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Supply Business
Formerly CPO Agenda

From the editor

Reputation on the line

Spring 2012


All business functions think their corporate reputation should be higher. It's not just procurement. Improving our image is an issue for many buying functions, but one we may be able to turn into an opportunity. The combination of the burgeoning economic recovery and the advances we made during the downturn present us with a chance to remind our colleagues we are not there only for recessionary cost cutting.

In the boom years most corporate focus was on revenue growth while maximising efficiencies through supply chains and procurement was, for a lot of organisations, a lower priority. Then came the banking crisis and huge global economic contraction. This increased emphasis on procurement, but there was not, as our cover feature shows, much of an improvement in our internal reputation. Post–recession, now is the time to fill that gap. But how?

When I speak to senior buyers on this topic they tell me there are two recurrent barriers to doing so: the language we use and our ability to equate our achievements with the (corporate) bottom line. While these may sound kind of obvious, our article on performance measurement reveals many buying functions haven’t yet nailed how to measure and present what they do for their organisations.

And then there is the terminology. CPOs who communicate authoritatively using the CFO’s or CEO’s language tell me their message is received more easily. Talk of “cost avoidance”, for instance, doesn’t cut it, whereas year-on-year delivered figures traceable through finance and approved independently, does. Many CPOs realise this, act accordingly and get the recognition, and with it their reputation rises. The chance is there. Can we capitalize on it?

Steve Bagshaw
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