Currently, the prominence of the Procurement area is related not only to cost reduction, but also to its capability for innovation as a competitive strategy.

While savings are one of the area’s key goals, the Deloitte’s Global CPO Survey 2021 shows that, for the first time in 10 years, the operational efficiency of the procurement team is one of the top priorities for leaders of this industry.

These trends take the supply area to another level, and bring on the need to train professionals capable of handling so many challenges. In today’s post, you will know more about the importance of CPOs (Chief Procurement Officers) for the creation of an area focused on the future.

Keep on reading!

The importance of Chief Procurement Officers for organizations

If there were still doubts about the relevance of the chief procurement officer (CPO), the recent time of crisis and higher demand levels reinforced the fact that such professional will be more and more requested by businesses. In Brazil, the CPO role is listed among the 30 careers on the rise during 2021, according to the VC S/A business magazine.

To meet the demands of this new scenario, in a futuristic and humanized environment, these professionals of the future – who stand out in the present already – must look inside and outside the box, adopt efficient processes, adapt to changes very quickly, and recognize the relationship with their suppliers as an excellent business opportunity.

Here are some tips for you, as CPO, to have prominence in your career during the years to come.

Digital culture

Actually, it isn’t a new concept, but constant evolution, digital culture and the automation of procurement processes still divide the opinions of business leaders. While there are companies that have been adopting solutions to cut operational load off their teams and make them more strategic, there are also those that would rather abide by archaic means, such as multiple spreadsheets and printed documents.

But the fact of deploying digital tools doesn’t necessarily mean transforming an organization’s culture. First of all, these changes must be well reviewed and structured, according to the particularities of each business.

The CPOs must listen to their teams, understand their key needs, empower their teams, partners and other involved areas, and – above all – understand that a culture focused on digital transformation can’t be built overnight.

See more about the subject in this post.

ESG criteria

ESG, which is the acronym for Environmental, Social and Governance, refers to the best practices of those areas, and can no longer be out of CPOs’ priority lists.

Besides prioritizing the decrease of negative impacts of internal activities, when comes to society and the environment, looking at the whole production chain is a must, considering not only the key partners, but also their own suppliers.

It’s quite a challenge for businesses and their leaders!

Agile methodologies

Agile methodologies, such as Scrum, Lean and Kanban, among others, make process standardization easier and promote innovation, productivity and collaboration in the procurement area.

The “Leading agile transformation” survey, from McKinsey, stresses that leaders can be the biggest barriers or greatest facilitators of successful agile transformations.

The study elected cultural change of businesses as the key challenge in this case.

Soft skills

Technical knowledge is a very valuable asset in procurement. But more and more behavioral skills are considered a must for the success of this area.

It’s easier, for instance, to teach people how to use a tool than to make them excel in negotiation. The second topic requires the development of specific skills, such as communication and relationship.

In this sense, the attitude and guidance of a leader are extremely important and can affect, both positively and negatively, the development of a whole team.

Procurement 4.0

It’s no wonder that the “Procurement 4.0” term has been drawing more and more attention from CPOs, on a global basis. Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Computing, 3D Printing (additive manufacturing) and Internet of Things (IoT) are some technologies that are changing the way the procurement area operates.

Such technologies are largely responsible for the ascension of that area and must be on the CPOs’ agenda urgently.