Good morning. We are here today to announce our campaign for eSourcing 2.0 as the policy of choice for procurement departments great and small around the globe.
We all made this journey today for a reason. It’s humbling, but in my heart I know you didn’t come to CPO Rising for the pictures, you came here because you believe in what procurement can be. In the face of inflation, you believe there can be cost reductions. In the face of supply risk, you believe there can be mitigation. In the face of an enterprise that’s often shut you out, that’s told you to settle, that’s divided us from the business for too long, you believe we can attain enterprise-level visibility of spend, reaching for what’s possible, managing more spend, managing it more perfectly.
I’m sure that each of us has seen eSourcing solutions from a number of viewpoints depending on where we’ve worked and what we’ve done. For me it has been as a developer and marketer of the solutions in the bubble years. As a user/consultant during the tougher times; and more recently as an analyst charged with evaluating them.
Someone once said that the difference between a Chief Procurement Officer (or other sourcing/procurement pros) and any other kind of person is that a CPO lives in anticipation of the future because he/she knows it will be a great place. Other people fear the future as just a repetition of past failures. There’s a lot of truth in that. If there is one thing we are sure of it is that history need not be relived; that nothing is impossible, and that procurement is capable of improving its circumstances beyond what we are told is fact.
There are those in our enterprises today, however, who would have us believe that the procurement department, like other great organizations, has reached the zenith of its power; that it is weak and fearful, reduced to bickering with finance over savings calculations and no longer possessed of the will to cope with large problems.
During the next six months we shall discuss in detail a wide variety of needs which the new eSourcing 2.0 policy must address. Today we shall mention only a few.
- The need to increase visibility into sourcing activity
- The need to improve sourcing processes
- The need to capture and retain category, process, and supply market knowledge
- The need to improve collaboration with suppliers
- The need to improve communication with suppliers
We must put an end to the arrogance of the status quo. We must force all professionals to live in the real world of reduced spending, streamlined functions and accountability to the larger enterprise.
I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness – a certain audacity – to this eSourcing 2.0 code but procurement has faced steep challenges before.
The genius of the technology is that they designed a system of can be modeled to mirror almost any off-line or legacy sourcing process. And we should take heart, because we’ve changed procurement before. In the face of ignorance, a band of procurement visionaries brought a procurement leader into the C-suite. In the face of inflation, we renegotiated SLAs and focused on TCO. In the face of depression, we sourced more and saved more.
Each and every time, a new generation has risen up and done what’s needed to be done (well, except for the narcissistic baby-boomers – I kid, I kid). Today we are called once more – and it is time for our generation to answer that call. For that is our unyielding faith – that in the face of impossible odds, people who love procurement can change it. Let us begin. Let us begin this hard work together. Let us continue to transform this great function, this vital department.
Let us be the procurement generation that propels CPOs regularly into COO, CFO, and CEO roles
And as our economy changes, let us be the procurement generation that ensures supply chain security in an age of globalization.
Let’s be the procurement generation to drive innovation. Let’s be the procurement generation that positively impacts revenue.
Let’s be the procurement generation that automates the entire source-to-settle process.
Most of all, let’s be the procurement generation that says right here, right now, that every negotiation that results in a contract must use an eSourcing tool.
Let’s be the procurement generation that makes future procurement generations proud of what we did here.
I know there are those who don’t believe we can do all these things. I understand the skepticism. That is why this campaign can’t only be about eSourcing 2.0. It must be about us – it must be about what we can do together. This campaign must be the occasion, the vehicle, of your hopes, and your dreams. It will take your time, your energy, and your advice – to push this forward when we’re doing right, and to let us know when we’re not. This campaign has to be about reclaiming the meaning of eSourcing excellence, restoring our sense of common purpose, and realizing that few obstacles can withstand the power of millions of sourcing professionals calling for change.
By ourselves, this change will not happen. Divided, we are bound to fail.
But there is power in eSourcing. There is power in results
That is our purpose here today.
That’s why we’ve begun this race.
Not just to write an article on the eve of a holiday weekend, but to gather with you to continue to transform procurement and take up the unfinished business of perfecting our sourcing processes and building a more perfect procurement department.
Postscript II: Happy Memorial Day Weekend! We’ll be back on Tuesday to kick off what we hope will be another exciting month at CPO Rising with Part 1 of a CPO case study.