dedication to supporting Māori. 

Business transformation through leadership has been a major part of Cooper’s working life, preparing him for the challenges he’s faced at the Department of Corrections.

“It’s a big personal passion for me,” he says. “I’m not a guy who likes to sit still. Continuous improvement is a big thing. I’m always asking myself how we can make things better, looking at new ways of re-engineering, and getting good people around me who can enact my vision of things.

I’m a typical extrovert who’s easily distracted by the next thing, so it’s really important to have a good leadership team around me that understands the vision and can pull me back in.”

Elsewhere, we also speak with Dean Bennett, VP of Procurement, and Mike Cowling, VP of Global IT at BeiGene, about the benefits of a strong collaboration between procurement and technology, and what makes the company so special. Plus, we have an exclusive ‘provenance in the supply chain piece’ from IBM’s Blockchain Leader, Winston Yong.

Enjoy the issue!

Andrew Woods, Editorial Director

Featuring in the ProcureTech100 Digital Yearbook, sponsor IBM provides an insight into why data is key for ESG and procurement…

Featuring in the ProcureTech100 Digital Yearbook, sponsor IBM provides an insight into why data is key for ESG and procurement partnerships.


Sheri Hinish, IBM

Sheri Hinish, Executive Partner and Offering Leader for IBM’s Sustainable Supply Chain, Finance and Circularity, gives her verdict on how technology is facilitating change across procurement so organisations can become more sustainable, which has become a significant priority.


Sustainability is a significant priority right now, across every enterprise and its entire operations, particularly with regards to procurement – representing a massive challenge, as well as numerous opportunities, to CPOs and CSCOs alike. And technology is enabling much of this dramatic change.

Technology is a force for good, helping organisations in key areas of their supply chains, such as responsible sourcing, risk management, calibrating SDG (sustainable development goals) ambitions with ESG (environmental, social and governance) action and green operations, while building intelligent supply chains for sustainable decision orchestration.

“IBM has been a steward in sustainability for over 50 years now,” IBM’s Sheri Hinish explains. “We also possess deep research through our Institute for Business Value (IBV) that marries the convergence of tech with ethical innovation to improve the world we share as well as the human condition. IBM works closely with the IBV, our ecosystem and how we protect the organisation’s social license to operate by creating resilient communities and impact through sourcing and procurement. These concerns are front of mind for CPOs and CSCOs right now.”

Sheri Hinish, IBM

Delivering ESG through Tech IBM’s partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in Scope 3 emissions leverages its blockchain solutions to track, measure and report on net-zero commitments.

“Zero carbon is an interesting focus, as we’re actually seeing net-zero being challenged, particularly in agriculture and industry consumer packaged goods,” she explains. “However, having a regenerative and climate restorative mindset, while thinking about creating shared-value and equity are, in my opinion, just as vital to our planet’s needs when you imagine this through the lens of supplier engagement, particularly with diverse suppliers and SMBs, supplier development, sharing best practices, building a longer table in educating responsible partner sourcing, creating safe and supportive work environments, and fundamentally creating social impact through community building and investment. Social values of brands show up in supplier relationships, experience, access and development.”


CPOstrategy – Issue 28

Read the full article from Sheri Hinish in Issue 28 of CPOstrategy.

Welcome to the first CPOstrategy of 2022! We decided to kick off the new year in style with our best…

Welcome to the first CPOstrategy of 2022!

We decided to kick off the new year in style with our best issue yet!

Our exclusive cover story features a fascinating discussion with Sean Park, CPO of software organisation Splunk, talks us through transforming the procurement function from one that was deliberately immature, to the powerhouse of efficiency it’s now becoming.

Read the latest issue here!

When Splunk brought Park in to join the team, he knew it was time to make a change and get serious about the bottom line. The decision was made to put in place a more centralised procurement and sourcing function; Splunk was rapidly growing, and it didn’t want friction, but rather controls and guardrails in place to scale the company. It was very much a natural evolution for the business – a pattern Park has watched occur before. This put him in an ideal position to push the new vision forward.

“The first step was to undertake an assessment of the function,” he says. “What are our strategic objectives? How does that fit in with the corporate objectives, or those of the finance team? What are our processes and policies? How are we resourcing the organisational structure? How do we source? Do we want a category management structure or a business unit focus?”

Elsewhere, we have an incredible rollcall of equally fascinating articles on Atotech, Beeline, Delivery Hero, plus an engrossing selection of Procurement Leaders’ procurement transformation success stories. Plus, much, much more.

Enjoy the issue!

Andrew Woods, Editorial Director

Procurement Leaders’ CPO Compass report – the indispensable navigational document for today’s CPO – is published this week

Procurement Leaders’ CPO Compass report – the indispensable navigational document for today’s CPO – is published this week. One of its many insights focuses on the drive for new capabilities within the procurement ecosystem.

The past few years have been nothing short of transformational for procurement, while the road ahead looks just as challenging as it has ever been. Supply chain issues dominate the headlines, and with sustainability affecting every way in which an enterprise operates, procurement teams are at the centre of a massive global slipstream. Of course, within every challenge there is also opportunity for more growth and change, and the CPO Compass report is an indispensable device for today’s CPO navigating these massive operational and technological shifts.

The 2022 CPO Compass report has been split into three major trends within the procurement space to address the current concerns of procurement leaders, globally: volatility, sustainability and new capabilities. Ahead of its publication this month, CPOstrategy has gained a sneak preview of the report to reveal a little of the focus on new capabilities just to whet your appetite…

46% of CPOs are creating new roles and responsibilities in 2022.

The next step for us is to focus on creating a procurement ambassador role. They will be able to better able to sit within business units and bring the right cast of characters from category management ranks to focus on the business units’ needs.” CPO, technology company

The CPO Compass report delves into the operational revolution that has redrawn the physical and virtual maps of every enterprise and how that has affected procurement in particular, as companies harness new technologies and remote working set against constant disruption. ‘The Call For New Capabilities’ looks at how procurement has emerged as a key partner in driving new ethical transformations, focusing on critical areas such as working practices, and how environmental impact and community engagement can only be meaningfully addressed if organisations have full visibility of their supply chains. The function has an opportunity to play a pivotal role in coordinating value-chain partners around these strategic priorities.

This opportunity requires a transition in procurement’s role from a tactical, back-office function to a leading business partner. This transition is already driving a transformation in processes, skills and digital capabilities within mature procurement functions. It continues a longer-term trend towards CPOs seeking to deliver a more strategic value proposition which delivers value beyond cost-minimisation. This enhanced value proposition is built from enhanced supplier partnerships, with leading practitioners pushing a culture of collaborative relationships beyond simply delivering on cost savings.”

It’s obvious that with the massive operational changes hitting procurement and beyond, CPOs are going to need to recruit and upskill existing talent so that enterprises can “adapt at pace to create a more collaborative, connected and nimble function”. And these new roles will need to take advantage of digital solutions to automate and provide services and data to the rest of the business, as well as providing stakeholder-facing capability.

The report cites a new breed of specialists needed to meet these new responsibilities. These new roles often involve coordinating activities around emerging priorities, with these individuals often representing specialist expertise; around risk, supplier-enabled innovation, sustainability and diversity. A second set of specialist roles are also evolving around enablement, building out capabilities which, whilst not directly associated with these areas, support the function on overall execution.”

The unprecedented times we live in, whether it’s the effects and risks of a global pandemic or the drive to a more sustainable way of living and working, have placed an incredible amount of pressure onto the procurement function and this has a direct influence on the types of supporting and innovative technology that CPOs require. “CPOs are looking for supporting technology and the demand is on technology providers to offer deeper, more flexible and more focused capability. The challenge for CPOs and digital procurement leads is optimizing their mix of digital solutions to support a growing breadth of organisational objectives. While for some that means focusing on best-of-breed providers, others see value in becoming more comfortable moving beyond the bounds of established providers and working with start-up technology, while others look to platforms and big-name providers to provide more versatility and leverage their scale to greater effect.”

The full report outlines many solutions to these challenges and much, much more… so register here to make sure you don’t miss out!

A major recent step for Philips has been casting aside traditional indirect procurement and implementing a new-and-exciting approach under the umbrella of Spend Management. We take an exclusive look behind the scenes…

Our exclusive cover story this month takes an in-depth look inside the procurement function at Philips; the leading Netherlands-based health technology company, which is improving people’s health and well-being through meaningful innovation.

Read the latest issue here!

To achieve the company’s aim to improve 2.5 billion lives per year by 2030, Philips has been through a major transformation in the past decade. Besides overhauling the business, the functions – including indirect procurement – also needed to adapt.

A major recent step for Philips has been casting aside traditional indirect procurement and implementing a new-and-exciting approach under the umbrella of Spend Management. Alexander Visser is the Leader of Spend Management, and the architect of this change and he takes us through this incredible transformation…

Plus, we speak exclusively to CPO of Ooredoo Algeria, Saber Chrigui, who describes how he took the branch from struggling to a shining example for the entire group, through managing waste and costs, and dramatically repositioning procurement. We also catch up with Gudrun Gunnarsdottir, Procurement Manager at Vodafone Iceland, about how being based on a tiny island is no barrier to procurement excellence and keeping a finger on the pulse of technological advancement…

And another great exclusive this month, focuses on RHI Magnesita (RHIM); the global leader in refractories – its refractory products are used in all the world’s high-temperature industrial processes. The creation of RHI Magnesita (following the merger of RHI and Magnesita in 2017) saw the continuing transformation of procurement from a cost-saving function into a strategic business partner gather pace. We speak to RHI’s Michael Leitner, VP Procurement Europe & CIS & Turkey…

Enjoy the issue!

Andrew Woods

Majority of European suppliers not being asked to prove they protect against labour violations, while 76% of UK suppliers are unprepared for new changes to the Modern Slavery Act…

Research from Ivalua, a leading global spend management cloud provider, has revealed more than half (58%) of European suppliers said buyers rarely or never include responsible labour practices in contracts or agreements. The report also identified a lack of consistent monitoring of labour standards. Just half (50%) of European suppliers said they are frequently asked by their buyers to provide proof that they protect against unsafe working conditions. These figures were even lower for other labour standards such as child labour (47%), modern slavery (45%), and below minimum wage pay (42%).

The study, conducted by Coleman Parkes Research, surveyed 300 suppliers across the UK, France, Germany and Switzerland to explore labour standards throughout the supply chain. The findings show that buyers are not enforcing standards for responsible labour practices, with over three quarters (78%) of European suppliers reporting they don’t have fully implemented plans in place to detect and eliminate modern slavery in their supply chains.

In the UK, organisations are facing more pressure to identify unethical labour practices. The UK government has proposed new amendments to the Modern Slavery Act, to include fines and even prison sentences for the most serious cases of unethical labour practices in the supply chain. However, most organisations are unprepared for this, with over three quarters (76%) of UK suppliers not implementing plans to mitigate the risk of fines due to the proposed changes.                        

“Combatting poor labour practices must not be treated as a “box-checking exercise”. As regulations get tougher, organisations must keep track, as the business impact of unethical labour standards can be extremely damaging,” commented Alex Saric, CMO at Ivalua. “The responsibility to tackle unethical labour practices extends to the entire supply chain, from buyers all the way to downstream suppliers. But change starts at the top, and buyers need to start the conversation with suppliers early to make it clear that poor labour practices will no longer be tolerated. Incentives could be offered, but the message should be clear: we will only work with suppliers that have certifiable labour standards.”

With regulations becoming tougher, and responsible labour becoming a more pressing concern for policy makers, investors and consumers, organisations are increasingly recognising the need to work alongside suppliers to improve their labour standards. This means collaborating with immediate suppliers – as well as their suppliers’ suppliers – to drive long-term positive change.

However, the majority of suppliers are not fully prepared to root out unethical labour practices. According to the report, suppliers currently do not have plans in place to eliminate below minimum wage pay (77%), child labour (76%), unsafe working conditions (75%) or unreasonable working hours (78%).

“The responsibility to identify and eliminate unethical labour falls on every tier of the supply chain. But buyers must bolster their ESG strategies to drive meaningful change and reduce the risk of non-compliance,” notes Saric. “To make this a reality, procurement must get smarter. Crucially, organisations must have adequate data to identify and avoid partners with unethical labour practices. They require 360-degree visibility of their immediate suppliers, sub-tier suppliers, and subcontractors. To do this, organisations must have the right tools in place to ensure the reliability of data, and facilitate timely and effective decision-making. Otherwise, instances of poor labour standards can easily slip through the net.”

To download the Ivalua 2021 Responsible Labour Report, “Combatting unethical labour: How organisations can collaborate with suppliers to uphold working standards”, please visit: https://info.ivalua.com/uk/report-responsible-labour

As reported by Printweek, Critiqom – an omnichannel comms specialist – has secured a multi-million pound contract with Scottish Procurement,…

As reported by Printweek, Critiqom – an omnichannel comms specialist – has secured a multi-million pound contract with Scottish Procurement, for the provision of postal services. The agreement will last four years.

This partnership will make a big difference to organisations across Scotland, including central government, fire, health, local authorities, police, universities and colleges, and more. It will mean that Critiqom is able to bring more channel choice to businesses receiving transactional and business-critical documents.

This will also improve and modernise access to Scottish Procurement’s services.

“This is a transformational agreement. It is an opportunity to look at the bigger picture and to use our knowledge to accelerate change for public sector organisations in Scotland,” said Critiqom director Gerry Crawley.

“We know that we can deliver greater efficiencies and cost savings by encouraging the public sector in Scotland to adopt a new approach that embraces digital technologies. 

“As a Scottish-based operation, where possible we want to provide the shortest distance between manufacturing and recipient. We want to change the way that organisations think and showcase how hybrid mail and digital communications can deliver huge benefits and economies of scale.

“Our focus during this process was always on delivering the greatest value to the customer. With access to a portfolio of omnichannel services, we can improve the way that public sector organisations communicate, making the preferences of the recipient a priority.”

The UK government has approved continuation of a key contract for engineering design and safety case services provided by a…

The UK government has approved continuation of a key contract for engineering design and safety case services provided by a joint venture at Sellafield site in West Cumbria.

The Design Services Alliance (DSA), a 15-year contract with a total sanction value of £1.5bn, will continue into its third five-year tranche from 2022 to 2027.

The DSA was originally set up in 2012 with Sellafield Ltd as a partner working as one team, alongside AXIOM (a four-entity joint venture comprising Assystem, Jacobs, Mott MacDonald and Progressive (Aecom and Cavendish Nuclear)).

Working with the broader supply chain, the alliance has since delivered cashable, non-cashable and future benefits totalling more than £220m.

The DSA has also helped to make Sellafield safer sooner by cutting 744 months from hazard reduction schedules.

Paul Adams, head of the DSA, said: “This announcement is just reward for a lot of hard work by the people involved in the alliance. It recognises how we value each other across the alliance and our shared commitment to perform with passion, pride and pace.

“We are committed to continuous improvement and our belief that we can deliver even better results between now and 2027.

“The DSA makes a real difference at Sellafield by challenging accepted ways of doing things, removing unnecessary scope, making procurement smarter, and reducing project costs with radical new technologies and lean techniques.”

Ian Belger, head of design engineering and safety case at Sellafield Ltd, added: “This is great news for the individuals and teams working in the DSA and a recognition of their contribution and effort.

“Our alliance with the DSA partners gives Sellafield Ltd access to a range of key capabilities and reach back into some of the world’s largest and most capable nuclear industry contractors.

“This has enabled Sellafield Ltd’s design engineering capability to deliver significant value over the past nine years.

“Our challenge now is to build on this by doing even better and delivering on our digital, sustainability and carbon targets.

“This latest sanction from government will allow the alliance to continue providing benefits as it concludes its 15-year mission.”

