This year Anna Bjärkerud co-hosted a workshop during CPO Outlook 2023. Together with René Wienmann, CO, Chr. Hansen and Patrik Andersson, Senior Advisor at Deloitte. The topic was “How can procurement improve task and outcome efficiency and effect ahead?“. Probably on most functions but not the least procurement. The idea was since the task overload is too big the efficiency aspect need to be solved. Via automation/technology, outsourcing/captive GBS/SSC/CoE or in other ways removing tasks from the function.
During the workshop the participants were asked three questions;
…does procurement in your organization spend the most time on?
…do you think they/you should spend more time on?
…tasks would you like to remove from your function?
It will come as no surprise what the answers were yet they are still interesting.
What does procurement in your organization spend the most time on?
It is likely that few of the individuals joining an EBG summit were hired to “put out fires”. A few years back, EBG interviewed a CPO stating that 90% of the time was spent on ad hoc tasks and 10% on strategic work.
What do you think they/you should spend more time on?
The paradox of what individuals do and think they should do is one of the reasons EBG was founded. People are hired to do a certain set up of tasks. Often people end up doing something else. Surely there is a huge power in having a lot of people wanting to make a difference. And quite sad they are stuck in too much administrative work.
What tasks would you like to remove from your function?
Again this comes as no surprise. Too much administrative work and the administrative work should be removed. Some may argue that automation and using technology could help solve some of these issues. It seem that CPOs recognize the need to increase digital transformation, perhaps partly for that reason. Yet – in the 2023 Deloitte Survey it became clear that what CPOs hired more of – were strategic sourcing and category management know how. Not data or tech oriented skill sets. It would be interesting do to more research about what “admin” mean. Also learning more about what these admin tasks are originated to find root causes.
It is evident – as we all know – that there is too much administrative work in procurement functions. Tasks they do not want. Instead they want to analyze, innovate, drive value and be proactive.
The ways this gap can be closed between reality and vision will be discussed further. It is known data is more or less crap and that changing behavior is the hardest. It is likely some of the admin tasks come from poor data and processes not being transparent?
Welcome to join the discussions leading up to CPO Outlook 2024 in Stockholm on October 15th & 16th. Feel free to reach out if you have any input on the above!