Mickey North Rizza — An Interview: Looking Back, Accelerating Forward (Part 4)

Please click here for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.

Spend Matters: This is your first time on the dark side -- within the provider world. You've been a practitioner and an analyst. Knowing what you know about consultants and software companies, how do you plan to be different in presenting and delivering the capabilities of Bravo?

Mickey North Rizza: I don't think I plan to be different. It's more about moving forward and realizing most organizations need additional help beyond what they get from vendors and consultants today. This is lost on too many providers who rely exclusively on partners to push implementation alone, without a broader adoption and solution-embracing principal that makes a significant difference to the business. It's also why clients used to clamor to become part of the AMR organization. They wanted to work with us. It was a culture of attraction that brought out the best in companies. That's what I hope to instill here because having great technology is not enough: you need a solution filled with the right mix of resources focused on outcomes.

Once you enable the visibility with technology, it's about the business process and the right people to implement, manage and execute to success. It's about tying together new product development, supply chain, sustainability, sourcing, planning, manufacturing, risk -- the whole people, process and linked technology aspects. A crucial component of this is alignment around stakeholder objectives and internal gap analysis. This is where you can really bring the intersection of cost savings and working capital to the equation. In the end, the right strategy, resources, and execution combine to deliver superior performance.

It's also important to think about the right teams and talent required to move the needle forward. If you do the right things for business you can go a long way, but this requires a new mindset not just from the top, but in the middle of the organizational chart. Going from tactical strategic is not just about benchmarking and adopting technology, it is about a strategy to deliver success. In so many cases, the right talent is the missing link.

All of these facets are why I am excited about this new role at BravoSolution. In a sense, it is really a very natural progression from creating strategies and research at AMR and Gartner to implementation and execution today, including tackling the talent race head-on. No, we don't do recruiting at Bravo, but one thing I will work on extensively is helping my clients build a culture of talented resources to assist their quest for success.

Before, I assisted clients with our research and on the phone and during strategy days. Now I have the chance to get out there and make real change on a partnering basis. For talent development, I can see this taking the form of recommending and implementing such as areas as training programs, recruiting programs, skills programs to build internal talent, and executive/leadership mentoring and management. Moving from tactical to strategic requires moving beyond the typical software implementation and training to working towards phenomenal business outcomes that bring great profitability, ROI and shareholder value.

I believe at the end of the day, it's about affecting procurement performance -- which requires ensuring the objectives are met.

Spend Matters: Looking at two of the sectors that Bravo has considerable depth in, manufacturing and CPG/food, what are toughest challenges procurement executives face going into the second half of 2012?

Mickey North Rizza: Executives want to know if they're focused on the right objectives in this climate -- all the right things. Direct materials is certainly an important level, and with direct spend, processes and expertise are so critical. But I go back to the bigger picture when thinking about the future of these markets.

I believe two of the toughest challenges are more macro in scope. Start with shifting populations (a good place to research this is to look at UN data which shows the world population). The world population trends directly maps to where consumer goods (and other manufactured goods) will be required in the future. We'll need to see whole new categories of affordable products to drive growth in many of these markets. Margins will be hit and a multitude of consumer markets will, by nature, be commoditized.

Look at Tata's $2500 car, for example. The future in these markets will map to Tata's strategy to bring a profitable car to market at an entirely new price point. Procurement and supply chain will be front and center in rising to the challenge.

Stay tuned as we wrap up our interview with Mickey.

- Jason Busch

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