In this CXO conversation, Tony Uphoff is joined by Acceleration Economy analyst and Chief Procurement Officer (CPO), Joanna Martinez. The two explore the relationship between a CEO and CPO and define how to navigate the relationship in the context of supply chain challenges.
01:09 — Joanna starts the conversation by asking Tony, a four-time CEO, what his expectations are concerning procurement and what he looks for in a CPO.
01:32 — Tony notes that he wants to see that “the train runs on time” — ensuring that supply chains are running smoothly — but is always on the lookout for incremental improvement within that. As a CEO, Tony wants his CPO to be passionate and focus on improving the ways that supply chains are running. Secondly, he is looking for a curious, innovative CPO, who is willing to introduce new technologies to make for more efficient operations and is aware of any risks. Finally, he notes the importance of having a CPO that has a strategic point of view.
03:24 — Joanna agrees that procurement, when done right, offers a unique opportunity for leaders to see what is needed, what the strategic plan is, the future direction of the company, and identify any weaknesses.
04:13 — Oftentimes, executives are likely not fully engaged in understanding the level of complexity that goes on within supply chains, suggests Tony. A CPO’s mission should be to “get the systems working the way they should be working,” which leads to strategic innovation.
05:01 — What are the gaps in what Tony currently sees between CEOs and CPOs? In his experience, the gaps are in the delicate balance between allowing CPOs to “have a seat at the table” and being involved in strategic planning and decision-making. He has seen procurement have a tremendous impact when CPOs are involved in those conversations.
06:50 — Typically, executives are thinking about giving CPOs a seat at the table, says Joanna, who advises CPOs to act like they own that seat.
08:26 — If someone has insights and is looking for new ways to innovate, odds are that executives are going to use those insights. Tony suggests it is less about having a seat at the table and more about what CPOs can offer. In many cases, he argues that a CPO’s insights surpass those of a CFO or any other C-suite member that already has a seat.
09:28 — Joanna agrees — particularly if the CPO is spending a lot of time with the supplier community. While the “goodwill” is there, Joanna believes it is time for procurement to step up to the plate to deliver and push a strategic agenda. Now is the time that CPOs will be listened to in a way that they may not have been in the past.
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