Success doesn’t come to you. You go to it. ~Marva Collins

Recap from the Marcus Evans CPO Summit
April 9-10, 2018

By Melissa Beuc

Thom McLeod and I had the opportunity to participate in the CPO Summit hosted by Marcus Evans. Our hosts provided a great venue for fellow Procurement and Supply Chain executives to meet, share stories and learn from each other’s experiences.

All presentations had great insight to share. As I look at them all, there are two themes that were touched on in all discussions. Procurement has a unique insight into developing solutions that matter to companies and their bottom-line.

Innovation through partnerships 

Procurement and Supply Chain teams can take an active role in innovation – it’s not strictly a function of R&D. The key to innovation is fostering a culture that promotes and supports new ideas and working to remove the barriers that can exist that limit the scope for Innovation. Because of Procurement’s role in the organization and with key suppliers, it is in a perfect spot to strengthen supplier partnerships by encouraging them to introduce new, innovative approaches or processes. The good suppliers have additional market insight and continuously improve their own products that allow your company to stay competitive.

  • Internal partnerships – Procurement cuts across the naturally forming “silos” in an organization. Divisions and business units focus on driving their own success and often miss process or technology innovative ideas from other areas in the company. Procurement can harvest great ideas from one division and inspire other divisions to also implement them. This creates a network effect that feeds and grows innovation across the entire corporate community.
  • Supplier partnerships – Not only are suppliers critical to current production and product delivery, they can also be an important source of innovation. Best-in-class suppliers win and keep business by constantly modernizing their products, processes, and approaches. Weekly, monthly or quarterly reports are only part of the answer because they look backward and show you what happened. With this data, Procurement can digitize processes by introducing Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Robotic Process Automation (RPA). And even more importantly, Procurement can introduce new revenue opportunities by identifying market trends, suggesting new products or markets.


Interpretation – Tapping into big data and digitizing processes

Data.  BIG data. It is all we hear about. With the advent of SaaS procurement and supply chain tools and now cloud computing, teams have access to more data than ever before. Procurement leaders can find information about how much they spend, with whom, by whom, where…even down to the individual device level.

However, it’s not the reporting that is important, it is how you interpret the data. Weekly, monthly or quarterly reports are only part of the answer as they look backward to show you what happened. Procurement is in an enviable position because, with access to such precise data across the entire organization, production and product lines, they can be the “go-to” resource for the company.  With this data, Procurement can improve processes, digitize processes by introducing Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Robotic Process Automation (RPA), identify market trends that can suggest new products or markets.

If Procurement can master big data and derive insights beyond reporting, their role in the organization changes and goes beyond cost optimization to revenue optimization.