CPO Forum Special Edition, June 2012

BRW features CPO of the Year

Keep an eye out for next week’s edition of BRW magazine, where 2012 CPO of the Year, Sharyn Scriven, will be profiled.  Here, Sharyn goes on the record with The Faculty to answer five pressing questions for procurement:

1. What is one learning you could share with upcoming CPOs around building the profile of procurement internally within their organisation?
If possible seek some independent third party accreditation of your systems and processes.  This will give confidence to your organisation and stakeholders that your foundations are solid.

2. You’ve been in your current role for five years – how do you stay energised to deliver results year on year?
The procurement profession is rapidly maturing and increasing in corporate importance.  This makes it a very exciting and challenging area to work in.  It is extremely rewarding to be involved in taking the business on a journey that delivers tangible results.  Even after five years, there is never a dull minute and always something new to try.

3. What will be the key skills and attributes required of procurement professionals in the future?
• Well Balanced - good technical, commercial and leadership skills
• Strategic – understands and manages the bigger picture 
• Results driven – delivers on commitments aligned to the corporate objectives
• Customer focused – understands stakeholder value drivers
• No shrinking violets – tenacious, ethical, team oriented, commercial 

4. In the current economic climate, cost seems to be the key focus for organisations to the detriment of “value generation”.  How should the profession shift the thinking back to value and innovation?
Often the cost benefit of value generating ideas and innovation gets lost because it is difficult to quantify and not always clearly visible. Outlining the potential  benefits to your stakeholders (costs included) of working with your suppliers to generate value not just at tender time, but throughout the life of the contract, is very important. Even just changing the way we communicate, i.e. using value rather than cost, can help people to make the transition.

5. You are relatively new to the procurement profession having come from an operational management background – how has being CPO changed your thinking about the business and leadership? 
As a CPO you’re required to span a broad portfolio of specialised functions: contract law, corporate governance, engineering, financial management and negotiation to name a few.  You need to be  highly experienced in these areas but also know when it is time to seek assistance from the experts in those fields.  It is also important to clearly understand the Corporate Strategy and how your work helps the business deliver the desired outcomes.