The Digital Insight team decided to find out more about procurement’s relationship with data, intelligence and its maturity…

Modern procurement has undergone so much change in recent years, it is finally achieving recognition as a true strategic business enabler. Empowered by data-driven insights and digitised systems and tools, procurement occupies a unique position at the heart of an enterprise’s operations, supply chains and growth.  How are leading companies creating sustainable digital capabilities and how do companies do this at scale?

The Digital Insight team decided to take a deeper dive into this fascinating area and assembled an incredible panel of digital procurement CEOs to find out more and share procurement’s relationship with data, intelligence (and its maturity), as well as the opportunities emerging from these insights and the technology that captures them too. You can watch the full video discussion here…

The panel covered

Data in procurement

  • With more access to data in procurement than ever before, how does this differ from 5-10 years ago?
  • Where is this data coming from?
  • What does this mean for the role of procurement?

Evaluating and dealing with risk

  • Is there more risk in the supply chain now than ever before?
  • How has evaluating risk changed for better or for worse?
  • Are the risks becoming increasingly dynamic and changing?

Opportunities in procurement

  • With the capturing and understanding of data, is this now a unique opportunity for procurement, to act as an “intelligence hub” across multiple domains from risk to sustainability and cost to innovation?
  • How do we capitalise on this opportunity?
  • What role will ProcureTech vendors/players have in this?
  • How important is it for business to adopt a continuous approach with respect to the data that they gather on their vendors and how do they feed this data into their digital procurement platforms?

Joining The Digital Insight were…

Ilya Levtov (CEO Craft)

Craft serves large companies (Fortune 100, FTSE 100) and government entities with comprehensive insight and intelligence on their supply chains.

Success doesn’t happen overnight

“…the challenge and struggle that a lot of enterprises are finding themselves in is how to filter down and get to the right answers. The only thing we’ve seen reliably successful is to take a spirit of experimentation and curiosity and not to be hell bent on getting the answer or a positive ROI for the CPO next month, but to say, it’s going to take some back and forth. That’s the way we personally love to work with clients. We say: there’s a ton of stuff you know, there’s a ton of stuff we know, but we’ve got to work together and iterate with different data sets, different models, different risk models, in order to come to the right answers. It’s going to take some time, but we will make progress if you take a medium to long-term view. That’s when you’re going to get those answers and those models working… not overnight.” Ilya Levtov (CEO Craft)

Aleksandr Yampolskiy (CEO Security Scorecard)

Security Scorecard pioneered the way in which it collects all kinds of data points from all over the world and how it uses those data points to reduce them to a score representing the likelihood of a company to suffer a data breach. Security Scorecard is utilised by over 1,500 plus top enterprises all over the world to hold their suppliers and third-party vendors accountable, and to make insurance underwriting decisions.

Now is the time for procurement!

“Now is actually a great time to be in procurement. Procurement is being disrupted through the proliferation of new types of information and data that enable us to make better decisions. For the first time, it makes it possible for procurement to move from being a support function, to being a business enabler and a value creator at the forefront of the innovation. It’s a very exciting time to be in the procurement space today.” Aleksandr Yampolskiy (CEO Security Scorecard)

Cynthia Figge (CEO CSRHub)

CSRHub is a big data platform and one of the largest aggregators of structured ESG data, covering companies worldwide.

Risk in the supply chain

“…risk has gone up dramatically in the supply chain, at least from an ESG or sustainability perspective. Some of the data has been backward looking, in other words, if there is some great disruption or something bad happens, then there are news ripples and that is important. But now where I’m seeing companies shifting is they really want to know about a company’s performance across all these dimensions of environment, social and governance, so that there can be some sense of predictability and an ability to screen across actual performance issues in advance of some kind of a bad event. We’re seeing a demand for that data and that understanding of the suppliers in the value stream: are they really measuring up? Are there some risks there in terms of what we can see around performance and benchmarking?” Cynthia Figge (CEO CSRHub)

Lance Younger CEO of ProcureTech

ProcureTech are building the digital future of procurement. Solving the most pressing social, environmental and economic challenges requires new thinking and a new platform for procurement leaders, entrepreneurs and the digital procurement ecosystem.

ProcureTech is home to the ProcureTech100 – the definitive global 100 pioneering digital procurement solutions.

Together with ProcureTechSOURCE and ProcureTechEXPERTS, they will accelerate, smarter solution selection and digital procurement ecosystems that will empower procurement transformation.

The tipping point of procurement

“…We’re at a tipping point for procurement in terms of a transformation, which began at the start of this decade. Most procurement functions, if you were to assess them from a digitalisation or data perspective, will score three to four, maybe five (out of ten). You have one or two that are leading lights, but I think that procurement overall is struggling to keep up with the changes in data access and data proliferation and not because of the technology, but because of the people. We don’t have enough people with the right skills to be able to help procurement transform at the pace at which we need it to change.”

According to Spend Matters, CIPS (the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply Chain) and Hays Procurement and Supply Chain have…

According to Spend Matters, CIPS (the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply Chain) and Hays Procurement and Supply Chain have released their annual salary survey support, showing big increases in salaries for procurement professionals in 2020 – way above the national average of professions (3.3%).

For North America, the salary increase was 4.6%; in the UK, it was 5%; in Europe, 6%, in the Middle East, 7.9%; and in sub-Saharan Africa, a huge 9.7% increase.

CIPS and Hays compiled its research by surveying over 6,000 procurement professionals. Its aim is to provide a benchmark for salaries and bonuses across the industry.

“The CIPS/Hays report is about much more than salaries,” said Bill Michels, VP of CIPS Americas, in a press release. “It’s a valuable read for any executive who leads a team, as it offers an insightful profile of the environment in which procurement professionals work.”

The findings show that procurement is becoming increasingly vital to the way in which businesses operate – something that has been highlighted by the global pandemic.

One interesting statistic in the study is that 71% of respondents said the perception of procurement improved in the last year.

“It is very gratifying to see the strong recognition of the value procurement teams bring to an organization,” Michels said in the release. “For more than a year, supply managers have overcome tremendous challenges to keep organizations safe and producing the goods and services the world needs. We can expect that recognition to continue as procurement pivots from a need to ‘keep us going, whatever the cost’ to ‘keep us going, and manage our costs.’ “

According to The News, Pakistan’s largest oil refinery – Byco – has signed an agreement to implement SAP Ariba DSN…

According to The News, Pakistan’s largest oil refinery – Byco – has signed an agreement to implement SAP Ariba DSN (Digital Supplier Network) and Sourcing Suite – the first in its nation.

Byco stated: “The initiative will automate the procurement process enabling a paperless process, significantly eliminating errors and unnecessary delays, as encountered in traditional procurement to the payment process.”

Fayaz Ahmad Khan, Vice President Commercial Byco Petroleum, added: “Byco has always been at the forefront of innovation and implementation of processes that are in line with global best practices.

“The deployment of SAP ARIBA DSN and Sourcing Suite will be another first by Byco as an industry leader in Pakistan.”

Fayaz Ahmad Khan, Vice President Commercial Byco Petroleum

He stated that, not only will this move improve efficiency in procurement, but also create better transparency and visibility across the business for all stakeholders.

Welcome to another bumper issue of CPOstrategy magazine…

Our cover star this issue, Willem Mutsaerts, is both the CPO and CSO of Givaudan, a global industry leader creating game-changing innovation in food and beverages, and inspiring creations in the world of scent and beauty. The duality of his role is quite unique and makes for a fascinating discussion as to how procurement makes all the difference for Givaudan’s sustainable ambition. It’s a revealing insight…

Read the latest issue here!

Will also dive deep into Procurement Leaders’ latest report Procurement as a Growth Engine (partnered by Ivalua), which explores how procurement can bring new opportunities for growth, as forward-thinking business leaders become increasingly aware of the huge potential that exists in the upstream supply base.

Elsewhere, we move away from what procurement can do in the private sector to what it can do for the local communities of the world, specifically, procurement in West Mercia Police. We peek behind the curtain of a major procurement transformation that will see the local UK police force empower its officers to protect and serve their local communities.

There are also fascinating insights from Lance Younger, Dr Elouise Epstein and many many more..

Enjoy the issue!

Dale Benton

The latest episode of the Digital Insight welcomes Sam Achampong, Head of CIPS MENA…

The latest episode of Digital Insight welcomes Sam Achampong, Head of CIPS MENA as we discuss procurement maturity and how the Middle East is on a journey towards being recognised as a procurement benchmark for the rest of the world.

“Procurement, in the Middle East was still a developing function and to some extent it still lagged behind other parts of the world in terms of overall maturity and recognition of the function itself. That’s where we were pre-COVID and I think everyone involved in the profession at any level recognizes that. Significant efforts were being made to improve that and they have been going on for many years to try and elevate procurement. The efforts to bring the full procurement supply chain really to the fore in the region had been going on for a while. COVID has accelerated those efforts significantly.

Can the Middle East become THE global benchmark for procurement? 

Undoubtedly. I think, it’s the old cliche of “it’s not a question of if, but when”. You have is organizations out here who are very ambitious, innovative and very keen to be at the forefront of business operations and not only maturity but performance.

When it comes to procurement, they’re very ambitious, very keen to have the best systems in place. Those that have that ambition, in this day and age, are very blessed that there is an abundance of technology that serves procurement and supply chain that they’re able to utilize, and there’s a huge adoption of technology relevant to procurement and supply chain, in this region. For that reason alone, I can really see the organizations out here really leapfrogging others around the world and fulfilling that ambition to be world-leading where it comes to procurement and supply chain.

You see a real adoption of all sorts of solutions, whether it’s dashboards, eSourcing systems, supplier relation management systems, or a whole gamut of solutions that allow practitioners to be a lot more strategic and less transactional.

The added benefit that organizations have here is that, at the point that they are fully versed and fully engaged with procurement at the very highest level, they already have these tools at their disposal. They don’t have to learn them. They don’t have to unlearn anything. So ,they’re perfectly placed to really be world-leading.”


With procurement taking its rightful place in the limelight it has opened the door for incredible opportunities for procurement, but…

With procurement taking its rightful place in the limelight it has opened the door for incredible opportunities for procurement, but only if we work to capitalise on them. Dr Louise Epstein (Partner, Kearney) and Lance Younger (CEO & Founder, ProcureTech) return to look at what we can do right now to seize this moment, one of the most important moments in the history of procurement.

Why supplier data can make or break procurement

Supplier data is the lifeblood of procurement and leaders rely on the strategic insights they get from data analysis to make decisions that reduce risk, boost cost savings and drive performance. 

Even so, if the data is faulty, the insights will also be faulty, and a surprising 81% of companies say they are not completely confident in their supplier data. There are a variety of reasons for this:   

  • Suppliers may not always keep their data fully updated in self-service portals.
  • Information isn’t enriched with independently verified data to the level procurement teams need, to include diversity status, proof of compliance, data protection policies and more.
  • Researching, assessing and auditing suppliers can be tedious and time-consuming. This means organizations make decisions on incomplete or unreliable data or skip the process altogether.

These challenges have long plagued the procurement function. The issue has come to the forefront of procurement discussions over the past 18 months for many reasons, but most notably because organizations have had to make rapid decisions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, have increased concerns about business integrity, and face calls from government and civil society for greater diversity and equality of opportunity. 

Supplier financial health also remains a top concern. According to riskmethods’ new report, the biggest supplier risks aren’t directly related to COVID. In fact, several key indicators of supplier financial instability increased over the last half of 2020, including ownership structure, field issues such as product safety risks and force majeure warnings. Reliable supplier data is instrumental in meeting these challenges and building supply chain resiliency, agility and diversity. 

WATCH NOW: Why reliable supplier data matters

Here are three ways reliable supplier data supercharges procurement:

Drives agility with deeper visibility.  

One of the most important lessons we’ve learned from COVID is the criticality of supplier diversification. When production slowdowns, closed borders and fluctuations in customer demand caused global supply shortages, organizations had to adapt quickly and find alternatives. Outdated or incorrect supplier data prevents procurement from confidently deciding on the fly which supplier is the next best to tap. 

Total visibility and a deep understanding of the supplier base – capabilities, current orders, past performance, financial risk indicators, whether they’re third-party risk certified, have been audited for cybersecurity vulnerabilities and more – are critical for being able to respond and bounce back from unexpected supplier events. Without this 360-degree view, how do you know if your backup supplier can deliver? What if they can deliver, but are out of compliance or close to bankruptcy, which opens you up to new risk?

Disruptions are inevitable. Reliable data puts procurement in a position to effectively navigate change, reduce risk and take advantage of new opportunities.

Boosts supplier diversity with detailed insights.

Increasing spend with diverse suppliers is the right thing to do because it contributes to social and economic value by helping traditionally underrepresented groups that typically encounter barriers to growth. Diversity is also good for business. According to a study by The Hackett Group, nearly all diverse suppliers meet or exceed buyers’ expectations. Companies that also allocate 20% or more of their spend to diverse suppliers attribute 10-15% of their annual sales to supplier diversity programs. A diverse supply base supports marginalized groups and advances innovation, opens more channels for goods and services, drives prices down and ultimately contributes to bottom line success. 

Poor data quality is often a roadblock to reaping these benefits. Organizations don’t always have clear insight into supplier diversity status and which companies are considered historically underutilized vendors — minority, women, veteran, LGBT-owned or Small Business Administration-defined small business vendors. This makes it incredibly difficult to understand the inclusivity of the supplier network and where to boost representation and spend. Reliable supplier data equips organizations to confidently identify and fill gaps and invest in the suppliers that directly support company values and initiatives, whether that’s diversity and inclusion, corporate social responsibility, sustainability or another important cause. 

Strengthens supplier relationships with one source of truth.

If data is the lifeblood of the function, supplier relationships are the heart. Strong, collaborative partnerships drive product quality, risk reduction, competitive advantage, growth and more. Cultivating that type of relationship with strategic suppliers requires intentionally managed insights. 

Reliable and centralized data helps procurement get an intimate and complete understanding of suppliers – procurement history, supply categories, financial stability, purchasing and contract records and any other signs of the supplier’s relationship to the organization. This insight enables teams to segment out business critical partners, identify any risky partnerships and move forward mutually beneficial opportunities that establish trust and unlock new value. The better you know, communicate and work with your suppliers, the more likely these partners are to help you address your own needs.

The bottom line

Not having reliable data to guide procurement decisions is like driving to an unfamiliar destination without a map or GPS. You might eventually get there, but you’ll likely have taken a wrong turn or two, and spent more time and gas money than needed, in the process. In fact, Gartner research found that poor data quality can cost businesses, anywhere between $9.7 and $14.2 million a year. 

With access to stronger and more reliable supplier data, procurement organizations can broaden their supplier network in a meaningful way that supercharges strategy, maximizes effectiveness and speeds the path to achieving critical objectives. 

Jim Bureau, CEO of JAGGAER

About the author

Jim Bureau is CEO of JAGGAER, which celebrated 25 years in business last year. Jim is responsible for the company’s overall vision to transcend customer experience by providing intuitive and intelligent spend management solutions that allow clients to transform their supply chain. 

Issue 23 of CPOstrategy is now live!

Procurement transformation is very often the name of the game in the pages of CPOstrategy, but what happens when that transformation acts as more of an enabler towards greater sustainability in the supply chain?

What does sustainability really mean to an organisation and how can procurement accelerate the conversation? Well, Renee Leong, CPO of Engie NA. says it’s a question of how we actually measure the value of procurement that’s important before looking at how it can help a company significantly improve its impact on the environment around it. We caught up with Renee as she discussed procurement and the company’s ongoing move away from fossil fuels.

“We have the power to actually influence how the product is being made and how the services are being offered to us so we can really help drive positive change to society,” she says.

We also caught up with Mahmoud Al Alawi, HCT Director of Procurement & Contracts, two years after launching a significant procurement transformation to see how the organisation continues to take procurement to new heights even during the challenging COVID19 pandemic. 

