In the most recent issue of CPO Agenda, there's a lengthy piece from Hackett's Chris Sawchuck and Pierre Mitchell that provides significant benchmarks and advice for organizations looking to improve their procurement returns. While there's not enough room to get into all the details here -- I'd strongly suggest you check out the article for yourself -- one of the challenges they outline is that procurement organizations often fail to innovate when it comes to their own processes and capabilities to "help the rest of the organization to tap the power of supply markets more efficiently and effectively to support broader corporate innovation efforts." And it's not because companies don't want to innovate. According to a recent Hackett study, "28 percent of procurement executives rank innovation as a 'top three' priority for procurement," but "it is a top three issue at the enterprise level twice as often -- 56 percent." There's certainly a relationship between innovation and influence. And all too often, procurement organizations are signing to a different tune than those executives in the rest of the company. So while "procurement may claim high spend influence numbers -- a 'quantity of influence' metric -- the 'quality of influence' measured by early procurement influence during specification is less than 50 percent."
The rest of the article tackles benchmarks, models and ideas to help procurement executives think through organizational design, influence and structure in risk and CSR, among other areas. Overall, I've got to hand it to Hackett for coming up with pragmatic advice that goes far beyond merely interpreting the numbers contained in their benchmarks. This is one of the shames right now of Aberdeen, in fact. I've been more closely monitoring some of their "fact-based" research -- I'll profile a few pieces in the coming weeks -- but there's so little expert analysis. In contrast, Hackett more than swims in the data -- they surf in it. I suppose that the old adage of "you get what you pay for" more than applies here. Still, I hold out hope that Aberdeen will get more expert and analytical in their analyses as well. We'd all be the better for it, as relying on Hackett data alone is not enough.
- Jason Busch