Deloitte Paper Offers Insight on Procurement Talent Management

Consulting firm Deloitte has produced a short paper titledProcurement talent management: Exceptional outcomes require exceptional people.”

It is a good read, with some thought-provoking points that go beyond the usual stuff about capabilities and training that we often see in content around “people issues”. Just picking out a couple of issues, how about this.

“Who actually “does” procurement?

Hint: it’s not just about the procurement department anymore. Procurement remains a far-flung, decentralized activity in some organizations, with business units handling much of their own purchasing. The number of procurement, supply chain, and accounts payable resources involved directly in purchasing can be multiplied by a factor of 10 (based on Deloitte client engagement and analysis) to arrive at the actual number of people with a role in the process. Companies can find it difficult to establish a talent management capability that encompasses everyone”.

That has significant implications for CPOs and other leaders of the “function” - if indeed we can define the “function” at all in any meaningful way. There is only limited benefit for instance in developing a high-skill procurement team if all the other people who play important roles in the end-to-end procurement process are commercially naive. That is a huge topic in itself, and we should come back to that soon.

There is also a section on “churn” which turns the usual view that staff moving is bad on its head.

“Churn can be virtuous

Formal job rotation programs for future senior leadership positions, or even senior finance positions, are increasingly putting procurement and supply chain on the rotation list. What better place to develop commercial, operational, analytical, and collaborative skills all in one department?

In addition, a rotation can instill awareness of the value that procurement can provide, making it easier to form partnerships with future leaders in other parts of the business. Some procurement functions have become net exporters of talent into other parts of the business.

Another benefit of duty tours in procurement is self-selection by future leaders of the function, people who thrive in its dynamic environment. Procurement can become a destination other than one for people who “can’t make it” in other departments”.


Good stuff – and all in all, it’s well worth a read. And our Spend Matters US colleagues have written several short articles around the key points in the Deloitte document; you can read them all here.


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