CPO Crunch: A rewarding time

David Rae

Despite the macroeconomic and geopolitical gloom, procurement provides reasons for optimism

As we, and more than 40 CPOs from our global community of leaders, embark on the process of judging the World Procurement Awards 2024, it was a privilege to look through many of the entries before our panel of experts get stuck into the process this coming week.

It’s reassuring and inspiring to see both the impact being made by procurement, but also the passion with which those working in the function are going about their business. Hundreds of entries, across 14 categories, illustrate just how deeply procurement executives care about the work they do.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. Entries extol the commercial and social benefits of accelerating diversity and inclusion, for example, while sustainability will be one of the most fiercely competed categories with a huge number of entries. At the same time, individuals and teams are being applauded for going above and beyond.

The awards are a great reminder of just how broad the procurement remit is and how deep and wide the reach of the function has become. We have the opportunity to work with and harness the technology of thousands of suppliers, can influence success across internal functions, from R&D to sales and – crucially – can connect the outside with the inside.

It reminds me of a comment the former CPO of IBM John Paterson made when we launched the Supplier Enabled Innovation Center in 2016, when he said how “wonderfully privileged” a position procurement had within the value chain. That position provides an open door to a world of capability, technology and innovation.

As we continue our journey through 2024, we are battling many headwinds – not least the ongoing geopolitical struggles that are leading to supply chain disruptions, ongoing uncertainty from an unprecedented number of national elections, stubborn inflationary pressures and stuttering consumer confidence.

But what the awards do is provide a strong and purposeful reminder that there are many reasons for optimism. The progress we are making on environmental and social issues, the opportunity that digital progress provides, the diversity and equity we are helping to bring, and the purpose with which many of the leading procurement organisations in the world are driven by.

It’s a good time to be in procurement.

Middle East calls

On Thursday, the CPO community will congregate for a special edition of our CPO Connect calls to dig into the situation in the Middle East and explore the impact that events are having on supply chains. Escalating tensions, attacks in the Red Sea and ongoing war are just some of the risks we are contending with in 2024. During this session we will bring the community together to discuss what CPOs are doing to mitigate them. The aim of this session is for CPOs to come away with enhanced knowledge on the specific tactics being deployed to address the current risk landscape. DM me if you have an interest in joining.

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