October 13 - 15, 2020
Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel
The CPO's Corner
How do I keep up with the digitation and mobilization of the modern workplace?
Procurement professionals can start by imagining ourselves as the service manager in a car dealership. Vehicles come in and your team fixes what is obviously wrong. But the team also runs diagnostics and recommends changing out the individual parts that may be operating well today but are approaching a failure point based on what the predictive model in the diagnostics indicates.
The decision on what to do rests with the vehicle’s owner and his or her plans for it. Keeping the car for a long time? Maybe the owner will decide to do everything that the model suggests. But the goal could be different – maybe the car’s owner plans to replace it shortly. Or to change jobs where the car will be driven a lot more or much less. Or maybe there’s a financial constraint. Whatever it all, the goals and circumstances will inform the actions that are ultimately taken.
Digitalization and mobilization of the workplace puts procurement leaders in a very similar situation. There are things broken in every company that need to be fixed. “Keep the business running” should always be the top priority. But beyond that, what you can do depends on your business, your company’s vision/ appetite for change, finances, and the technology that is available.
It’s a dream situation to have investment monies in the bank and business heads who support a big digital strategy. But if that’s not the case in your company that’s ok. Technology exists now in targeted solutions that – guided by the business needs – can allow the procurement team to identify and support specific applications.
- Is your company moving to a virtual employee model? Mobilization may be your focus
- Is cash tight? Then perhaps applications that support cash flow management
- Increased hiring needs because of rapid growth? Job Board Services
- Human resources drowning in paperwork? Maybe that means digital document management
There are hundreds of directions to go. Guided by our business partners’ strategies coupled with feedback on what’s broken today, we can start to map out the right digital program for the financial and resource constraints we have.
Finally, in order to make this happen we procurement professionals must be ruthless in our continuing education. We need to know what’s out there and that means attending conferences, organizing supplier demos at work, and constantly seeking to educate ourselves. We’re busy and its hard to stop and listen to Webinars and podcasts, or to actually engage the suppliers exhibiting at the seminars we attend. But we must have some understanding of the range of technology solutions for the categories we support so we can bring the best ones to the table.
Joanna Martinez is a global procurement / supply chain leader and the founder of Supply Chain Advisors LLC. She is a frequent lecturer and blogger on procurement topics and also provides coaching, strategy development, training, and cost reduction opportunity assessment. Her clients range from Fortune 100 companies to technology startups.
As either regional or global CPO, Joanna has led transformation initiatives for companies in many different sectors: among them Johnson & Johnson (consumer products), Diageo (beverage), AllianceBernstein LP (financial services) and Cushman & Wakefield (real estate services, property management). She has also held client-facing roles, effectively giving her the opportunity to “sit on both sides of the table”.