To what degree as the C-Suite’s view of procurement’s role and contributions today changed/improved from the past?

Posted on September 17, 2022


I just read a thought-provoking post by Philip Ideson lamenting the fact that procurement people are generally viewed as being dinosaurs. Here is my comment to his post:

Speaking around the world, there were several constants. To start, most procurement professionals – or buyers as we were called back then, indicated they fell into the position rather than choosing it – someone had to do it was a common refrain. As frustrating as that was, the biggest cause of angst was how senior management viewed our role and contribution.

In one of my very first blog posts in 2007, I covered a Geraint John‘s CPO Agenda roundtable discussion in which senior global execs said that “one strategic business thinker with the right skills and capabilities is worth 10 or 12 of your normal, run-of-the-mill purchasing people.”

Unfortunately, despite expressing the desire for strategic thinkers, most confined their purchasing departments to a narrowly defined functional role. In short, the execs wanted strategic thinkers, but the performance incentives were on “cost savings.”

Adding insult to injury was the May 2006 article titled How to Speak Like a CFO, stressing that “Too often, finance executives in Corporate America simply don’t believe that purchasing departments are really bringing in the savings they claim.”

Your post raises the fundamental question: do executives view procurement’s role differently today?

That said, I created a poll on LinkedIn asking the question: To what degree has the C-Suite’s view of procurement’s role and contributions today changed/improved from the past?

Let me know your thoughts by commenting below or clicking the link to cast your vote.

Posted in: Commentary