And finally, we speak with Douglas Klimak, CPO of Banco Bradesco, as he walks us through a procurement journey that will see an institute of Brazillian banking define a new age of procurement maturity. 

Enjoy the issue below


Opportunity knocks for digital procurement…

The Digital Insight podcast welcomes Dr Elouise Epstein, Partner at Kearney, and Lance Younger, CEO and Founder of ProcureTech to discuss the continued evolution of digital procurement.

Are we witnessing one of the most significant moments in the history and future of procurement?

I could spend hours talking about this. Where we are is a great place and we need to take the opportunity, because it may not come again, for another 20 years,” – Dr. Elouise Epstein, Partner at Kearney.

I’d hate to look back and for people to not to have taken the opportunity. It’s not just the leader, it’s anybody who works in and around the procurement space. There’s so many different things to capitalize on, you just need to decide on which one it’s going to be and make the most of it,” – Lance Younger CEO & Founder of ProcureTech

Control towers are the key to end-to-end visibility of the supply chain…

This year, supply chain organisations have faced unparalleled levels of disruption as consumer demand changed overnight. Yet, despite many of these businesses having already begun their digital transformation journey, the majority found themselves ill-equipped to respond to sudden changes, with research from InterSystems discovering that this was largely due to data silos and disparate systems causing a lack of flexibility and visibility. 

As supply chain businesses continue to experience significant and sudden changes in demand, increasing resilience, visibility, and agility in the supply chain is critical with the control tower emerging as one of the most effective ways to achieve this. 

What is a control tower?

The concept of a control tower is simple, if not yet widely implemented. According to Gartner control towers combine people, processes, data and organisation, supported by a set of technology-enabled capabilities, for transparency and coordination. In practice, this means that supply chain businesses can use a control tower to gain a real-time, comprehensive view across different parts of the organisation, as well as of data silos and applications both within their enterprise and those of their partners, such as manufacturers and distributors. 

In short, a control tower removes data silos to provide a real-time, trusted view of the supply chain, and consequently offers businesses more visibility. In turn, this gives supply chain organisations a better foundation from which to make more accurate and insightful business decisions to respond to changes in demand and circumstances in real-time.

Getting the most from control towers

Gaining comprehensive control tower functionality isn’t something that can be achieved with an off-the-shelf solution – after all, every organisation has a unique set of processes, partners, and technology, as well as a custom set of goals and thresholds. Therefore, the most effective approach is to implement a control tower by implementing and customising a data management platform to create an environment within which businesses can connect all data sources and harmonise that data so that it’s consistent. In doing so, businesses can continue to leverage existing infrastructure, rather than ripping and replacing existing solutions. 

Using a data platform-driven approach to implementing a control tower also allows supply chain businesses to incorporate intelligence such as business rules, machine learning, and self-service analytics. As well as allowing them to gain more actionable insights from the data, it ensures that if a business analyst sees a potential problem, for example, that they can interrogate the data in a multitude of ways and visualise the data to understand the core drivers behind it. 

Ultimately, a successful control tower implementation enables organisations to diagnose an issue, notify relevant stakeholders, and then enable them to introspect and analyse the issue. Armed with this information, the analyst can then make smarter decisions and continuously learn from the solution. This approach offers supply chain businesses the simplicity and speed they need to be agile and resilient, so that they can make necessary changes to respond to fluctuations in demand and any problems that occur.

Gaining resilience and agility 

For supply chain organisations, this resilience and agility is vital not only to cope with the ongoing pandemic and unexpected surges in demand that it has brought for products such as bicycles and vitamin D, for instance, but also to ensure they futureproof their business. 

End-to-end supply chain visibility will help to ensure supply chain organisations are able to maintain adequate stock levels, while early warning alerts will allow them to identify and rectify any issues in terms of supply and demand before they occur. Meanwhile, advanced analytics allow organisations to make better predictions to foresee which products might be popular and when to better prepare for changes in the types and quantities of products that are needed.

Futureproofing the supply chain

Currently, the vast majority of supply chain businesses have the underlying data needed to gain the right insights to improve supply chain resilience, but they just don’t have the capabilities to make them visible and actionable. Control towers provide this functionality by breaking down data silos and helping supply chain organisations gain a comprehensive and real-time view of their organisation. However, like digital transformation, increasing resilience in the supply chain is a virtuous cycle, therefore, long-term success will only be achieved if businesses also have the right people, processes, infrastructure, and architectural approach, in place. 

How do we inspire, mentor and lead?

What does being a leader really mean to an individual and to an organisation?

We learn from a young age about the significance of mentorship and role models, people who can guide us, teach us and inform our development both in life and in our careers. 

But do we talk about them enough? When it comes to dealing with transformation, evolution and change, what then becomes of the leader, the mentor and the role model? 

Rachel Lemos, Director of procurement at Canadian Western Bank, joins Dale Benton to discuss how role models, mentors and leadership has and continues to defined her own professional journey. 

“Success is borne out of  the people surrounding you. You cannot think of success by looking to one person, one leader – that’s a failure right there”

In times of great change, the responsibility to lead and to inspire now rests upon her shoulders. In her journey, Lemos has come up against the barriers and the challenges of being a woman in largely male dominated industry space. These are a crucial part of hers and any female procurement professional’s story. 

“We’re far away from where we should be. But we see that there is a change, there’s a trend and there’s willingness for organisations to develop more and more women into leaders,” says Lemos. “My personal experience has shown that the more you progress in your career, the more challenges you face because you’re dealing with something that people are just not comfortable with. You have to be prepared to deal with the discomfort they may be experiencing with a lot of diplomacy and be prepared to start difficult conversations sometimes, and touch on the discomfort of other people when you are sitting at that leadership table.”

Enabling positive change for an organisation is the key for any leader and Lemos recognises the duality of her role; to enable positive change for a business from a procurement perspective, but also to enable positive change as a female leader and to open the doors to future female leaders. “I have a responsibility to coach, to inspire, to mentor,” she says, “I take personal time to do that. It’s not only with my team. Very often I get people asking me to help them and be their mentor. Interestingly enough, I have also received a few invites from men in procurement for mentoring too, which I’m always happy to provide.”

“It is a responsibility. You can’t just dismiss that. You’re not here just to look into your career path, but what you do in your career influences others. My advice for females is this: come with an open heart and with a winning attitude. Give your best, be humble to learn, step back when you need to and be ready to advance when the opportunity presents itself. Results are not gender based and they speak for themselves and they speak loud many times. So if you present results, if you do your best, you’re in the right place and you will succeed.”

Lemos also stops to take a moment and invest time assessing her teams in order to understand and support their career goals. Talent is crucial and when change is constant it can be easy to lose that talent as you focus too much on what can be, rather than what it is. “You should always keep an eye on and review what type of talent you have and how you are working to retain those talents,” she says. “It’s really the responsibility of the leader to assess, understand, see what the gaps are in your people. Can we build in time to develop? Do those individuals want to develop? Because you can’t just assume they are open to change.”

Rachel Lemos

“Results are not gender based and they speak for themselves and they speak loud many times”

This isn’t the sole responsibility of Lemos, or other CPOs, alone. It’s a shared responsibility of all levels of the leadership team to get together and have what she describes as “mature and honest” conversations that identify what the endgame is, what’s needed to get there, and identify any gaps in our teams that need to be addressed.

“Success is borne out of the people surrounding you. You cannot think of success by looking to one person, one leader – that’s a failure right there,” she says. “It’s becoming rare to see leaders taking interest in people’s journeys and career goals. You need to be candid. You need to be honest, and you need to be having those conversations and that’s how you grow your team and achieve any form of success.” 

What does it mean to be a leader?

How important is it, when undergoing a transformation journey, to focus on your role as a leader of people in order to deliver meaningful change? 

It’s certainly a key question for any procurement professional and in issue 22 of CPOstrategy, Rachel Lemos, Director, Procurement, Canadian Western Bank, tells us how she has spent the best part of her career looking to answer it. She sits down to tell us how procurement leaders are often guilty of losing sight of what we really need or what we are trying to solve in transformation.

“We’re looking to ride that wave of procurement transformation and say ‘Let’s do something about it!’, which ends up with us just breaking things that were working instead of solving problems,” she says. 

Stephany Lapierre, CEO of Tealbook, walks us through the 2021 Supplier Information Study, produced by Tealbook and Wakefield Research. After surveying 200 Procurement and Sourcing Executives (Director-level or higher), we have a clear picture of the current procurement and supplier data landscape.

Lance Younger, CEO and Founder of ProcureTech, joins us to explore where we are on the procurement technology maturity curve and what we can be doing to push the needle further. Hint: it includes the way we work with tech vendors! There’s also part two of our discussion with Michael Pleuger and Detlef Schultz, and insight into how the control tower is one of the most effective ways to achieve resilience, visibility, and agility in the supply chain.

Enjoy the issue!

Governments around the world have highlighted supply chains as an area for urgent attention in tackling cyber risk in the coming years…

Business ecosystems have expanded over the years owing to the many benefits of diverse, interconnected supply chains, prompting organizations to pursue close, collaborative relationships with their suppliers. However, this has led to increased cyber threats when organizations expose their networks to their supply chain and it only takes one supplier to have cybersecurity vulnerabilities to bring a business to its knees. To this point governments around the world have highlighted supply chains as an area for urgent attention in tackling cyber risk in the coming years.

Looking beyond your own perimeter

Over the last few years, many organizations have worked hard to improve their cyber defenses and are increasingly “harder targets”.  However, for these well-defended organizations, now the greatest weaknesses in their defenses are their suppliers, who are typically less well-defended but with whom they are highly interconnected. 

At the same time, the cyber threat landscape has intensified, and events of the past year have meant that security professionals are not only having to manage security in a remote working set up and ensure employees have good accessibility, they are also having to handle a multitude of issues from a distance whilst defending a much broader attack surface.  As a result, points of vulnerability have become even more numerous, providing an attractive space for bad actors to disrupt and extort enterprises.  Threats have escalated, including phishing and new variants of known threats, such as ransomware and Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, as well as increases in supply chain attacks.

But where supply chains are concerned, it is nearly impossible to effectively manage this risk unless you know the state of your suppliers’ defences and continually ensure that they are comparable to your own.  Organizations must deeply understand the cyber risks associated with the relationship and try to mitigate those risks to the degree possible.

However, that’s easier said than done. With the sending and receiving of information essential for the supply chain to function, the only option is to better identify and manage the risks presented.  This requires organizations to overhaul existing risk monitoring programs, technology investments and also to prioritize cyber and data security governance.

Ensuring the basics are in place

At the very least organizations should ensure that both they and their suppliers have the basic controls in place such as Cyber Essentials, NIST and ISO 27001, coupled with good data management controls. They should thoroughly vet and continuously monitor supply chain partners. They need to understand what data partners will need access to and why, and ultimately what level of risk this poses. Likewise, they need to understand what controls suppliers have in place to safeguard data and protect against incoming and outgoing cyber threats. This needs to be monitored, logged, and regularly reviewed and a baseline of normal activities between the organization and the supplier should be established.

As well as effective processes, people play a key role in helping to minimize risk. Cybersecurity training should be given so that employees are aware of the dangers and know how to spot suspicious activity. They should be aware of data regulation requirements and understand what data can be shared with whom. And they should also know exactly what to do in the event of a breach, so a detailed incident response plan should be shared and regularly reviewed.

IT best practices should be applied to minimize these risks. IT used effectively can automatically protect sensitive data so that when employees inevitably make mistakes, technology is there to safeguard the organization.

Securely transferring information between suppliers

So how do organizations transfer information between suppliers securely and how do they ensure that only authorized suppliers receive sensitive data? Here data classification tools are critical to ensure that sensitive data is appropriately treated, stored, and disposed of during its lifetime in accordance with its importance to the organization. Through appropriate classification, using visual labelling and metadata application to emails and documents, this protects the organization from the risk of sensitive data being exposed to unauthorized organizations further down the line through the supply chain.

Likewise, data that isn’t properly encrypted in transit can be at risk of compromise, so using a secure and compliant mechanism for transferring data within the supply chain will significantly reduce risks. Managed File Transfer (MFT) software facilitates the automated sharing of data with suppliers. This secure channel provides a central platform for information exchanges and offers audit trails, user access controls, and other file transfer protections.

Layering security defenses

Organizations should also layer security defences to neutralize any threats coming from a supplier.  Due to its ubiquity, email is a particularly vulnerable channel and one that’s often exploited by cybercriminals posing as a trusted partner. Therefore, it is essential that organizations are adequately protected from incoming malware, embedded Advanced Persistent Threats, or any other threat that could pose a risk to the business.

And finally, organizations need to ensure that documents uploaded and downloaded from the web are thoroughly analyzed, even if they are coming from a trusted source. To do this effectively, they need a solution that can remove risks from email, web and endpoints, yet still allows the transfer of information to occur.

Adaptive DLP allows the flow of information to continue while removing threats, protecting critical data, and ensuring compliance. It doesn’t become a barrier to business or impose a heavy management burden. This is important because traditional DLP ‘stop and block’ approaches have often resulted in too many delays to legitimate business communications and high management overheads associated with false positives.

Cyber criminal attacks set to rise

Many of the recent well publicized attacks have been nation state orchestrated. Going forward this is going to turn into criminal syndicate attacks. Cybercriminals already have the ransomware capabilities and now all they need to do is tie this up with targeting the supply chain.  Therefore, making sure you have the right technologies, policies and training programs in place should be a top priority for organizations in 2021. If you are interested in finding out more about protecting your supply chain, why not download our eGuide: Managing Cybersecurity Risk in the Supply Chain.”

New disruptions might push supply chains to their breaking point without immediate foundational improvements…

The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare widespread problems with supplier information on a global scale. While many procurement leaders had initially vowed to invest in supply chain resiliency, almost a year later, procurement leaders are still grappling with a cascade of issues surrounding poor supplier information. In fact, the 2021 Supplier Information Study, commissioned by supplier intelligence platform, Tealbook, revealed that 72% of procurement leaders are very concerned that their supplier intelligence has still not improved to crisis-proof supply chains.

The Tealbook Survey 2021 with Stephany Lapierre, CEO and CPO Strategy

“COVID-19 was a wake-up call to organizations around the world. Without a solid data foundation in place, the next big disruption could be even more disastrous for supply chains,” said Stephany Lapierre, CEO of #. “Access to up-to-date supplier data will afford companies the agility necessary to weather future disruptions, but also to make the most of supplier innovations in a rapidly evolving landscape.”

More information on the survey can be accessed here.

Watch Now: Why reliable supplier intelligence matter? with Stephany Lapierre (CEO of Tealbook) and Jim Bureau (CEO of JAGGAER)

The survey confirmed that agility was of utmost importance to procurement organizations, with 96% of procurement professionals saying that agility is even more important than cost savings for their companies’ bottom line. However, at a time when organizations need the ability to pivot and respond to disruptions, 57% of procurement leaders reported that they are still relying on antiquated, manual data entry; compounding the time and resources to update supplier information. Leaders also cited secondary concerns about their lack of a data foundation, including missing out on innovation (30%), falling behind the competition (25%) and not being able to determine ROI (22%). This inability to be agile is compounded by the cost of adding a single supplier record, which procurement leaders estimated to be $2431. 

Perhaps most alarmingly, a third of procurement leaders (33%) admit they have no way of knowing how much a supplier record costs.

Listen: Why reliable supplier data matters?

In short, there are a staggering number of critical issues that organizations are facing as a result of inadequate supplier data. Not only did 41% of procurement leaders find their supplier data inadequate during the COVID-19 pandemic, a concerning 26% found it mostly or completely inadequate, reflecting a data foundation that’s nowhere near strong enough to stand up to current or future supply chain disruptions.

The Tealbook Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 250 Procurement and Sourcing Executives director-level or above at companies with $200 million or more in annual revenue.

