Securing the Future of Procurement – Peter Smith at the Zycus CPO Connect Dinner

Procurement has been a great success story over the last 20 years or so. Most of us in that function would agree, and even our colleagues in other areas might grudgingly accept that the profile of procurement is higher than when those of us of a certain age first come into the profession.

Is that down to our own brilliance though? Or the sterling efforts of ISM, CIPS and other professional bodies, academics and writers on the topic? Well, many people have contributed to the growth of procurement, but the truth is we’ve been lucky. A number of key external factors have made organizations focus more strongly on procurement, and the “profession” has ridden that wave.

Look at the increase in outsourcing over the last 20 years, as organizations decided to focus on core business and outsource to take advantage of the deep expertise available in the external market to handle an ever more complex world. That put a lot more work procurement’s way. Or consider the wave of globalization, which certainly benefited procurement by putting more focus on complex sourcing issues and supply chain risk.

But we won't see those almost step changes again in the next 10 years, so in my view, we need a different view of how the profession, procurement functions and individuals need to evolve and behave if we want to succeed in the future. The old approaches that worked in the 1990s, the noughties and this decade won’t be enough, and we aren’t going to have those tailwinds behind us. We need to create our own future if procurement is to continue thriving.

That, in a nutshell, is the thinking behind what I’m going to talk about at the Zycus CPO Connect dinner in the very pleasant surroundings of the Gordon Ramsey Maze restaurant in Grosvenor Square, London, from 6 p.m. on Nov. 25. “Securing the future of procurement – making sure the next ten years are as successful as the last” is the title. Along with me talking (no more than 15 minutes, I promise) there will be a chance to debate the issues with senior peers. There are a few places left for senior practitioners, and you can register here.

Hope to see some of you there!

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