With the evolution of the C-level names today, it is often hard to keep track of all the acronyms and their meanings. For instance if you look up “CPO”, in addition to Chief Procurement Officer, there are several other corporate roles with the same name that include Chief Process Officer, Chief Performance Officer, Chief Product Officer. In the long history of procurement vying for a seat at the table, it would be a appropriate to quote the late Rodney Dangerfield – “I tell ya, I get no respect “.
Recent research in the forthcoming Aberdeen Report – Dynamic Procurement – The CPO as Collaborator, Innovator and Strategist, shows the need for a strong CPO is higher than ever. Based on survey results of over 120 respondents, 36% stated the role of the CPO as strategic to the organization while 17% stated it as very strategic. Another interesting find was the average tenure of the CPO, which 44% of survey respondents indicated was more than five years. Aberdeen’s research suggests the CPO function is no longer seen as a short-term stepping stone on the way up the corporate ladder.
One way to look at the evolution of the role is that the more risk the more reward, and more recognition of the function. Considering the economic picture today there is an increasing need for procurement leaders to be tenacious over preserving margins and stabilizing costs. For instance, one key the findings shows inflationary pressures on categories and commodities as the second most noted pressure for CPOs, second only to the ability of identifying and cutting costs.
Overall the skills developed by CPO role are wide-reaching and require knowledge and experience in areas like financial analysis, project management, and vendor governance. Yet in terms of importance of professional competencies for the CPO, on scale ranking of 1 – 5, communication was ranked most often as “critical” by 66% of respondents, followed closely by influencing (59%), team leadership (58%) and strategic planning (57%). Taking nothing away from the importance of quantitative skills, the research demonstrates the need of management skills for improving the visibility of the CPO.
Discuss and share your insights on the state of the CPO and procurement challenges at our event this Fall.
Registration is now open for the sixth annual CPO Summit in Boston, November 15 – 16 2011.