More information on the survey can be accessed here.

Digital twins could provide a unique information management solution to the current Covid-19 crisis, now and later, at any scale

That’s certainly what Michael Jansen, CEO and Founder of Cityzenith believes, as he joined Dale Benton to discuss the booming digital twin technology market and how it can help prevent and respond to something like the COVID19 pandemic.

According to a recent report from ABI Research, the digital twin market is expected to grow from $3.8bn, as of 2019, to $35.8bn per year by 2025, with more than 500 urban digital twins expected to be in use. 

So what’s behind this expected growth? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, COVID19 has meant that now more than ever before we need to increase resilience and optimise resource management. 

Examples of digital twin technology can be seen all over the world. The most notable examples is in its use in urban planning, but we also see it in the healthcare industry to virtualise the healthcare experience in order to optimize patient care, cost, and performance. 

“Digital Twins developed to aggregate, manage, analyze, visualize, and predict information in today’s smartcities, manufacturing plants, and building construction sites, can be successfully re-purposed to provide a unique information management solution to the current Covid-19 crisis, now and later, at any scale”

Another example, and perhaps one of the more famous ones, is in aerospace. Back in the 1970s, NASA developed what is believed to be the first digital twin to better analyse and foresee any problem involving the airframes, engine, or other components to ensure the safety of the people aboard the Apollo 13 shuttle.

Digital twin technology can also play a key role in the monitoring of and response to natural disasters, so is it out of the question to suggest it can help prevent and respond to something like the COVID19 pandemic? 

Listen to the Bitesize episode of The Digital Podcast below:

The digital twin technology market is most certainly booming and in just 4 short years, we will see a monumental shift in the adoption and implementation of digital twin technology.

As the technology continues to grow, so too will the use cases and as Jansen himself discussed,  Digital Twins developed to aggregate, manage, analyze, visualize, and predict information in today’s smart cities, manufacturing plants, and building construction sites, can be successfully re-purposed to provide a unique information management solution to the current Covid-19 crisis, now and later, at any scale.

Find out more about the impact of COVID-19 on the Implementation of Digital Twins in the Global Building Industry.

Stephany Lapierre and Jim Bureau join us to tell you why supplier data is key…

Is access to fast and reliable supplier data more important now than ever before?

Stephany Lapierre, CEO of Tealbook and Jim Bureau, CEO of JAGGAER as sat down with Dale Benton to discuss a new partnership between the two that will provide enriched supplier data for JAGGAER customers through access to Tealbook’s Supplier Intelligence Platform.

Why not listen to Bitesize episode of this discussion below:

With 2025 deadlines looming for ambitious corporate public pledges around sustainability, this should be top of the business agenda for enterprises in 2021. However, are organisations acting fast enough?

Worryingly, every five weeks that passes represents 1% of our decade. Aspirations of operating more sustainably at some point in the future are now becoming a much closer reality, which means organisations have targets that they need to meet over a relatively short time frame. This is especially true when it comes to ‘net zero’ emissions pledges – perhaps the most pressing climate concern the planet is facing. For example, by 2030, Unilever has committed to halving the greenhouse gas emissions of their products across the lifecycle, while Heineken has set an 80% target reduction. BP is facing an even bigger challenge as an energy company, leaning away from fossil fuels and committing to net zero carbon from their operations by 2050. Written by Mark Perera, CEO, Vizibl 

Therefore, with only a few years remaining until some of those deadlines, clearly now is the time for enterprises to take decisive action. 

Many organisations still don’t know how they’re going to achieve these targets. However, given the urgency of the issues, they’ve launched their efforts regardless, anticipating the discovery of further solutions along the way. 

Sustainability delivers more than just the environmental benefits 

Alongside the need to protect our planet, hitting these targets is actually key for the survival of some of these businesses. Strong sustainability performance pays dividends in opportunities for growth, increased returns on capital, and in managing threats to the business, with McKinsey finding that the value at stake from sustainability risks can be as high as 70% of EBITDA. 

Given that 50% of the Standard & Poor’s 500 will likely be replaced within the decade, companies must look beyond business as usual towards the strategies that will shore up their own survival – especially in our post-COVID environment where many will face stiff competition. With record private equity, a robust M&A market and the growth of many startups with billion-dollar valuations, not to mention the impact of the pandemic and an economic decline, there will be plenty of turbulence in the road ahead. 

We recently hosted a webinar around sustainability, which featured speakers from Unilever, Heineken and BP, where we discussed all of these issues and more. Interestingly, all three organisations were in agreement that consumer relevance will be key to organisational longevity and the ability to attract talent will also be central to business success. Consumers are very much driving the sustainability agenda, therefore setting and meeting sustainability targets will be key driver for business continuity. 

Enterprises are driving towards stakeholder capitalism 

This focus on doing right by consumer and employee values corresponds to a wider movement towards stakeholder capitalism. This drive advocates shifting away from a sole focus on maximising shareholder value towards a company strategy which creates value for all its stakeholders – from customers and employees, to suppliers, communities, and the environment. 

Along with making themselves accountable to a broader set of stakeholders, organisations should also be drawing from these stakeholders to meet sustainability targets. Likewise, leveraging from a wider ecosystem will also help to meet these goals; partnering for value to increase the bottom line will be a key procurement trend in 2021. 

Seeing as 80% of company emissions and up to 90% of their impact on biodiversity and natural resources originates in the supply chain, it is not surprising that companies are looking past internal operations when pursuing ambitious sustainability targets. Given also that 50-70% of company innovations originate externally, it makes sense to look beyond the boundaries of the organisation and to the broader ecosystems of suppliers to source new solutions. 

Working with a broader ecosystem of suppliers to foster innovation 

One great example of this kind of partnership is an initiative that BP is spearheading. As the company works towards net zero for its tech and IT estate, BP is moving away from high-power data infrastructure in favour of forging deep partnerships with cloud providers. The cloud providers also have net zero commitments of their own, which they can support using renewable energy sourced from BP. This partnership presents a win-win situation where both companies can hit their targets in tandem. 

What we are also seeing is that this is changing the role of procurement. Instead of being viewed as a function that ‘protects’ the company from its suppliers by continuously driving down costs, procurement is now looking to  collaboration and partnerships to find the innovation that will help the organisation continue to grow. 

And as procurement moves away from a single-minded focus on cost-cutting, it will facilitate relationships which in turn deliver on key business strategies like sustainability and growth. 

How procurement can drive initiatives to meet sustainability goals 

To this point, procurement has a great role to play in helping an organisation meet its sustainability targets, given that the function has historically been curious and hyper-diligent when it comes to costs. Moving forward, enterprises need to apply that same rigour when it comes to sustainability by asking searching questions about energy and water usage, emissions impact, and how we are affecting our communities both locally and on a global scale if we bring that level of curiosity and collaborative problem-solving into supply chains, we’ll have a big impact on business longevity and help to meet those lofty sustainability goals that are closer than we all feel comfortable with right now. 

Supplier data matters. But you knew that already…

The question is, does high-quality supplier data matter now more than ever before? Stephany Lapierre, CEO of Tealbook, joins us this month to give it to us straight; in 2021 we have absolutely no reason to be working with messy vendor masters. 

“Your e-procurement technology stack is only as good as what you feed it,” she says. So it’s time to start rethinking about your supplier data. 

Elsewhere, Abe Saxionis, CPO of Keolis North America, lifts the lid on a major procurement transformation journey that will see the transportation services provider collaborate better with each and every part of its ecosystem under a vision of One Keolis. 

“As a company starts out and we begin to grow organically, we all are working more like independent businesses. It gets to a point where, in order to continue to expand and take advantage of the value the company brings to the table when dealing with customers or suppliers, we need to be more united. That’s the concept behind One Keolis.”

In an enthralling discussion, the gloves were off as I sat down with Michael Pleuger and Detlef Schultz – two powerhouse names in procurement. From an over reliance on consultants, to Jurgen Klopp’s philosophy on legacy, we tackle some of the key issues that procurement professionals are (and aren’t) addressing in 2021. 

You definitely don’t want to miss this issue. 

According to Accenture, 94% of Fortune 1000 companies experienced supply chain disruption owing to the pandemic…

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the future of supply chains indefinitely. When compared to overall business impact, most senior leaders said their supply chain was more susceptible to disruption from COVID-19 than their workforce, systems, or operations. According to Accenture, 94% of Fortune 1000 companies experienced supply chain disruption owing to the pandemic. Amidst the ongoing impact of COVID-19, as countries move in and out of lockdowns and vaccines are rolled out, this will continue to be felt worldwide throughout 2021 and beyond as organisations look to recover from the disruption to their supply chains.

Written by Mark Perera, CEO, Vizibl

Transforming supply chain models – for good

However, the unprecedented nature of COVID-19 has forced companies, and industries, to rethink and transform their supply chain models – for good. Many are now looking at how they can move away from linear supply chains to a more holistic, robust and sustainable supplier ecosystem.

It is interesting because since humans began making and distributing products to one another, the structure of the supply chain has remained predominantly untouched. Raw materials flow in, they are changed into a product and distributed and used until finally they are thrown away. This linear – take, make, throw away – supply chain has been sufficient to keep economies churning for decades, but now organisations are seeking out more robust, more profitable, more sustainable, circular supply chain ecosystems.

Adopting a circular approach 

The circular supply chain is a model that encourages manufacturers and sellers of products to take discarded materials and remake them for resale. To remain competitive and relevant linear supply chain entities must be willing to transition to a circular supply chain, which includes the entire reverse logistics process, in order to continue to grow and become sustainable in a future without an unlimited supply of resources.

The demand for some organisations to move to a circular supply chain is driven by government and limitations on what products can go to waste and what must be reclaimed. That said, consumers stand out as the key driving force towards greener and more ethical, sustainable approaches.

Additionally, COVID-19 has exposed the fragility of long-distance, international supply chains. Building-in a level of resilience will see organisations seeking to work with a much wider range of suppliers – building out that ecosystem – from global corporations to smaller, regional start-ups to ensure business continuity, diversity and circularity in the supply chain. 

Building a purpose-led ecosystem

The step-change that organisations must undertake to deliver against these sustainable and circular demands is now all about building purpose-led ecosystems. This means that organisations need to move beyond looking at their supply chain in a linear way, to actively collaborating with suppliers on initiatives to improve environmental, social and economic performance. They need to move towards a purpose-led procurement approach that includes a circular supply chain, and we will see adoption accelerate in 2021.

But what do we mean by a circular supply chain?

This is based on the principles of the circular economy, which is about designing waste out, circulating materials and resources and regenerating natural systems. The underlying premise behind the circular economy is that businesses will be more sustainable, more profitable and as a result add trillions to the global economy by 2030. The idea is that they are no longer reliant on the limited natural resources they required for growth. For businesses adopting a circular economy approach to be successful, their supply chains must also support these principles. According to Deborah Dull, who leads digital product management at GE Digital for Operations Performance Management, Supply Chain, Digital Kaizen, and Circular Economy: “Ultimately the circular economy is about inventory and extending its life, reusing it, repurposing it or eliminating the need for it altogether. Supply chain is responsible for inventory, and a global, circular economy requires supply chain innovation beyond its current scope which is very linear.”

How being lean helps

Deborah advocates that organisations should move to a lean supply chain approach because this moves inventory and decisions closer to the customer. This is important because proximity reduces the time between inventory decisions and actual customer need and because more inventory is typically required to buffer against uncertainty. Decreasing the time decreases the uncertainty, which decreases the need for an oversupply of inventory. Additionally, technology and data are key. Therefore, having a supply chain collaboration and innovation technology platform in place is important to facilitate collaboration in the supply chain, build in resilience and to give that all-important visibility into demand, supply, capacity and data. 

In particular, data about inventory helps organisations make the best use of their existing inventory and reuse items as many times as possible. If the organisation cannot see their inventory, or if they lack the ability to easily move it around, they often end up duplicating inventory in different locations and buying an oversupply to prevent shortages.

Resilience and responsibility – watchwords for 2021

Going forward, it is entirely feasible that similar worldwide events to COVID-19 will cause major problems for organisations getting goods and products through traditional supply chain models, that are deemed too linear and don’t take a flexible, collaborative, diverse and a circular approach. Likewise, as government regulation and legislation increase, organisations will be forced to think about circular supply chains and more ethical approaches to how they dispose of raw and waste materials. 

Therefore, repurposed supply chains of the future must have resilience and responsibility at their heart. Likewise, organisations must not only accelerate their agility, but also value chain transformation to help outmanoeuvre the ongoing uncertainty we face in 2021 and beyond. 

New research found that 43% of UK businesses say that the rate of digitalisation within procurement is low, which is impacting agility and preventing businesses from minimising risk…

If we’ve learned anything from 2020, it is that we cannot predict the future. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted many supply chains, as businesses became dependent on procurement teams to help mitigate the impact by identifying and onboarding new suppliers in different regions. 

However, a significant number of organisations have been hindered by a lack of procurement process digitalisation. New research found that 43% of UK businesses say that the rate of digitalisation within procurement is low, which is impacting agility and preventing businesses from minimising risk. 

The importance of process digitalisation goes beyond navigating the immediate effects of COVID-19. Businesses that are reliant on manual processes are not only wasting an average of £1.94m per year in staffing costs, they are also preventing procurement teams from focusing on high value tasks. Savvy businesses have digitised procurement processes as a springboard to create a competitive advantage for themselves, as they can better identify new revenue opportunities, unlock innovation and improve profitability. Over the coming years, UK businesses need to move quickly to digitally transform procurement and ensure they are not left behind.

Procurement process digitalisation remains in the slow lane

As things stand, organisations still have a long way to go, with many failing to digitalise procurement processes. Just over half (55%) of UK businesses have digitalised invoice processing, while less than half have digitalised purchasing (42%) and budget management (33%). Businesses are even further behind in digitalising strategic processes such as spend analysis (32%) and risk management (26%). Clearly, there is significant room for improvement for organisations looking to make informed decisions, identify opportunities to create revenue, or collaborate with suppliers.

Worryingly, most businesses have not digitalised supplier onboarding or sourcing processes. Identifying and bringing on new suppliers is critical for businesses searching for new opportunities to collaborate and innovate or react to a potential disruption, so digitalising the process should be a top priority. This is particularly true in times of crisis, as one of the biggest challenges UK businesses faced in reducing the impact of COVID-19 was identifying alternate suppliers.

Procurement teams are prevented from adding value

This lack of procurement process digitalisation is creating frustration for UK businesses, and holding them back from adding value. Eight-in-ten (81%) UK businesses say a lack of digitalisation is preventing them from collaborating with suppliers and internal stakeholders, while a further 83% believe it is preventing them from innovating and executing on new revenue streams and opportunities. Without the ability to collaborate or execute on opportunities to drive new revenue streams, businesses stand little chance of getting ahead of the pack.

However, when it comes to digitalisation, UK businesses face a number of challenges. The most common obstacles to digital transformation for UK businesses were their suppliers, technology, and processes. Clearly, collaborating with suppliers is still tough. But, as supplier visibility continues to be vital to innovation and identifying revenue opportunities, it is not a problem that businesses can leave unsolved.

A smarter approach to eliminate manual processes

Most businesses understand and recognise that digitalising procurement will help them gain a competitive advantage. Furthermore, UK businesses recognise the importance of digitalisation beyond this, with one of the biggest benefits being reducing their environmental impact. Sustainability continues to become a key differentiator, allowing for greater efficiency and waste reduction, while turning being ‘green’ into a competitive advantage for eco-friendly businesses. 

But to reap these benefits, it is clear a new approach is needed. Organisations need to adopt a smarter approach to procurement that can enable effective digital transformation, helping them to move away from managing processes over email, phone, or paper, to instead capturing everything digitally. This can free capacity for more strategic projects, improve access to insights for better decision-making and foster better collaboration by connecting internal stakeholders and suppliers. As a result, businesses are better able to identify opportunities to innovate, collaborate and grow revenues, giving them the chance to build better products and service offerings that will differentiate them from the competition. 

