Newly minted or aspiring chief procurement officers have some of the greatest expectations ever to add value to their organizations. They are on the hook to bring costs under control, improve processes, and introduce new technology and innovation to both their department and into product development.
But you already know this. Contributing to the “procurement must evolve/add value/modernize/look beyond cost savings” cacophony, isn’t going to do anyone any good at this point.
That being said, CPOs have an average tenure of just a few years because they fall into a cyclical trap, which is to first review suppliers and spend, then squeeze out a few percentage points of savings year over year, and then move onto the next gig when they arrive at the cost-cutting dead-end. That’s why CEOs are inculcated into thinking that procurement as a cost center.
To end that cycle means a more intentional and design-driven approach to the job, leaving little about your team, function, and the perception of procurement to chance. It takes total thought reform. You’ll need to do a lot more work than what unremarkable CPOs traditionally take on, but the rewards will be worth it.
Once committed to transformational procurement, coming in fresh to a new environment offers a clean slate to carry out your vision. But that slate sits atop legacy processes and culture that will either be in sync or out of sync with your approach in varying degrees. You’ll need to analyze, undo and improve across all functions and communication points.
One way to get started is to plan out your first few months even before you show up for new employee orientation. The Hackett Group’s practical report for how CPOs should organize their first 100 days offers excellent advice. We were so impressed by what analysts Jeffrey Amsel and Amy Fong have put together that we both expanded on and distilled their report into a detailed chronological checklist. It includes more tips and advice from experts in the community plotted across the timeframe.
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