29 FEB 2016

Sydney members of The Faculty CPO Roundtable engaged in a robust debate at their February meeting over the concept of cyclical business transformations.

The influential group of procurement professionals from some of Australia’s leading organisations gathered at Sydney’s Intercontinental Hotel to share ideas about the unique set of challenges facing commercial leaders. As each CPO used the peer-group as a sounding-board to discuss and refine their strategies for the year ahead, a common theme very soon became apparent – everyone, almost without exception, is currently going through some manner of transformation in their organisation.

Whether businesses refer to the process as a transformation or turnaround, the details of the process are often very similar:

  • Business transformations are becoming increasingly cyclical, with new transformations often launched immediately after the conclusion of a previous one.
  • Transformations or turnarounds are usually initiated by incoming CEOs, and may be increasing in regularity due to CEOs moving roles more frequently.
  • The procurement function is expected to play a leading role in business transformations or turnarounds.
  • Transformations often include some form of restructuring, leading in turn to cyclical rounds of redundancies.

Reasons why transformations are increasing in frequency may include the enduring dialogue around an economy in crisis, which has now become a standard mindset even for businesses that are thriving in the current environment. A “crisis” or “emergency” mentality means that the focus on cost is here to stay, providing an effective platform to kick-start transformative programs. A clear set of targets and (importantly) a non-negotiable end-date for the turnaround provides the framework CEOs need to galvanise their organisation into embracing their agenda for change.

For members of The Faculty’s Sydney Roundtable, this means they need to focus on ensuring their teams have the capability required to lead the way as change agents in their organisations. Strong stakeholder influencing and communication skills, adaptability and flexibility are critically important attributes for new hires, while the CPO role itself appears to be morphing into more of a “Chief Transformation Officer” position. A key part of accepting this change lies in recognising that transformations and turnarounds are now business as usual and, if approached intelligently, can provide the mandate CPOs have been seeking to generate some impressive results.  

The Faculty Roundtable comprises of an influential group of procurement leaders who gather to share their experiences and insights, to achieve greater commercial success for their organisations. Through The Roundtable, members have access to leading-edge thought leadership and commentators, a ready supply of valuable expertise through exclusive market intelligence, as well as networking and professional development opportunities for themselves and their team members.

The Asia-Pacific CPO Forum is the region’s premier procurement event dedicated to accelerating commercial leadership at the highest level. It is a once-a-year opportunity for leading Chief Procurement Officers to engage with peers and like-minded business leaders in an intimate and interactive setting. The Forum is designed for delegates to facilitate the sharing of best practice strategies, develop innovative and responsive procurement approaches, and hear from a compelling speaker line-up of influential thinkers, eminent business leaders and commercially creative minds.

In 2016, The 9th Annual Asia-Pacific CPO Forum will held on 18th and 19th May in Melbourne, Australia. For more information contact Program Manager, Belinda Toohey, on +61 3 9654 4900 or via email.​

[Image credit]: Paramount Pictures