Digitalising procurement to combat uncertain times

n today’s uncertain and evolving landscape, procurement has become a much more strategic part of every business, but a lack of digitalisation is holding teams back. To create a competitive advantage, businesses need to digitalise manual and strategic procurement processes to provide teams with the tools they need, and give them back time to focus on creating value for the business.

Making procurement smarter can create an all-encompassing digital view of procurement and supplier management. This is increasingly important for businesses looking to restore growth post-COVID and ensure resilience for the next crisis.

Featuring Claro Brazil, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and more!

Issue 20 of CPOstrategy is here!

We have a fantastic issue for you this month, as we take a closer look at how procurement can be a true competitive advantage…for the sporting industry!

Exploring this with us, is Nour-Eddine Boufertala, Head of Procurement at England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) the national governing body for all cricket in England and Wales. ECB is working to promote the game of cricket as widely as possible and as part of its Inspiring Generation Strategy for the national game, the ECB will look to put a bat and ball into more and more hands and introduce more people to the power of cricket over the next five years.  

And procurement is the key to doing exactly that.

“We want everyone to enjoy playing cricket and to enjoy the game. What we have is not a complicated network, but a lot of people are included in the process and the procurement plays a key part in all of this,” explains Boufertala.

Elsewhere, Ivan da Mata, CPO of Claro Brasil, is tasked with delivering a major procurement transformation journey for the telecommunications giant. Running alongside a significant digital transformation, his goal is to create a fast, business oriented and best in class procurement function.

“Quite simply,” starts da Mata. “Procurement was not keeping up with Claro’s businesses’ fast pace transformation and so we laid out a roadmap that would see us achieve Procurement 4.0 for Claro Brazil by 2021-2022 and beyond.”

We also look at supply chain resilience with Annie Li of Movado Group, Rod Robinson of COUPA talks about connecting minority owned enterprises with larger businesses through procurement and we detail five trends set to hit the healthcare industry in 2021.

How ports and marinas are capitalising on IoT solutions

On-board, berthed, and on the marina, smart technologies are driving widespread digitalisation – a process which has the potential to guide shipping processes into the future, writes Matthew Margetts, Director of Sales and Marketing at Smarter Technologies

Digitisation in the maritime industry assists with complex logistics, asset and supply chain management. Smart technologies are taking this a step further, with so-called smart shipping set to address challenges and offer far-reaching benefits for a range of maritime players. From big data and cross-operations visibility to AI, blockchain, and automation, the entire supply chain stands to benefit from these smart, accessible advancements. And with Brexit adding further complexities to shipping logistics, there’s an even greater need to accelerate the adoption of smart technologies that streamline operations and save time, money and resources. 

Smart ports for a digital tomorrow 

Through simplified data communications, smart ports achieve high-level efficiencies and reduce costs through an ecosystem of smart security, asset management, and network infrastructure capabilities. Simple, affordable IoT technologies optimise inventory-keeping, container and contents monitoring, provide data-inspired logistics, and are the basis of a formidable safety and security system. 

Cloud-based reporting offers a real-time, dynamic overview of all tagged assets. It is through these data insights that processes can be refined. The smart port in Rotterdam, for instance, incorporates digital infrastructure to drive predictive maintenance schedules, predictive berthing, and a range of other processes for the enhanced operational running of the physical infrastructure. The improved efficiencies are one focus point for smart ports. Another is the need to pivot around a growing trend of digitised and automated vessels – with port authorities needing to evolve to remain relevant.  

Technology to meet marina challenges 

Marinas around the world face many challenges that can be traced back to slow uptake of technology and poor digital services to customers in marinas and tourist ports. At the same time, this is a fast-growing industry with a digitally savvy clientele. This makes the adoption of data-intelligent processes an urgent consideration for operators. In addition, COVID-19 has reinforced the need for contactless, effective digital solutions upon arrival and exit. Smart technologies use data to design highly-effective digital systems around access and inventory control, asset management, and communications. This improves customer experience and paves the way for automation and remote management, allowing operators to concentrate on high service levels and hospitality. 

For example, asset tracking devices can be placed on cargo, containers, vehicles, forklift trucks and vessels. By keeping an eye on the location of these assets, ports can make sure that they are where they need to be, allowing operations to run smoothly. 

For example:

– An asset tracking device can warn the port operator if a cargo or cargo container is damaged or tampered with. 

– IoT networks can be used to monitor the state and status of equipment to detect potential failure ahead of time. 

– A temperature monitor can be used to identify a faulty part as heat builds up, allowing for an engineer to take corrective action before something turns critical.

Safer, streamlined smart ships 

On vessels themselves, smart technologies are fine-tuning efficiencies – with the potential to drastically reduce costs. Smart technologies provide data-driven onboard organisation, maintenance planning, and the creation of a digital bridge between at-sea and on-shore operations. The result is elevated safety and reliability. With these outcomes in mind, BOURBON’s smart shipping programme in Angola anticipates a future cost saving of 25% – an example of how ships of the future are geared to make better use of resources and increase productivity. 

Going smarter across the supply chain 

From the location of ships to the status of individual containers – and beyond to ports, warehousing, and trucking operations – the whole supply chain is getting smarter. By collecting data across meaningful metrics, personnel can check in on cargo and get notifications on undesirable changes around factors like temperature, shock, humidity, gas, and smoke to maintain the integrity of shipments no matter where they are. These actionable notifications give personnel a head start to reduce risk and mitigate losses. Some technologies incorporate two-way communication on this front, which has the added advantage of reduced manpower requirements, safety, and risk of human error. 

Securing vessels against Legionella and other bacteria

Another opportunity presented by smart technology in the shipping industry is the implementation of automated potable water temperature monitoring and flushing systems. These systems can help vessels save thousands of pounds on manual testing and avoid fines, penalties or prosecution. 

Maritime legislation in the UK, namely the Merchant Shipping (Crew Accommodation) Regulations 1997 and the Merchant Shipping (Crew Accommodation) (Fishing Vessels) 1975, amongst others, require: “The supply of drinking water and fresh water to be such as to prevent any risk of contamination.

This legal requirement translates into immense costs for seafaring vessels, which need to perform regular tests for colony-forming units. This can be overcome by adopting an automated system that continuously monitors a vessel’s water systems and provides real-time alerts if safety parameters are breached. Safety parameters are set according to the temperature ranges needed for the formation of colonies, and sensor technology can identify exactly where the areas of risk are present, such as a specific cabin or section of the vessel. 

Effective monitoring is the foundation of effective management – and data is, without question, the best way to monitor people, processes, and assets across the shipping supply chain. The benefits of collecting and analysing this data in real time span customer experience, labour requirements, and costs – to name a few. 

The latest episode of The Digital Insight welcomes back Dave Ingram, CPO of Unilever. The company recently announced a series…

The latest episode of The Digital Insight welcomes back Dave Ingram, CPO of Unilever.

The company recently announced a series of significant commitments and actions to help build a more equitable and inclusive society by raising living standards across its value chain, creating opportunities through inclusivity, and preparing people for the future of work.

At the very centre of this vision, lies procurement. 

Ingram sits down with Andrew Woods to tell us what exactly Unilever is promising to do in order to achieve such lofty goals, and the policies and real differences it’s making to ensure that it can deliver on its promise of a more equitable and inclusive society.

How investing in your workspace could improve your business and the bottom line…

The past year has been an experiment in different working environments. Workers are again being asked to work from home during the third national lockdown in England while similar restrictions are advised in Scotland. However, the dramatic shift to working from home flexibility has outlined the importance of a good working environment.

If working from home showed very little difference in the productivity of your business, you may want to consider how you can make your office space more productive in 2021. The vaccine drive throughout the UK raises optimism that a return to normal working arrangements can resume in the close future. When returning to working space after restrictions are eased, to protect yourself from company liquidation, you may want to consider how investing in your workspace can improve your business and the bottom line.

Build it and they will come… to work

How does your office space define your branding? While a unique office space can be superficial and potentially unnecessary to complete real work, you must consider the benefits of creating a space that people want to work in. Using the period where workers cannot visit the office is the perfect time for refurbishments. Construction and maintenance work is permitted during this lockdown, meaning you can create a refreshed space for when your staff return to the site.

A great working environment can boost worker morale, promote motivation, and improve your staff’s quality of life. One report found that an overwhelming 87 per cent of workers would like their employers to offer healthier workspace environments. These include wellness rooms, fitness benefits, ergonomic seating, and adjustable sit-stand desks. The appeal to make investments and create this type of space is not purely for your staff morale scores. It can help attract the best talent in your sector.

In fact, 93 per cent of workers in the tech industry said that they would stay longer at a company that offered this type of workspace. In the UK, the average cost of replacing a staff member is £12,000. The retention of your staff is important as trained staff carry the experience of your organisation, and keeping them prevents the costs of training new team members. Investing in your office space may prevent you from spending more money on losing staff.

A defined workspace

Working from home has been a unique experience for many people that were not placed on furlough during the coronavirus lockdown. However, some may have found that the novelty wore off quickly. Having a defined workspace away from home is an important investment for creating a focused environment.

When you consider that with an eight-hour working day, workers spend over one-third of their waking life in the workplace. A defined workspace is as important as a defined bedroom or kitchen.

There’s a big difference between preparing yourself for office work compared to falling out of bed and sitting in front of a laptop screen. 

Promoting collaboration and innovation

Again, as important as it is to have a defined workspace, it’s also important to be surrounded by your colleagues and like-minded people. Office space can help new ideas float about easily, as opposed to the online group-chat messages that we’ve become accustomed to. 

When restricted to small teams, staff will create a tunnel vision of their task, with little regard for the effects on the rest of the organisation. An open office space can help create routes of communication between your staff and departmental teams. Your task may be specific, but the final goal of your organisation is encompassing.

A sociable workspace is essential for innovation and productivity, but it also helps to prevent sick days. Nicole Fink writes that the economy loses money through “lost productivity including absenteeism, illness, and other problems that result when employees are unhappy at work.” 

According to reports, absences cost the UK economy £77.5 billion per year. The need to boost morale and reduce absence can be achieved through the creation of an enjoyable working environment. A working space that creates a sense of community and wellness goes a long way to recover the cost of absenteeism.

Make efficiency quickly

An organised working space has more benefits than you may think. Investing in office furniture can help prevent clutter and make important information easier to find.

One survey found that 13.5 per cent of workers believe that they would be more productive in an organised and decluttered space. Decluttering is an easy fix with low investment costs, and the effect of using cable ties and efficient file storage will improve your business dramatically.

34 per cent of people believe that a cluttered workspace is the most likely reason to have a negative first impression of a company. This is important for clients and potential employees. If a business does not look like it is prepared for organised work, then other clients and staff will not want to work with them.

When considering the most viable investments that your business can make now, the return to work experience should be a priority. Office spaces are at the heart of your organisation and the foundation for all things creative. When workers return to the office following the easing of lockdown restrictions, the workspace can revive enthusiasm in your business. Workers will enjoy reuniting with their colleagues in a productive environment.

Whether it’s to create a space where workers feel happy or productive, for clients to recognise your value, or to increase the efficiency of work, you can profit in more ways than one from creating an office space that works for everyone.

Chris Horner

Chris Horner is Insolvency Director at Business Rescue Expert

Deal volumes up 18% and deal values increase 94% in second half of 2020

M&A valuations are soaring, with rich valuations and intense competition for many digital or technology-based assets driving global deals activity, according to PwC’s latest Global M&A Industry Trends analysis.

PwC logo

Covering the last six months of 2020, the analysis examines global deals activity and incorporates insights from PwC’s deals industry specialists to identify the key trends driving M&A activity, and anticipated investment hotspots in 2021.

In spite of the uncertainty created by COVID-19, the second half of 2020 saw a surge in M&A activity.

“COVID-19 gave companies a rare glimpse into their future, and many did not like what they saw. An acceleration of digitalisation and transformation of their businesses instantly became a top priority, with M&A the fastest way to make that happen — creating a highly competitive landscape for the right deals,” says Brian Levy, PwC’s Global Deals Industries Leader, Partner, PwC US.

Key insights from the second half of 2020 deals activity include:

  • Dealmaking jumped in the second half of the year with total global deal volumes and values increasing by 18% and 94%, respectively compared to the first half of the year. In addition, both deal volumes and deal values were up compared to the last six months of 2019.

  • The higher deal values in the second half of 2020 were partly due to an increase in megadeals ($5 billion+). Overall, 56 megadeals were announced in the second half of 2020, compared to 27 in the first half of the year.

  • The technology and telecom sub-sectors saw the highest growth in deal volumes and values in the second half of 2020, with technology deal volumes up 34% and values up 118%. Telecom deal volumes were up 15% and values significantly up by almost 300% due to three telecom megadeals.

  • On a regional basis, deal volumes increased by 20% in the Americas, 17% in EMEA and 17% in Asia Pacific between the first and second half of 2020. The Americas saw the biggest growth in deal values of over 200%, primarily due to some significant megadeals in the second half of the year.

COVID-19 accelerates deals activity for digital and technology assets in a highly competitive market

In demand assets have commanded high valuations and fierce competition, driven by macroeconomic factors. These include low interest rates, a desire to acquire innovative, digital or technology-enabled businesses and an abundance of available capital from both corporate (over $7.6 trillion in cash and marketable securities) and private equity buyers ($1.7 trillion).

By comparison, assets in sectors that have been hardest hit by the pandemic like industrial manufacturing or those being shaped by factors such as the transformation to net zero carbon emissions are creating structural changes that companies will need to address. Where the future viability of their business models are challenged, companies may look to distressed M&A opportunities or restructuring to preserve value.

Deal makers widen assessment of value creation to non-traditional sources

Non-traditional sources of value creation such as the impact of environmental, social and governance factors (ESG) are increasingly being considered by deal makers and factored into strategic decision-making and due diligence, as they focus on protecting and maximising returns from high valuations and fierce demand.

“With so much capital out there, good businesses are commanding high multiples and achieving them. If this continues – and I believe it will – then the need to double down on value creation is now more relevant than ever for successful M&A,” says Malcolm Lloyd, Global Deals Leader, Partner, PwC Spain.

The impact of a hot IPO market on M&A

The last six months saw the prevalence of the use of special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) to pool investor capital for acquisition opportunities in a highly active IPO market. In 2020, SPACs raised about $70 billion in capital and accounted for more than half of all US IPOs. Private equity firms have been key players in the recent SPAC boom, finding them a useful alternative source of capital. More SPAC activity is expected in 2021, especially involving assets such as electric vehicle charging infrastructure, power storage, and healthcare technology.

Read PwC’s Global M&A Industry Trends for more insights on 2020 and 2021.

Three key areas where procurement and supply chain should look to invest in 2021 and has a good business case to do so…

The Brexit debate is over with the UK and EU finally agreeing on the trade and cooperation terms after Brexit. A lot has been mentioned about the negative impact of Brexit on the UK and EU business supply chains. However, I think it is an opportunity for businesses to review their supply chains and turn this change into a competitive advantage. In my opinion, the following are 3 key areas where procurement and supply chain should look to invest in 2021 and has a good business case to do so.

1. Sourcing capabilities

Most of the organisations I have worked with over the last several years go back to the same set of shortlisted suppliers and look to conduct negotiations and auctions to achieve short term goals. This could be working with the same pool of suppliers either in the UK or EU suppliers or in a particular global location, i.e. China. However, there have been significant changes over the last few years whether it’s in currency, new emerging supply markets, existing supply sources losing advantage, or even the overall cost of managing offshore supply chains vs. local changing dramatically. Brexit and Covid have further accelerated or exacerbated some of these changes. Having some dedicated resources now to understand market options and a full evaluation will really help understand organisations options they have and plan their future supply chains accordingly.

