How to position procurement and change attitudes – webinar with Proxima

The report from Proxima, procurement outsourcing experts, titled “Corporate Virtualization  – A global study of cost externalization and its implications on profitability” put the cat amongst the procurement pigeons when it came out last Autumn. We all cheered when the detailed analysis carried out showed that across hundreds of large companies, third party spend accounted for almost 70% of revenues, as opposed to just 14% spent on internal staff. And the trend was upwards, as spend with suppliers assumes more importance to businesses. That seems unlikely to reverse anytime soon.

So good news for procurement people and the profession? At one level, yes, undoubtedly. Clearly, with so much money being spent, getting value for money, even competitive advantage, through managing those suppliers must be critical for the organisation.

But at another level, the report raised some uncomfortable questions. If suppliers and spend with suppliers is so important, why do many organisations not seem to recognise the importance of good procurement performance? Why are so few Procurement Directors or CPOs sitting at Board level? Why do CEOs not perceive procurement as strategically critical to the business?

Difficult questions, one and all. There's no doubt the Proxima report should give procurement great ammunition to go and break down those barriers and storm the boardrooms of the world. But never mind the level of understanding amongst CFOs and CEOs - do we in procurement really understand what it takes for procurement to operate at the highest levels, to deliver real value to the organisation?

These and other weighty questions will be discussed at the end of the month, as I get together with Guy Strafford (pictured here) and Scott Sparks of Proxima, for a webinar under the chairmanship of broadcaster and blogger Jon Hansen. We’re calling it Shifting corporate management's attitudes towards procurement , looking at how procurement can use the evidence in the report to move forwards and change perceptions. More generally, how can we can convince the Board to support and promote procurement performance improvement and transformation?

Join us (free of charge) by registering here. Pretty much every debate Mr Strafford and I have ever had, over the last 15 years or so, has been (how shall I put it) - "lively".  Now this one won’t have been preceded by a few glasses of wine at a CIPS dinner, which has often been the case in the past, but I suspect it will be no exception anyway. Hope you can join us.

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