Guide

Three quick wins for new Chief Procurement Officers

Words: Ian Bolger

Succeed in your first 100 days as a CPO by engaging with all parts of the wider business.

1. Understand the business

Do your homework on your new organization ahead of joining. Request copies of the company strategy, business plans, budgets, corporate objectives and product brochures. This will help with your orientation into the new business.

Work with your PA to organize your first 3–4 weeks. Schedule meetings with all key stakeholders in advance of arriving and get out and about across the business. Spend the first month touring the business to understand how it operates, what is important to key stakeholders, and what ‘success’ looks like.

Establish your personal values and behaviors with staff and stakeholders: balance humility and listening with a keen energy and motivation to succeed.

With a solid understanding of business priorities and a 360° view of the issues and opportunities, you can start pulling together your strategic vision and transformation plan.

2. Understand the current supply chain and procurement landscape

While you are focusing on understanding the business and meeting stakeholders, commission an analysis and assessment of your new function, using either external consultants or a group of your staff.

This might take a couple of months, so start it early and gather internal and external perceptions of opportunities and weaknesses, current strategies, spend landscape, key suppliers and contracts, risks, procurement policy, process and practices, resources, and procurement capability.

3. Build a vision with wide business support

With a solid understanding of business priorities and a 360° view of the issues and opportunities, you can start pulling together your strategic vision and transformation plan. Your plan should be aligned with business strategy, supported by quantified benefits and a sound business case for action and investment, which is widely supported and anchored around the business.