An Invitation to Dinner for Senior Execs To Discuss the CPO’s Future Role

I’m chairing what should be an interesting and stimulating evening session in a few weeks – June 14th to be precise. It’s badged as the Alchemy Club (no, me neither) and sponsored by our friends at Basware.

The Club is a “global network of senior finance & procurement executives working within the world’s largest and most innovative businesses. We collaborate on the issues our community are facing and bring practical insights and ideas to your challenges. Membership is free and by invitation only. Join us and become part of this global network.”

The idea is to get a pretty small group of senior procurement folk together in a convivial setting, at the Covent Garden Hotel, over drinks and dinner (6.30pm – 9.30pm) to discuss some of the big issues of the day.

And they don’t come much bigger than this – “The Future Role of the CPO: Disruptive technologies in the Procurement Function”.  

So what is the role of the CPO or head of function in a digitised world?  That will take us into the role of the whole procurement function, I suspect.

Now many people tell us that digitisation, machine learning, AI and automation is going to take the low-value, routine, transactional elements of procurement away, leaving us to swan around our organisations “being strategic”, working as a trusted adviser to the Board and managing the top supplier relationships.

It’s an attractive vision, but what if the Board in reality says this. “Actually, we don’t really need your help, we want to manage the most strategic relationships ourselves (I mean, you’ve been telling us how important these key suppliers are for years …), we’ll empower budget holders with these smart tools so they can do their own procurement and just take the cost savings from closing down the procurement department, thanks very much”.

The future success of “procurement” – or whatever we call it in the future – is not guaranteed or assured.

So I’ll be kicking off the evening on the 14th with a few personal thoughts on what procurement leaders should be doing to prepare themselves, their people and functions. That will just be for a few minutes, then we’ll open it up to a discussion – Chatham House rules apply, I assume, so hopefully people will speak freely. My role will be to try and stimulate discussion and maybe try to provoke a few (constructive) arguments -- always more fun than everyone agreeing!

The evening is aimed at senior procurement folk in reasonably large organisations, so if this sounds interesting, please RSVP here to register your interest. I look forward to seeing some of our readers there on the 14th.

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  1. Secret Squirrel (is a pedant):

    Chatham House Rule. There’s only one…..

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