David Smith CB, CIPS vice president and DWP commercial director, argues that cost reduction should be the CPO's main priority.
Due to missing a West Ham match to attend this event, David certainly makes up for it with rhetorical fireworks!
David's main point is dear to many hearts in the industry at this point in time: most companies have spent the last year in survival mode, focused on cost reduction -- whether they like it or not.
"Don't kid me that it's not about money and spend reduction," David opines. "We need to make it hard to spend, because what you do is about spending less. The emphasis is to cut waste, slash discretionary spend (aka your drinking bill here tonight), focus on areas with a disproportionate impact on our critical services. We'll plan sustainably and improve services but cut costs and reduce headcount (because we have to)."
He points out the huge impact that procurement cost reduction can have on a private sector organization's bottom line, and points out that if a CPO doesn't deliver in this area, there won't be any profile for the profession, and we won't be able to do the other worthwhile things that we would like to do as professionals.
We hope to bring a similar event stateside soon, though we're not sure how Chicago's Old Style can match up to a warm pint of bitter.
- Sheena Moore