Insights from Procurement Leaders Forum

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The following is a guest blog by Patrick Quirk, CEO, IBM Emptoris.

On Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to attend the Procurement Leaders Forum in Boston, where several dozen chief procurement officers (CPOs) gathered to discuss “the path to influence, alignment and value.”  There was an energetic discussion on how the role of the CPO, and procurement, is evolving at global organizations.  There was a clear consensus that procurement is becoming increasingly influential and, with that influence, is further extending its value.

Our customers from American Express and CIGNA played an active role in that discussion.  Eve Reiter, Vice President, Marketing Category Management and Agency Relations at American Express, presented on Supplier Risk Management.  Her call to action: a comprehensive, enterprise-wide approach to supply risk can answer Wall Street’s call for higher earnings with less exposure.

Jim Clayton, Manager, Enterprise Applications, Finance & Supply Chain at CIGNA, spoke on the changing dynamics of supply chain management and the use of advanced sourcing to drive innovation and build stronger relationships with suppliers, all while driving sustainable savings.

Over the past decade, procurement leaders have, unquestionably, secured a much more strategic role within the global organization.  This is driven by procurement’s critical role in achieving most key corporate objectives ranging from mitigating risk and enforcing compliance, to maximizing profitability.

As we move into 2013, we face even greater globalization of the supply base and potentially even greater risk and volatility.  How CPOs manage against these challenges – and deliver against corporate objectives — will determine whether procurement continues to extend that value.

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