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The search for procurement catalysts is on

Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall
Jun 11, 2015 11:04:00 AM

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Catalytic procurement

For some time, we have been talking about the opportunities for procurement and supply chain specialists to assume larger, more significant roles within their organizations. These opportunities have emerged as the supply chain has become more complex and companies grow more reliant on suppliers to fulfil their respective business promises.

It’s always nice to see validation of our perspective on these issues, and that is precisely what we got from The Wall Street Journal's recent coverage of the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Summit in Phoenix.

According to the article and the themes that emerged from the conference, today’s global organization is looking for procurement and supply chain specialists who have the ability to manage the complex, diverse and multi-faceted nature of today’s typical supply chain. Cisco’s Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Operations underscored this need when he said, “the supply chain industry is undergoing one of the most massive talent shifts we have ever seen.”

Further, Peter O'Brien, Head of the Global Supply Chain Practice of Russell Reynolds Associates said the most prominent example of this was the appointment of Apple's Tim Cook to the CEO role. Cook was previously the Chief Operating Officer at Apple Inc. where he oversaw the company's extended supplier network – further evidence of the growing respect for procurement from the C-suite.

But at the same time, the Journal further reports that these same companies are facing significant challenges as they attempt to fill a talent void among their supply chain and procurement teams. They are struggling to find individuals with the ability to manage global teams or the training and technological skills to embrace and leverage data collection systems, all of which can ultimately maximize the value that procurement can deliver.

The latter part is not surprising. Procurement professionals have traditionally been responsible for negotiating contracts with suppliers and other roles that could be defined as administrative in nature. So it might be too much to expect traditional practitioners to possess the desired and required skills overnight.

But a process is clearly underway, and The Wall Street Journal’s coverage of these issues reinforces the notion that today’s successful companies, and their senior executives, are taking a long, serious look at their supply chain management operations and are placing more importance on them than ever before.

Does your procurement team have the skills and resources required to maximize the value that procurement can deliver? Discover more at our webinar around the procurement team of the future.

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