2. Strategic partnerships

With the unprecedented disruption in demand and supply over the last year, organisations have never more realised the need to have a different relationship with their suppliers. As the long-term changes from Brexit and Covid come into effect, organisations having close strategic partnerships with their suppliers will be the ones who will mitigate issues better or benefit from the opportunities. Strategic partnerships don’t have to be just long-term commitments but communication, transparency, and both parties working towards shared goals. Also, the key is to look at the criteria for selecting partners. While on a short-term basis, working with a supplier who can fulfil your immediate needs at the best price makes sense, unless you look at long term fit, you will never have true partnerships in place.

3. Supplier assurance and development

With Brexit, there will be significant regulatory and standard changes over the years and suppliers will need support to transition to new standards and procedures. Also, to allow the sourcing team to find new sources and locations, they need appropriate support to be able to assure and develop new suppliers. Too many businesses, see the role of supplier assurance team as limited to assurance only and have an auditor mindset, however, the key is that they are working more as a development team and helping develop suppliers to contribute to the business.

The deal agreed is described as a narrow deal as it allows the UK to gradually move away from the EU sphere of influence if that’s really what the UK wants to pursue. While the current relationship with the EU is the starting position, full changes from this deal will only be visible over the next couple of years. Businesses who will be making the right investments in their supply chain and procurement capabilities will not only mitigate issues as the changes come into immediate effect but also find themselves in a better place vs their competitors.

Whether you’re purchasing for a small business or you’re part of a procurement team in a large organisation, harmonising the various needs of your company can be a challenge…

How do you create efficiencies by centralising procurement, while maintaining staff independence? How can you ensure everyone in the organisation has the items they need without overloading the procurement team with purchase requests? 

Online digital procurement presents an opportunity to balance these requirements.

Below are some tips on how to use a digital purchasing system to improve your business function and achieve goals which may initially seem difficult to reconcile.

1. Consolidate tail spend 

Tail spend – everyday purchases which aren’t needed for production, such as office supplies and IT equipment – can rapidly become a headache for the procurement team. As 20% of tail spend purchases are spread across 80% of suppliers, this broad base means it can become extremely difficult for Procurement to keep up with who in the organisation is spending what, and where these purchases are being made. The procurement team can end up wasting significant time trying to locate these purchases, which are often not bought at the most competitive prices.

However, staff want to feel respected and trusted to make purchasing decisions for their own departments. They want to buy supplies as they need them, rather than asking Procurement for permission for every small item. An art teacher is best equipped to know which paintbrushes are right for their class, but equally the procurement team needs to know employees are achieving best value for the organisation.

This can be solved by buying all tail spend items online, using a central transparent and efficient program. Olivia Rowling, founder of the Butterfly Patch Nursery group, did exactly this. Her business’s previous procurement model, using multiple suppliers, meant they used to spend around £20,000 kitting out each new facility. Moving to online purchasing meant the cost of each nursery was driven down by 60%. 

This online shift was also instrumental in helping save hours in planning and administration for her team. As the approval purchasing process has been made easier, managers can simply add what they need to an online basket, before their orders are approved and processed by a central decision-maker. Her team saved time, and could focus on other goals. Olivia sees digital procurement as a useful aid to help reach her goal to launch 300 nurseries within the next three years.  

2. Compare prices quickly and efficiently

It’s important to get the best possible value when making purchases, and this is especially relevant in an organisation managed by strict overarching policies. For Rob Owens, Chief Operating Officer of Stephenson Multi-Academy Trust, procurement was guided by governmental requirements. Under MAT rules, the price and quality of each item which the procurement team wants to buy has to be compared against three different suppliers. Owens recalls that on some days, the finance team had to place hundreds of orders – from stationery to software for departments, to furniture – making the process of seeking and quality-checking three different suppliers very protracted and inefficient.

By moving to online purchasing, Rob’s team could easily and quickly compare suppliers’ prices and quality, satisfying the Trust’s procurement rules and saving a huge amount of time and resource. Not only were they able to secure cheaper prices than they were getting previously, but the time invested in procurement was massively reduced. It also gave the procurement team freedom to explore interesting new projects, which they had been unable to do due to time constraints. Staff felt satisfied and excited by the prospect of reducing laborious paperwork and using that time to focus on new ways to develop the MAT’s provision to students.

This also generated substantial time-saving benefits for the teaching staff. According to Rob, the less time teachers spent procuring, the more they could focus on their core job. There was an additional cost benefit too: Rob explains that any savings teaching staff make is more in their budget, so they can buy more for their departments and consequently, more for the students the schools serve.  

This ability to compare a vast selection of suppliers creates a competitive market that is a huge advantage to any organisation. In fact, business customers have reported a 94% competitive selection parity, which can reduce prices by up to 70%.

3. Decentralise the procurement process

It is often practical for wider parts of an organisation to have purchasing powers, so they can order individual items, rather than making requests to the procurement team every time they need to buy a printer ink cartridge or a box of pens. This has obvious time-saving advantages for the procurement team, but it can rapidly become complicated and difficult to track.

The University of Leicester employs 4,000 people, over 100 of whom have purchase cards. The lack of a digitised procurement system, coupled with the relatively large number of staff with purchasing responsibilities, made it difficult for the procurement team to track expenditure across the institution as a whole.

For Anthony Midgley, Category Manager and Procurement Systems Lead at the university, modernising the procurement process so spend was immediately visible was extremely useful. Midgley was able to clearly see, in real time, what was ordered with the system, instead of spending time chasing records at the end of the month. This allowed him to use time more wisely, enabling him to ensure the university procurement function ran as smoothly as possible. 

Another advantage of decentralised procurement is the ability for each office and branch in the online shop to have their own name and billing address, set up by the CPO. If the same invoice number and payment terms are defined for all orders, expenses can be easily consolidated. This improves purchasing efficiency, with business customers determining a 13% average cost saving when procuring online, compared to their manual procurement processes. 

As well as improved accuracy and granularity, this feature helps provide greater control and visibility, giving CPOs a reliable overview of tail spend and related expenses, without having to micro-manage every purchase of printer paper or staples. Moreover, CPOs will have access to a wealth of new data that allows them to make sound recommendations and demonstrate value to internal stakeholders. At the same time, employees with purchasing responsibilities have the freedom to purchase items as they need them, demonstrating trust and building strong working relationships between Procurement and the organisation as a whole.  

Online procurement helps solve organisational challenges


It can often be a delicate balancing act to manage an organisation’s numerous challenges and goals. It’s important for staff to feel valued and respected, to know they are trusted to buy items for their function without having to seek permission for every last pencil and printer cartridge. But it’s critical to an efficient procurement process that the CPO can track and manage these purchases effectively, ensuring the business stays on track to achieve its key priorities. 

There are obvious advantages to digital procurement; as Accenture’s Next Generation Digital Procurement report shows, businesses can dramatically improve speed, agility and efficiency with an online purchasing system. Digitising procurement provides CPOs with a strategic advantage, providing all the information they need to help them future-proof their procurement process while ensuring continued growth and a competitive edge. 

So, with the right features that allow the CPO to balance the time and cost savings with the requirements of the wider team, online procurement offers clear benefits. For the Butterfly Patch Nursery, the University of Leicester and Stephenson MAT, a digital purchasing process has been instrumental in helping Procurement to move these organisations forward.  

Access to accurate supplier data is a huge challenge for most enterprises, hindering decision-making, innovation and resilience…

This week saw the start of a new partnership, as JAGGAER and Tealbook joined forces in order to provide enriched supplier data for JAGGAER customers through access to Tealbook’s Supplier Intelligence Platform.

The collaboration enables JAGGAER’s customers to find new suppliers and access accurate and comprehensive supplier information, including diversity status, compliance, certifications and more, providing JAGGAER with a competitive advantage over other portal-based supplier information, community insights and networks that come with traditional S2Ps.

Access to accurate supplier data is a huge challenge for most enterprises, hindering decision-making, innovation and resilience. Through this unique partnership, JAGGAER customers will have access to autonomously enriched supplier data tagged with diversity status, compliance and certifications linked to suppliers’ profiles within Tealbook’s Supplier Intelligence Platform. This collaboration will also enable JAGGAER customers to automate supplier profiles, removing the dependency on suppliers to update their information. Suppliers will have their profiles self-maintained in Tealbook as a complement to the JAGGAER portal.

Profile photo of Jim Bureau

“Access to Tealbook data, which is updated continuously and autonomously through machine learning technology, will allow JAGGAER customers across multiple vertical industries to make better decisions about suppliers faster and more easily than ever,” commented Jim Bureau, CEO, JAGGAER.

“Many of our customers are currently exploring options to diversify their mix of suppliers for a number of reasons, including the need to reduce risk, especially in response to the pandemic, and the pursuit of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) objectives. Partnership with Tealbook will give customers the confidence to respond quickly to changes and opportunities by moving reliable supplier data to upstream decision-making processes. More broadly, these capabilities are yet another step forward in our march toward fully autonomous procurement, relieving both buying organizations and suppliers of the onerous burden of manual data updates,” Bureau added.

Longer term, JAGGAER and Tealbook will set out a roadmap for full integration of their respective software platforms.

Tealbook’s supplier data foundation offers an innovative and easy-to-implement approach to autonomously gathering and validating supplier information from over 400 million websites and 600 data sources. The platform helps organizations avoid supply disruptions in times of crisis, support strategic objectives like increasing spend with diverse suppliers and improve the quality and savings from strategic sourcing, especially in new categories where there is less knowledge of the market.

Stephany Lapierre

“Even with millions of dollars of investments in cloud S2P solutions, 93%* of supply chain and procurement executives are experiencing negative impacts to their business on a regular basis due to misinformation and poor supplier data,” commented Stephany Lapierre, CEO of Tealbook. “This includes financial loss, delayed timelines and projects, unhappy internal and external customers, termination of supplier relationships and more. The solution is Tealbook, a trusted data foundation that can be leveraged by eProcurement solutions to ensure these investments are successful.”

“We are thrilled to partner with JAGGAER to enhance JAGGAER ONE’s Spend Management Platform with the power of AI generated supplier data and our advanced supplier network,” Lapierre added. “This collaboration will allow JAGGAER customers to enhance supplier data and gain access to their entire supplier base, reducing the need for data enrichment services and dependency on suppliers to enrich and maintain portals. This partnership will enable JAGGAER customers to better utilize the spend management platform to create real-time access to their entire supplier base while expanding their vendor data to quickly identify suppliers that meet their requirements, gaining intelligence, speed and agility.”

For one last time in 2020…

Hello and welcome to the final CPOstrategy Magazine of 2020 (issue 19 if you’re keeping count!) 

Cover star Alan Rankin, CPO of STADA, discusses how a procurement journey aims to truly cement STADA as a world-leading procurement organisation.

We explore what ‘world-class’ procurement organisation entails and how that enables a future of growth for STADA. “It’s a massive transformation in the sense that you’re building the plane, but you’re also flying the plane. So it’s a question of transform and perform,” he says.

Elsewhere, we have an exclusive feature on CSA Group. Four years into a massive procurement transformation journey, we catch up with Manny Satija, Senior Director, Integrated Supply Chain, and the man in charge of bringing this journey to life through experience and a transformational mindset.

We also speak with Paul Harridine VP of Procurement and Supply Management at CN, as he praises the resilience of his procurement team in delivering procurement efficiencies during what has been a most challenging year. 

Rounding out the magazine Dave Brittain of Amazon Business looks at how digital procurement can help manage organisational goals, we look at the five worst practices in procurement as compiled by the GEP and Greg Watts tells us why AI and procurement is a match made in heaven. 

Lack of digitalisation preventing UK businesses from identifying new sources of revenue and opportunities to collaborate and innovate

Research from Ivalua, a leading provider of global spend management cloud solutions, has found that almost half (46%) of UK businesses are frustrated by a lack of procurement process digitalisation. According to the study, 43% of respondents believe that the rate of digitalisation within procurement is low, while a third (33%) claim that procurement digitalisation is stagnant and hasn’t progressed in the last 12 months.

The research, conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Ivalua, surveyed 200 UK-based procurement, supply chain and finance professionals to examine digitalisation in procurement. Eight-in-ten (81%) UK businesses say a lack of digitalisation is preventing them from collaborating with suppliers and internal stakeholders, while 83% believe it is preventing them from innovating and executing on new revenue streams and opportunities. Additionally, two-thirds (67%) of UK businesses say a lack of digitalisation reduces their ability to gain insights into spend and suppliers.

“As organizations look to restore growth post Covid-19 and ensure resilience for the next crisis, procurement can play a major role, helping identify opportunities to innovate and new sources of revenue. Procurement digitalisation is essential to enable unique business processes and improve collaboration with suppliers and internal stakeholder,” commented Alex Saric, smart procurement expert at Ivalua. “However, the current state of transformation in procurement is underwhelming. The risk in the future is that many businesses will be outstripped by more digitally-savvy rivals and find themselves at a significant competitive disadvantage. Over the coming years, UK businesses need to move quickly to digitally transform procurement and ensure they are not left behind.”

Digitalising processes still has a long way to go

While businesses recognise the need to digitally transform, the report found that on average, UK businesses have digitalised less than half (43%) of their procurement processes. The most digitalised tasks were transactional processes such as invoicing (55%), purchasing (42%) and budget management (33%). 

UK businesses have also failed to digitalise strategic processes such as spend analysis (32%) and risk management (26%). Identifying and bringing on new suppliers is also critical for businesses looking to identify new opportunities to collaborate and innovate, but worryingly, most businesses have not digitalised supplier onboarding (89%) or sourcing (84%) processes. When it comes to digitalising procurement and these processes, UK businesses face a number of challenges, with the most common obstacles to digital transformation being their suppliers (29%), their technology (20%) and their processes (18%). 

“Procurement has become a much more strategic part of every business, but a lack of digitalisation is preventing many teams from realising the potential value of their spend and suppliers. UK businesses need to take a smarter approach to procurement and move away from managing processes over email, phone, or paper, to instead capture everything digitally. This will help businesses identify opportunities to innovate, collaborate and grow revenues, giving them the chance to build better products and services that will differentiate them from the competition. Digitalising procurement creates an all-encompassing view for businesses, helping to create a competitive advantage that will see them soar past digital laggard competitors,” concludes Saric.

To download the full report, “Gaining the advantage in challenging times – why businesses need to digitally transform procurement now more than ever”, please visit: https://info.ivalua.com/uk/report-competitive-advantage

Dave Ingram, CPO for Unilever, discusses how the company is making real, lasting sustainable change through procurement..

Being a chief procurement officer is quite a demanding job at any enterprise, but it sounds like the scale of what you’re dealing with at Unilever must be enormous?


It’s a company I’ve been in for quite a long time now. It doesn’t feel like a large company, though I know that it is and I know that the impact is. But I’ve been fortunate enough to work in most of the geographies, Latin America. I spent quite a bit of time in China, and now based in Singapore.

Sustainability is a word that’s been cropping up more and more in recent years in boardroom discussions, in CPO level and above and below and each side. Is this something that’s dominating Unilever’s thoughts at the moment?


It’s actually been at the center of our strategy since the inception of Unilever. Since when Lord Lever started creating Sunlight soap, doing good for the communities around our facilities has been at the center of that and that continues now.  10 years ago we  launched The Unilever Stable Living Program, which at the time was groundbreaking, and for those inside the business, extremely stretching. Only recently we have announced a new set of what we believe are really bold commitments to fight climate change and protect and regenerate nature.

You mentioned the announcement, talk to me a little about the actual action points of what Unilever is going to be addressing with regards to this sustainable program.


