Our last article introduced Leslie Campbell, Chief Procurement Officer at Reed Elsevier and her keynote at Ariba LIVE 2012.

Today we continue with another CPO on the Rise at Ariba LIVE. For those who didn’t make it to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas last week, Ariba LIVE has become one of the one of the only conferences where buyers and suppliers alike can come to collaborate, share best practices, and find new trading partners. The two-day conference was a blend of main stage presentations from leading Chief Procurement Officers, other C-level types, and Ariba executives and a series of breakout sessions that focused on the buy-side, the sell-side, managing cash, commerce collaboration, cloud, and customer-themed sessions. Here is the second of two highlights from a leading Chief Procurement Officer:

Words of Wisdom from a Procurement Hall of Famer

Jean-Jacques Beaussart will be a familiar name to readers of this site as (1) a Top 10 CPO in 2010, (2) a regular contributor to Ardent’s research, (3) a transformational CPO with a storied background of success in financial services, (4) an Ariba Excellence ‘Lifetime Achievement’ Inductee, and, of course, (5)  a “friend of the site.”

At Ariba LIVE, Jean-Jacques participated on a panel session with two other CPOs. Here a few choice “JJ” quotes from that session:

  • On engaging our stakeholders – “We cannot assume that they know what we’re doing. In fact, many can’t or don’t understand what we do in procurement; so, constant communication is the language that works best….You must be able to leave your ego at the door when engaging business leaders.”
  • On compliance – “50% of indirect activity is driven by the behavior of people.”
  • “CPOs should run their procurement departments like a business”
  • On understanding the underlying business – “You have to engage with people. Communication is the key. Be creative and active. Invite stakeholders to commodity council meetings.”
  • On working with the CFO and finance – “At every company that I have worked for, the CFO has to be my best friend….. It is absolutely critical to have rigor and discipline in the financial reporting of procurement metrics.”
  • On balancing staff talent – “You cannot have a department that only knows categories or only knows process – you need both.”

As expected, Jean-Jacques was very insightful at Ariba LIVE; but wait, there’s more. I also recently interviewed him and discussed a wide range of topics including, the critical elements to a procurement transformation, leadership, and managing a large procurement operation. What follows are a few more choice quotes from that talk.

  • “The underlying elements of a successful procurement organization: technology, risk management, good processes, and people.”
  • “We have been successful linking in to the budget process. We are in the monthly meetings and now there is a link between procurement savings and budget.”
  • “A Chief Procurement Officer should focus on talent development, developing leaders…. talent and talent development is usually #1 on my priority list.”
  • “Our 40-hour staff training program included topics on leadership, solution usage, best practices in category management, risk management, contracts, understanding the business we’re in, off-shoring practices and trends, and green initiatives. I lead our training on leadership.”
  • “It is critical to train finance to know what savings means – hard dollar and other definitions.”
  • “You must also train your people to talk about savings and define it in a consistent way. They can help educate stakeholders and market to them.”
  • “I created the role of finance director for the procurement department – our “procurement CFO” – who serves as the interface with all finance leaders.”
  • “Our usage of Ariba is critical to our success so staff usage of Ariba is an important consideration in of our performance evaluations.”
  • “We were successful in laying the groundwork so off-shoring will be counted as savings.”
  • “As part of our training, we work to get our entire staff to be able to present our strategic plan and vision.”
  • “To build relationships, it is critical to be adaptable and a great listener.”
  • “We begin planning for next year in July.”
  • “80% of our sourcing projects were implemented in Q1 & Q2.”
  • “Key components to our recent business plan? Savings, Center of Excellence for Outsourcing, Supporting Diversity, Developing Business Relationships, Developing Best-in-Class Talent, Spend Management Solutions, and Green.”

Jean-Jacques’s breadth of experience and passion (as evidenced by the insights above) and his proven success driving value and transforming procurement organizations show why he is a CPO on the Rise.

Thanks JJ!

Tagged in: , , , ,

Share this post