Are there any limits to procurement’s role?

The current issue of CPO Agenda published a very provocative article entitled Are there any limits to procurement’s role? where they summarized the responses of a panel of leading professionals that recently debated the issue in Brussels.

The participants included Gordon Criction, Nando Galazzo, Malcolm Harrison, Craig Lardner, Silla Maizey, Tom Rae, Luc Volatier, and Peter Kelk.

The participants had a significant number of great insights to share, which I’ve summarized below.

Silla Maizey
Procurement is shifting from being relatively transactional to something that’s quite commercial. Procurement is now about how to drive the business forward commercially. The only limits you put on the role are the limits that you place on yourself.
Luc Volatier
Whereas in the past, procurement heard the news along with the rest of the world with respect to acquisitions, today procurement is often involved in the due diligence process from the beginning. Procurement also tends to be included in any innovation project. In the end, the limit to procurement’s role is the one set by the executive board.
Craig Lardner
Procurement is now included in the sales process at some companies. For example, to meet with the client’s purchasing director to overview cost structures and demonstrate cost containment. The limitations of procurement are ultimately driven by the quality of your team and what they can achieve.
Peter Kelk
Procurement is now becoming involved in professional services.
Nando Galazzo
Globalisation and consolidation have opened up tremendous opportunities for procurement development. You are ultimately constrained in what you can do by the overcommitment of your people.
Gordon Crichton
Procurement is now a real contributor to the business, especially in helping to build the brand to create sustainable shareholder value. Today there is a high-level demand for procurement that wasn’t there before. The sky’s the limit.
Tom Rae
Procurement is becoming more of a profession for generalists, rather than specialists. Also, procurement is now devoting more time and resources to strategic issues.
Malcolm Harrison
If you take sequential steps, build credibility, build the capabilities of your team, and go as fast as you are capable of, there are no limits to procurement’s role in the long term.

The article also asked what was driving this change in procurement’s role, what needs to happen for procurement to be involved in non-traditional activities, and what the constraints and challenges are when it comes to the expansion of procurement’s role. It’s a great article and I encourage you to read the article in it’s entirety.

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