We’ve announced three goals. The first is to achieve net zero emissions from all of our products by 2039. We also, as part of that, have an ambition to make sure that we communicate the carbon footprint of every product that we sell. So that as a consumer, you can pick up a product and know your exact carbon commitment by using and buying our products. Second goal is to have a deforestation free supply chain by 2023. This is going well above what we previously committed, and we’ll be using substantial new technology approaches to tracking and tracing and monitoring our supply chain to ensure deforestation. And third is to step up our direct efforts in terms of water preservation, which is really about implementing a water stewardship program in 100 locations by 2030. This is an extension of work that we were doing in India.

Being a chief procurement officer, you are in an interesting position, aren’t you? Because you are fundamental to what Unilever is procuring and then where it’s procuring from, in terms of transparency in the supply chain.


Yeah. I’m partially humbled sometimes to know the scale, and because of that, the impact we can make. We have an agricultural footprint of more than three million hectares. Our carbon footprint from the supply base is about a quarter of our total carbon footprint. And we have a social footprint of well more than a million people around the world. The scale is large, but it also gives an opportunity for making a very large impact.

There must be, as you mentioned, an advantage to size in terms of how much change you can make. What are the challenges that an enterprise of Unilever’s size faces when facing something like sustainability?


I think the fortunate position that we have a business that is centered and with a strategy around a sustainable business. So from the board right through the company, we have a common purpose about making sustainable living commonplace, which makes the job of sustainability and procurement around sustainability that a bit easier. Because there’s a great interconnection through the company. And again, I mentioned earlier, the sustainable living plan that we launched 10 years ago, just concluding that particular program this year actually. And when it was launched, I remember 10 years ago being in the company and we were shocked at how stretching the targets were.


In some cases, I had no idea how we were going to achieve them. But collectively across the business, across supply chain, R&D, marketing, commercial, because of the great alignment and single vision that was put out at that point, it was actually made easier by that internal integration. It was also made easier by the fact that consumers are increasingly asking for that visibility, and increasingly yield the sustainable practices behind what they’re buying. And it was also helped, I think, by a supply partner base that we have, many of whom have got similar values and similar commitments to their own chains. Therefore, there was a good integration of belief systems towards that agenda, albeit that the targets were extremely stretched.

Having been at Unilever for a while, you must have seen firsthand how the procurement strategy and sourcing strategies have changed. So how the new announcement by Unilever will affect you on a day to day basis.


Because of that footprint I mentioned earlier, we’re at the center of each of these three commitments. So let me start with the zero emissions by 2039. As I said, a quarter of our emissions base is with our supply partners. So we are working very closely with those partners to achieve science based targets of reduction. We’ll do that in a prioritized basis with our largest impact suppliers first, but we actually want to make that movement a viral movement across all of our procurement base. So that people are aware as a supplier of their own impact and of themselves setting their own targets for reduction.


And we will increasingly prioritize suppliers who have got that same ambition and are working towards those targets. And secondly, the brands we communicated last week are going to invest a billion euros over the next 10 years. And we’re going to be doing that in areas of land restoration, reforestation, sequestration technologies, and wildlife and water programs. And we in procurement are at the center of ensuring that those programs land with our suppliers. We have a specific team within the procurement team who are specialists in this area, and are really the center point of this expertise of work within Unilever. On deforestation, how we supply and where we supply from are becoming increasingly important.


And the visibility, transparency and traceability of sourcing from known origins is becoming increasingly demanded by consumers. Therefore we’re going to be using new and emerging technologies such as satellite monitoring, geolocation tracking, which are all going to help us ultimately know the farmer and the field that we’re sourcing from. That’s a very stretching ambition for the scale and complexity of some of the supply chains that we are operating. But it’s really fundamental to giving consumers transparency and traceability, and ensuring that we take accountability and have knowledge of our commitments with respect to deforestation. As part of that, we are going to introduce a new pioneering regenerative agricultural code that we want to apply across our supply base.


And this is looking at not just making sure we don’t do bad, but ensuring that good is done in terms of agricultural systems. Particularly around biodiversity and restoring soil health, and preserving water access and conservation. So each of those actions are really going to be pivotal to not just the sustainability group within procurement, but actually every buyer who’s buying in these areas. They have to each become many sustainability experts across climate and land use.

Are you also working with tech companies or partners or consultants to work with you on these projects?


We’re really excited to be working with both very large scale companies like Google and the Scott Lab, and also more nascent developing companies who are looking at this high tracking technology. We’re meshing those companies together in an ecosystem of approach that ultimately gives us monitoring by a satellite, traceability through geolocation tracking, ultimately helping us hold deforestation by knowing exactly where things come from. In parallel to those programs, we’re also working with Earth Equalizer, Aidenvironment and Global Forest Watch platforms to investigate how peat and forest burning areas are affecting lands, and ensuring that we have satellite imagery of that. So the mapping technology in combination with the geolocation and tracing technology and the Blockchain technology will ultimately give us full visibility. Almost a digital twin of agricultural systems and movement, and that’s really what our ran down ambition is.

These are interesting times to do something like this, during a global pandemic.


Yeah. It makes it more challenging, but it probably makes it even more important. Understanding sources of origin, understanding the effects on our supply base is really important, digital mapping of a source. And I can realize that that can come across as a technology only based approach. But what it actually allows us to do is to know the farmer. I was, a couple of months before COVID lockdown, lucky enough to meet our farmers in Indonesia who were working directly in coconut, sugar, palm. And seeing how they’re operating, these people are really the stewards of the land. Therefore, the technology allows us to really have a direct relationship with, rather than through multiple traders where we lose that visibility. So we’re very keen to work with an increased number of direct relationships with these stewards, small holder farmers and farmers.

In recent years, procurement has been through its own kind of revolution in terms of becoming a much more strategic role within enterprises. This really underlines that doesn’t it?


Yes, I think so. It’s evolved from a cost management function in many companies into a large strategic driver, a driver that in our language within procurement with purpose. And you’d say Unilever spans from obviously buying better, but also into buying more responsibly and growing through partnerships. So those are our three big levers of influence and obviously partnerships, it becomes the full elements of our business. From agricultural systems, right through packaging systems and business services systems. And these partnerships are really critical for us going forward. And they’re going to be critical in terms of helping us in our journey towards zero emissions, towards deforestation and working with communities also.

We talked a little bit earlier about the kind of important partnerships, are those kind of key partnerships going to be absolutely integral going back to Unilever changing its procurement strategy?


They are without doubt. And these partnerships are evolving and broadening from a typical, you’re a partner because you’re quite a large base of spend, into you are a partner because you’re a fundamental part of development that’s helping towards our purpose. So some of the partnerships we have and the examples I was giving around technology, very small companies that are absolutely critical we believe, to long-term track and trace technology. And therefore building strong partnerships with them is really important. And part of that partnership is making it simpler to operate with a company like us. So I realized that we can seem very complex organizationally, our scale is large. So part of the job in partnerships is to ease entry of new and nascent companies into our chain, helping them operate through our chain, and therefore allowing them and us to make a greater impact within the organization for the planet and the environment.

What would you say are elements of the new sustainable practice that excite you the most?


Without question, it’s the opportunity to use technology. Whether this is Cameron temperature monitoring systems and fields, or whether it’s a track and trace and blockchain, back to farmers and allowing visibility and economic visibility for the farmers through the chain. Through to mapping of land systems, land uses, animal systems, biodiverse systems. And ensuring that no product is coming into our chain from those depleted resources or converted resources. So the technology opportunity here I think is enormous and that’s very exciting, but that link then to the social aspect of really connecting more directly with more of our farmers and smallholders. I came a long time ago from a farming background through grandparents, and I really have a passion for ensuring that we include these people. They are the stewards of the land and the people that are most directly in control of making sure that the land is not deforested. That we’re using healthy systems of agriculture, regenerative systems about agriculture.


That these people are paid in the proper manner, and they’re not exploited. Women in these communities are properly included with proper equity in agriculture systems are really, really exciting changes that are going to make a difference for the long-term of their business and ultimately our business. So those two aspects, the social inclusion we can drive for this agenda and the technology unlock that allows us to have access to those people, I think are two really exciting elements for me.


I always feel we like, as a company, to set extremely stretching goals for ourselves. We’re quite a humble company, and we’re a company that needs partnerships, needs assistance and wants to make a difference broader than our own chain. And therefore, looking for wider peer companies to be involved with us, to help us in this program, working with NGOs, working with governments. We feel it’s really important to us to make a broader impact than just what is in our chain. It is a call to action for all and a call for inclusion in all, to be involved in this agenda. There’s many great companies you’re seeing enhancing similar stretching targets, and I think we’ll make a bigger difference by doing more of this together.

“…when you think about supplier diversity initiatives, small business procurement initiatives, it’s really about driving economic impact. And it’s really the small businesses that drive economic growth in any economy”.

Rod Robinson is Vice President of Supplier Inclusion and Sustainability at Coupa, and the focus of that role, is to really drive inclusive procurement across the Coupa ecosystem, helping Coupa customers achieve, and even exceed, their supplier inclusion goals…
“…when you think about supplier diversity initiatives, small business procurement initiatives, it’s really about driving economic impact. And it’s really the small businesses that drive economic growth in any economy”.

What does strategic procurement actually mean and how is it changing thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic?

So, who is Jeremy Bowley? 

I’ve been in procurement for 20 years, scarily. I started out like most people did in buying within a graduate scheme role in a water company. I’ll leap forward to today, now I run a boutique procurement consultancy [Insider Pro]  and we specialize in what we call enterprise value creation.

What’s your view on how procurement is becoming a different beast for businesses?

We definitely have an image problem. It is distinctly uncool. If you go to a graduate fair at university, people will gravitate towards sales, marketing, HR and to a degree accountancy, which in itself is not the most exciting thing. If I say to people do you want to add up for a living and do spreadsheets? I think they’d probably say no. But what those professions offer is the ability to influence and to have impact and I think what we’re starting to see, and it’s been a long journey of 20/30 years probably, is procurement is starting to get its mind around how it delivers impact. But there are still though those of us, even in the profession, who would describe it as going shopping for a living. I think one of the reasons that we really struggle as a profession is we’ve not got very good at describing the impact that we can have to other people, then that feeds through to our ability to attract talent, our ability to influence the organization and our ability to make a big difference at a strategic level.

As a procurement professional, if you were to speak to me and I was a graduate asking why I should care about procurement more than any other business area,  what would be your quickfire way of, at least introducing to me, the true value and the importance and even the significance and enjoyment of procurement?

For me, procurement is all about coordinating collaboration between organizations and that’s way more challenging and exciting than just doing it within a business. So if you go into a business and go into a normal functional role, generally speaking, most of your effort is going to be around how do I coordinate the efforts of the people within my business? What procurement allows you to do, this is the exciting bit,  it allows you to go and say, “Okay, I want to try and help a much broader group of people collaborate and drive value.” In a junior role in procurement, you’re going to get to speak to and interface with managing directors, sales directors, operations, directors, COOs, all those sorts of people, of your supply chain. And then your job is to coordinate those, to deliver value for your company.

To use Steve Jobsism, make a dent in the universe. I can’t think of another function that offers that at such an early level. Of course the rub being we don’t really talk about it like that, and we don’t really tell anybody about that so we underplay our ability to have an enormous impact. That’s probably why we’ve got a bit of an image problem. I don’t think we back ourselves enough. I do, I struggle to find another function which has that enormous impact, particularly at a sort of entry level.

What do you think is key to changing that conversation?

It’s about being able to demonstrate the impact that we have and being honest with the business about it. There’s an authenticity that sits behind this. I think it comes back to what is our role and therefore, how do we articulate it? Our role is to look into the organization and say what the organization needs and  help resolve some of the conflicts, because different people in the business will want different stuff, depending on which function they’re within. It’s then about looking outward into the world and saying, “Okay, how do we best satisfy that need?”

If we start to talk about it in those terms, it becomes a strategic conversation. What that means though, is that we need to take ourselves away from the stuff that’s safe and comfortable. I hear people talk about strategic procurement and it is the least strategic thing you’ve ever heard. What we’re looking for is opportunities for us to make a real difference to the business model. So for example, if you were to say, “Through my supply chain strategy, I’m able to build such strong relationships with my suppliers, but that represents a massive barrier to our competitors, getting their hands around that supply chain or replicating that supply chain and therefore that delivers X or Y in our business proposition,” That’s strategic. We’ve got to spend the time talking about that, because until we do, we are going to be a back office function and probably rightly so.

How much of it has to be that meeting in the middle, if that makes sense?

You’ve got to have people who are open to the conversation. So you’ve definitely got to be in a business that’s functional, that’s working. If you’re in a completely dysfunctional business where there’s just no conversation, of course it’s going to be pretty much impossible. But what I’d say is that’s not most organizations. Most organizations are by virtue of the fact that they’re trading and being profitable and throwing off cash, then they’re going to work. They’re going to have their problems, but they’re going to be open to anything that delivers real value.

So if you can demonstrate that through how you orchestrate supply chain, you can grow sales, you can improve consistency, you can reduce risk, you can increase cash flow, you can improve profitability, you can take away some of the barriers that stop the organization growing. Then it is not a difficult conversation to get people to come across the bridge towards you, because ultimately the C-suite is motivated by, and certainly in our world, but I think this is true of all organizations, by the value that it can create. So by definition, you become part of the solution. And if you turn up to any CFO CEO and say, “Hey, look, I think I can make the organization’s share price go up by 10%.” And if you can do that credibly, you will get traction. There’s absolutely no question about it. The trick is of course, to do that credibly and have something that really does make a difference.

What does it mean for, not just the procurement guy, but obviously the wider business, to have a seat at the table?

“Procurement deserves a seat at the table is something I hear a lot. My response to that is always pretty much the same. And I say, “Well, does it deserve it?” So if procurement is adding strategic value, it deserves that seat at the table. If procurement isn’t doing that and it’s just doing tactical work, delivering slightly better prices or managing day-to-day supplier relationships, but not really elevating them and creating extra value for the customer or creating barriers to entry for the competition or locking in value at an enterprise level, it doesn’t deserve a seat to the table. I’m sad to say that that’s probably true in 8 out of 10 companies where procurement isn’t something that they potentially need to be good at, or can be good at, because of the nature of the way that they manage themselves.

It frustrates me intensely because it just sounds like we’re moaning. It’s almost as if to say, “Oh, I deserve a seat at the table.” Well, go and earn it. Because if I’m looking around that board table as a CEO, I’m looking at each of those people, each of those posts, each of those functional roles, and I’m saying sales, how does that add strategic value? Finance, how does that add strategic value? Marketing, how does that add strategic value? And if I can’t respond to that with a clear demonstration of adding proper strategic value, then I don’t deserve that seat at the table. And let’s be clear, sending out a tender or following a seven step sourcing process, that’s not strategic. It’s not moving the organization fundamentally forward. It might be doing a good job, which is very valuable and needs to be done, but it’s not strategic. And unless you are genuinely adding value to the enterprise at a fundamental level, then we definitely do not deserve that seat. We need to work hard for that.

As the conversations have moved forward and now procurement has been given a chance to show off and say, “Look what more we can do than just save money,” at the end of the day, you still have to save money. So how is that balancing act unfolding and how difficult is it?

The sort of classic adding savings and basic EBITDA through things costing less, that’s the day job. That’s not strategic. What we’re well-placed now to uplift other parts of the organization because what’s quite exciting is, as the world changes and there are more small organizations and innovation, we’ve got more of an opportunity to bring those things into play. So you’ve got to do both.

I always think the challenge with procurement is to, yes, deliver the basics, but then to start thinking in system terms. It’s shifting our thinking away from tactical and almost a tick box exercise of, “We’ve done a tender and they’ve passed all of our tests and I’ve read their accounts, I’ve done all the basic stuff.” We need to shift into systems thinking now, and how do we manage the ecosystem of potential that is out there, which is huge and changing? That is an exciting piece that we’ve got to get our minds around.

