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Using Procurement to Enable Enterprise Growth and Add Economic Value

By Globality
October 07, 2021
DPW Plenary Panel

At Digital Procurement World 2021, Globality brought together a panel of transformative procurement leaders who are putting strategic innovations into practice to help drive growth and lead the ESG agenda across their companies. Paula Martinez, CPO at Novartis; Cyril Pourrat, BT Group CPO; Vanessa Pepperell, COO and VP of Strategy for Aquanima, the procurement function for the Santander Group, were joined by Globality’s Chief Revenue Officer, Keith Hausmann. During the session, moderated by Chris Sawchuk, Principal and Global Procurement Advisory Practice Leader at The Hackett Group, the panel highlighted the key ways that procurement can create enterprise value and economic impact:

Turn Spend into an Asset

Procurement now has a unique opportunity to use a company’s spend as an asset that drives social impact, transparency, fair practices, and governance. Turning spend into an asset rather than viewing it as a cost can drive innovation and new product development capabilities with suppliers. Pourrat highlighted how BT is building a network of partners – suppliers who are also customers – using reciprocal trade to add value to the stakeholder ecosystem.

Bring Procurement to the Business

Panelists discussed how to bring procurement to business partners, both internally and externally, and asked how companies can empower their stakeholders to buy goods and services in a way that is simple and on their terms. Martinez explained that for stakeholders, and suppliers, getting access to cleaner spend data in a seamless way and having adequate modern digital solutions will help make procurement more efficient. Pourrat added that his priority was to simplify the way BT purchased goods and services with a consumer-like user experience.

Redefine Value Measurements

Procurement is redefining how it measures success—in addition to the traditional focus on savings, compliance, and risk, the function must now prioritize factors such as an organization’s impact on the environment, social issues, and communities as well as how companies drive sustainability and resilience into their procurement organization. Pepperell said her customers are now more concerned about their sustainability and the responsibility they have as a big company: “In negotiations, we take ESG values into account as a key factor for awarding business. And I’m sure that in the coming months, this focus will only increase.”

Build a Best-of-Breed Ecosystem

Rather than a one-size-fits-all platform, companies should use modern procurement technologies to build a best-of-breed network of suppliers specific to their needs. Pourrat explained how building BT’s Digital Garage has allowed his team to engage seamlessly with the various startups in his procurement ecosystem. This gives his practitioners the freedom to pick the particular solution that will really fit their purpose – he has a motto of “no more than two clicks.” Martinez highlighted how buying something is seamless in our personal lives but can be a slow, laborious process in the corporate world—and AI technology is the enabler that can solve this pain point.

Uplift Procurement Talent

Procurement leaders should expand the role of their teams from being transactional to becoming an evangelist, coach, analyst, relationship manager, and innovator. As Hausmann noted regarding the people who are driving BT’s Digital Garage, “That’s a very different use of talent than the traditional focus on running an RFP or processing a transaction.” This material change in what procurement talent should be doing is made possible by new technology that automates repetitive transaction-oriented activities and frees up procurement people to add value to the wider business through more strategic activities such as problem-solving, supplier collaboration, and product development.

Be Bold

The panel concluded that the key to using procurement to propel an ESG strategy is to be bold and embrace new technology to transform the way companies buy services and goods. Pourrat noted, “Disruption will come, so it’s better to drive the disruption—otherwise you’ll be disrupted yourself.” Pepperell added, “If you don’t move, the market is going to move without you. So don’t be afraid to embrace this new technology instead of the disjointed systems we’ve relied on for the past 20 years.” Hausmann summarized, “Reimagine a vision for procurement through the lens of your business stakeholders internally and externally. And drive that vision into your organization, through your peers and other company leaders.”

Click here to watch the “The Future of Procurement: How Leading Companies Are Creating a Better World” session.