Remko Van Hoek at the Procurement Summit – California Thinking

Remko van Hoek has had a varied career covering procurement research, writing (a co-author of this very successful and good book), a CPO for PWC and Disney…  and as we said here, he is a very good speaker. So we’re looking forward to his keynote next week at the Procurement Summit at the Midland Hotel in Manchester on 15th November, brought to you by the eWorld team. (Tickets are free for practitioners; still time to book here).

We caught up with Remko last week to ask him about his session, but first of all asked him about living in California for the last two years. “It was great to begin with, but you do begin to miss the Dutch weather after a while”, he says. Going back for a visit recently to the Netherlands, his kids were delighted to play in the rain – for the first day or so anyway!

In recent months, while beginning the search for his next professional home, he has been taking stock of the procurement landscape and where we’re at as a profession. As he says, “there is no lack of clarity around some of the key areas we need to address”. Every CPO talks about “value”, we are clear that is the goal and have moved beyond “savings” as the sole driver.

Approaches such as SRM (supplier relationship management) have been high on the agenda for years. We all know that influencing stakeholders is key, and yet, as he puts it, “it’s not clear procurement has really moved the needle in recent years” despite that understanding, in terms of our success and positioning in organisations.

Why is that? It’s a big question, but one that he plans to address (or try to address) in Manchester. There are no simple, quick or magic answers of course but a major part of it is the leadership challenge, as he puts it. It is not the lack of clear strategy for procurement functions; it is all about how we can deliver against that and achieve the strategic goals that our organisations desire.

So he promises to talk about the barriers and pitfalls; what is it that is getting in the way? And he’s interested in practical, actionable best practice, “but we must recognise that everyone starts in a different place, it is no good presenting the ultimate vision when most organisations are a long way away from that”. He therefore promises to give delegates some takeaways that are of value to everyone, grounded and achievable.

We very much enjoyed talking to Remko - it sounds like a genuinely interesting presentation, and one that he is clearly putting a lot of thought into, while in the process managing to stay out of the sun... You can book here for the event; see you in Manchester.

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