It depends on your organization’s appetite and the need to be good at procurement. Not all organizations need to be good at procurement. It depends on your appetite to go and do more. The best news is that there is more opportunity out there now than there has ever been.

What has the general impact been of COVID on that procurement conversation?

In lots of ways, I like to think about COVID as being an accelerant. So COVID really has probably accelerated or amplified all the things that were probably going to happen anyway. The suppliers in which we took too much risk as a profession and we let stocks run too thin, got caught out by COVID, by the logistical challenges, by factories shutting down, by borders closing.Those things would have probably happened anyway, they just wouldn’t have happened all at the same time and it would have been slightly less stressful, I guess. But those weaknesses would have played out in the supply chain over time anyway. And all COVID did was just make that happen quickly and all at once. COVIDt, and it’s a blunt instrument, will shake out the companies that weren’t going to make it.

All of a sudden we’ve realized that some of the suppliers, who we thought were in good shape, were not in good shape and actually our risks were much bigger than we thought they were, so there’s a big re-evaluation. And in the sort of rebuild, I guess, we’ve now got a real chance to shape things, which is actually really exciting. 

Looking at Insider Pro then, why do we need a business like Insider Pro in procurement?

We help businesses build their enterprise value. We help organizations look internally and say, “What do we actually need in order to grow?” and we help them look back out to the supply chain and say, “Okay, what’s the best way of doing that?” We sort of sit in a space between procurement and operations in many respects. A lot of the work we do is really helping the larger group of stakeholders, both internally and externally collaborate for more value.

That’s the bit that’s super exciting because we have in excess of 50,000 people in our suppliers and supply chain. Imagine leveraging 50,000 people’s brain power. That’s what’s exciting. That’s what we do and what’s quite exciting is, you are sitting on a huge amount of opportunity if your eyes are open to it.

When we talk about bringing outside people in or outside consultants in, there’s often teething problems and even reluctance to engage a third party . How do you mitigate this and work collaboratively? 

There is no one way to do things, there’s more than one way to get there and you’ve got to find the way that’s right for the organization. You hear an awful lot about best practice and I’ve even written about best practice myself and I sort of hate that. In our minds, there’s absolutely no best practice whatsoever. What there is, is some things that work and some really good ideas and what you’ve got to find is the organization’s next practice. We understand how we better service the things that that organization needs next, rather than some mythical idea of what’s best.

In light of  COVID, a lot of people are looking inwards and examining where they may be thinking that while  things have been going well, things could still be better. What would be the one permanent change you could make if you were given the power to do so?

Back in the 1970s, there was  an economist called Goodhart, who gave rise to something called Goodhart’s Law. It basically says that as soon as you measure a target, it ceases to be a good measure, because essentially people start to game the system. So the one thing I’d like to see the end of is things like savings targets or improvement targets or KPI improvement. It just drives me to distraction because all it does is force us to change the definitions of what success looks like. The setting of arbitrary targets, which our industry is absolutely awash with is well-intentioned, but entirely counterproductive the vast majority of the time.

Digitising procurement to drive efficiency, transparency and effective supplier management…

Ivalua, a leading global spend management cloud provider, and Consus, a leading global supply chain solutions provider, today announced that Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) has successfully deployed Ivalua’s platform to empower its procurement digital transformation, with Consus leading implementation. The comprehensive project spanned Supplier Information, Risk, & Performance Management, eSourcing, Contract Management, Catalog management, Spend Analysis, Savings Tracking, Category Management & overall change management.

Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) is a chain of fast food restaurants with a worldwide store network of more than 5,000 stores. It operates the largest food service network in the Philippines with 3,316 stores in the country and 2,655 stores abroad as of December 2019. JFC leverages only best-in-class processes and technologies, with its full operational procurement system used over the years to support its rapidly growing store network in the Philippines. As it continues to grow and expand internationally, there was a need for an integrated global procurement platform for its upstream or strategic processes that would perform amid presence of risks and complexities, and would improve cross-functional collaboration between internal stakeholders, procurement, and suppliers.

JFC selected Ivalua’s platform due to its ability to support every stage of its planned transformation, including quick deployment, flexibility to meet evolving requirements, analyst-recognised best-of-breed capabilities and complete, unified suite. Consus was selected as implementation partner for its deep source-to-pay expertise. Additionally, JFC was looking for a trusted partner aligned with their “customer experience first” vision to jointly disrupt current processes and adopt best practices globally.

The deployment of Ivalua’s platform has been tightly integrated with JFC’s backend SAP ERP systems to ensure seamless flow of information and maximum automation. The platform will deliver a range of benefits to JFC, including improved governance and auditability, more efficient procurement processes, more informed analysis and decision-making, proactive risk management, improved supplier qualification and collaboration and better compliance with contracts and policies.

“This represents a significant milestone in our procurement transformation, which will allow us to deliver more value to the organisation, employees, customers and suppliers,” explains Susan Tanmantiong, Chief Procurement Officer of JFC. “This project was successfully implemented by Consus and Ivalua through the commitment and support of their executive leadership.  Ivalua’s platform empowers us with the leading technology needed to deliver on our vision.”

“My heartiest congratulations to JFC and the entire Project Ruby Team,” explains Shantanu Bhowmick, Chairman & CEO at Consus Global. “I believe that the combined team of Ivalua, Consus and JFC have delivered a long-term and sustainable solution to digitise the enterprise wide Source-to-Receipt Process at JFC. With procurement transformations of this nature and magnitude, there are both short term and long-term benefits. The integrated Ivalua solution deployed will not only bring increased spend under management on one platform but also allow Jollibee to collaborate both internally and externally to create sustainable value, improve supplier performance and manage supply chain risks.”

“This project is a great example of how ambitious transformations can be successfully launched in record time when innovative procurement teams work with the right partner and leading technology,” explains Dan Amzallag, CEO at Ivalua Inc. “Consus has been a long-term partner of Ivalua, whose experience translates to significant value for our customers. And the JFC team’s customer-centric approach, vision and energy was key to the rapid deployment.”

A survey by researchers at WMG, University of Warwick saw 249 mid to large manufacturers from food and beverage to automotive, and pharmaceuticals to electronic equipment and more industries respond to the survey about their supply chain resilience in the current state and future potential…

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many people across the world, one particular way includes supply chains, some people found they couldn’t buy pasta or loo roll, and it was the same for manufacturers, who suddenly had to change their strategies to ensure their supply chain during the pandemic.

There have been many challenges in the past for the manufacturing supply chain, such as the 2001 recession, SARS, 2011 Tohoku earthquake, 2016 oil crisis, and Brexit. Although there have been other pandemics such as swine flu and Ebola, the COVID-19 pandemic was nothing the modern world had ever seen before.

A survey by researchers at WMG, University of Warwick saw 249 mid to large manufacturers from food and beverage to automotive, and pharmaceuticals to electronical equipment and more industries respond to the survey about their supply chain resilience in the current state and future potential.

They found several impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

· 58% of firms ae still experiences a decrease in demand 3 months post lockdown

· 66-73% of firms have been effective to responding to increases and decreases in demand

· Buffer management, multi-sourcing and visibility were favoured over agile production networks

· Cash management and securing supply were critical initial responses to the covid-19 crisis

· 84% of firms found their planning systems were effective, but still required human intervention

· The most apparent bottlenecks to their supply chain was people issues, such as warehouse staff being in quarantine at home

The researchers then assessed manufacturers supply chain resilience in three different times, business as normal, during COVID-19 and preparation for Brexit. For each time period they identified how 6 supply chain resilience practices that could be used proactively (pre-disruption), reactively (during and post disruption) or both. These included:

1. Supply chain planning – demand forecasting and contingency planning (Proactive)

2. Visibility – Having access to real time data (Proactive)

3. Collaboration – Working with SC partners to deliver customer value (Proactive & reactive)

4. Buffer management – Utilising inventory and production capacity to enable material flow (Proactive and reactive)

5. Flexibility – Establishing multiple sourcing options (Proactive and reactive)

6. Adaptability – Transforming the SC in responding to dynamic business environment (Reactive

In normal operation firms found their practices to generally be effective. However, there was opportunity for improvements in visibility and collaboration to support improved supply chain planning. Firms also said they have been effective in managing buffers in normal operation.

During the Covid-19 pandemic firms utilised supply chain planning as a response to the pandemic with effective planning systems reported by 84% of manufacturers. However, this still required a high degree of human intervention. Buffer management and flexibility were found to be less effective than in normal operations. The survey found that 55% of manufacturers used inventory as their primary buffer against disruption, with only 32% utilising flexibility within the agile production systems of suppliers. Inventory buffers whilst effective if the disruption creates an upturn in demand, can be catastrophic to cash flow if demand drops.

Similarly to COVID-19 when it comes to Brexit they’ve found that an increase in collaboration has led to improved supply chain visibility and planning. However, the uncertainty of Brexit is a cause for concern in terms of supply base flexibility with firms unsure of what type of response will be required.

Professor Jan Godsell from WMG, University of Warwick comments:
“It’s interesting to see that the lessons manufactures’ have learnt in developing supply chain resilience practices in response to COVID-19 pandemic are helping manufacturers to prepare for Brexit. However, the uncertainty of Brexit, particularly in terms of the impact of flow of material is challenging for developing supply base flexibility. Whilst manufacturers can proactively prepare for Brexit, a high degree of adaptability will be required to buffer against the unknown.

“All manufacturers should consider assessing their current level of supply chain resilience to identify the areas in which their current supply chain resilience practices could be developed. Working collaboratively with supply chain partners to improve supply chain visibility and planning are the key building blocks. More effective use of inventory and capacity buffers, and flexibility within the supply base can further improve resilience. Some disruptions cannot be predicted, and supply chains need to the capability to adapt.”

The winners of ABX 2020!

Amazon Business announces the winners of the second annual Amazon Business Exchange Awards: Zalando, HC-One, Airbus, and Telefónica. The awards honour leaders and organizations that are driving change in procurement and embracing digital transformation – from simplifying purchasing and helping teams enable more modern ways of working to save costs, to removing barriers and creating inclusive environments within procurement.

“We are excited to see that so many teams across small businesses, schools and universities, as well as large enterprises with tens of thousands of employees, were able to accelerate the digital shift in procurement to help their organizations focus more on their core missions and pivot quickly to new conditions,” said Nabil De Marco, Director, Amazon Business Europe. “With the Amazon Business Exchange Awards, we want to recognize our winners HC-One, Airbus, Telefónica and Zalando for showcasing their best practices in creating more agile workforces and streamlined procurement processes – to share with the broader procurement community.”

The award ceremony took place online on October 7th, during the Amazon Business Exchange (ABX) 2020, the company’s cross-sector business customer conference in Europe.

The 2020 ABX Awards winners

The Bringing People Together Award

This award showcases an organization that is leading actions to remove barriers and create inclusive environments, especially important during this unprecedented time.

The winner: HC-One

“Our objective is to make procurement simple, agile and efficient, while focusing on the needs and experiences of our residents and colleagues. By integrating Amazon Business, we were able to automate the end-to-end process and move quickly. For example, we purchased Amazon Fire Tablets for our care homes to support the connection between residents and their loved ones, while visiting has been restricted due to the Coronavirus pandemic,” said Michael Robson, Head of Procurement at HC-One.

The Innovating with Intent Award

This award gives recognition to organizations that are pushing the boundaries in procurement, to not only innovate purchasing processes but also contribute to the advancement of the entire organization.

The winner: Airbus

“We’re delighted to accept the Innovating with Intent Award from Amazon Business. Here at Airbus we innovate in different ways – whether that’s through our extensive ecosystem of technology scouts, through our global innovation centres, or in partnership with research institutes. Our role in the procurement division is to support and accelerate the Airbus innovation projects with their sourcing needs and to deliver these goods as fast as possible. We’re partnering with Amazon Business to source the diverse range of items needed to build prototypes for our innovation projects. Amazon Business has given innovators at Airbus an efficient and familiar route to purchase with easy adoption. The key outcomes we have seen are a reduction in the number of suppliers, shorter delivery times with next day delivery, and, crucially, a significant reduction in project duration as prototype parts are now easily accessible,” said Alec Dent, Category Manager, Innovation Procurement at Airbus.

The Sustainable Procurement Award

This award highlights organizations that are making a measurable difference in creating sustainable supply chains to drive excellence and best practice.

The winner: Telefónica

“In 2020, we launched our new global Sustainability Policy in our supply chain to reinforce respect for human rights and the environment. As part of this, we started working with Amazon Business in July 2020 to gain an understanding of how we can make the most out of their sustainable products. We’re absolutely thrilled to win this award and hope for much more success as the partnership develops over the months and years to come,” said Maya Ormazabal, Head Environment and Human Rights at Telefónica.

The Procurement Hero Award

This award is sponsored by American Express. It recognizes an individual who is the driving force of change in a procurement team and is paving the path to an easier purchasing process.

The winner: Alejandro Basterrechea, Zalando

“It’s an honor to win the first ABX Procurement Hero Award. There are so many great procurement professionals in our industry, that to even be nominated, feels like an award in itself, but to win is something I never expected. While this is a personal award, it would never have been possible without the support, engagement and drive from the Indirect Procurement team at Zalando. I’m passionate about procurement and I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months hold,” said Alejandro Basterrechea, Head of Procurement Operations at Zalando.

Check out our exclusive feature with Zalando:


About the winners:


HC-One, The Kind Care Company, provides residential, nursing and dementia care services, with 328 care homes across England, Scotland and Wales, and a mission to deliver the kindest possible care.


Airbus is an international pioneer in the aerospace industry and a leader in designing, manufacturing and delivering aerospace products, services and solutions to customers on a global scale.


Telefónica is today one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world in terms of number of customers. Its vision is focused on technology making people’s lives easier and its aim is to promote progress in that direction, so that technology can make a positive impact on the world both socially and environmentally, and, ultimately, to provide value and trust in an ever-changing and accelerating world.


Zalando is Europe’s leading online platform for fashion and lifestyle. Founded in Berlin in 2008, they bring head-to-toe fashion to over 34 million active customers in 17 markets, offering clothing, footwear, accessories, and beauty.

ABX caters for procurement, finance and supply chain leaders who want to discover how to innovate quickly and build more efficient processes and organizations. The conference partnered with the procurement community this year to feature a series of sessions including inspiring ‘ABX Changemakers’ who are driving transformation in their sectors.

To watch speaker sessions from the event, including the Amazon Business Exchange Awards 2020 session, click here.

Featuring Lufthansa Group, Telkom Group and much more…

We are proud to unveil another fantastic issue of CPOstrategy and wish warm greetings to all of our readers!

This month we are delighted to see Angela Qu, Senior Vice President, Chief Procurement Officer at Lufthansa Group grace the front cover of CPOstrategy. In this exclusive feature, Angela tells us how procurement is becoming a true business enabler.

With a focus on strategic enablement, Qu has been able to see significant improvements across the Group’s procurement performance and believes empowerment is key to delivering on any strategic vision. “We empower our group category managers by letting them understand what they’re responsible for and what their mandates are. Empowerment means that they are truly aligned to the procurement vision and understand how they can play a key role in the transformation. In the end, the team has to deliver the requested results.”

Click the image below to read the latest issue of CPOstrategy :

Elsewhere, we continue to explore the impacts of empowering procurement as Ben Van Zyl, Group Executive Procurement and Contract Management, at Telkom, discusses the procurement journey for business and how the internal stakeholder sits at the very heart of it.

“When you listen to business owners, you are able to translate their vision and strategy for their business into a sourcing strategy that will enable them to succeed,” he says. “It’s about getting the language right.”

Rounding out the magazine; Rich Ham, CEO of Fine Tune, tells us how the time is now for you to teach your team how to engage third parties to optimally advance the business’ interests, and award-winning CIO Phil Clayson provides the CIO’s perspective on on navigating the challenges of a pandemic by bringing IT and procurement closer together.

Enjoy the issue!