CPO Rising Conference in Boston November 2017 – Challenges and Opportunities

The CPO Rising conference that was held in Boston last week offered me a rare chance to speak with many talented CPOs face-to-face.

Many were working on:

  • Becoming nimbler in all aspects of procurement
  • Increasing efficiency by eliminating Excel and other offline tools
  • Sourcing all spend categories
  • Enhancing data analytics
  • Fostering greater collaboration with suppliers and stakeholders

It is not surprising that sourcing challenges and opportunities seem to remain the same despite the technological advances in software, processing speed and storage in the past ten years.

Better tools will help an organization only if they are supported, adopted and fully implemented.

The host company, Ardent Partners shared some very interesting research statistics. They made me realize that many CPOs are still struggling to gain recognition for their contributions.

The good news is that the opportunities to drive competitive advantage have never been greater.

The presentations by recognized leaders in the procurement space were inspiring and offered Insight and advice on how they have driven their organizations forward.

Some of the key themes that they shared were:

  • Everything is moving faster, and people need real-time information to make the best decisions
  • Big data can be a tremendous asset if it can be analyzed quickly otherwise it could be a resource drag
  • Transformational thinking is needed at all levels of your organization
  • Cross-functional alliances and collaboration are essential to drive competitive advantage
  • Users are looking for an “I want it now Amazon type experience” in commercial buying

One overriding theme that was mentioned continuously was: simplify your processes. This is being driven by user’s experience in personal online purchasing. In one startling example a presenter revealed that he discovered that it took more than 20 steps to get a purchase approved. The process was simplified everyone involved loved it.

None of the presenters said it was easy, but they stayed focused and their results have moved them ahead of their competitors.

As I wrote last week, make your process better and your stakeholders will fully participate and help you eliminate rogue spend. Make it easier to do business with you and suppliers will provide more competitive bids.

Many great ideas are rooted in simplicity. We all have enough complications in our life.


Action Step: If you are uncertain where to start the process of change, a procurement professional like myself can provide guidance and expertise to help your organization achieve the results you want.

If you want to go explore this topic in greater detail, please contact me. I invite you to request 30-minute discovery conversation. In my experience the next step will be apparent at the end of the call. I never assume that what I have to offer will be right for everyone, so don’t expect a sales pitch. You can reach me at 973-936-9672.

If you would like to know more ways to reduce costs without changing the way you do business, simply give me a call or send me an email with your contact information and the best time to reach you.

You Won’t Drift to Success©

Commit to taking the next step.

Until Next Time, I Wish You Great Success in Your Business and in Your Life

Mike Jeffries