The X Factor - A Procurement Leadership Whitepaper

Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) are critical enablers for delivering competitive advantage through procurement in their organisations today. Remarkable CPOs have certain personal attributes, such as high levels of influence, presence and insight, which allow them to take a key leadership role in driving strategy, not just responding to it.

With this in mind, The Faculty Roundtable has set out to identify the procurement leadership ‘X Factor’, to discover the practices and skills that distinguish the best performing CPOs from their peers and to offer recommendations to both procurement leaders and their managers on how to strengthen the talent pipeline by increasing the prevalence of the X Factor.

Research Objectives:
In our search to identify the procurement leadership ‘X Factor’, The Faculty Roundtable set out to answer three core questions: 
1) What distinguishes the very best CPOs from the rest; 
2) What difference do these CPOs make to business results; and 
3) In what business context do they best demonstrate their leadership? 

Key Findings:
Commercial leadership is a latent opportunity - Managers are more reliant on the commercial advice of their procurement leaders than CPOs are aware.  The more CPOs are able to grasp the big picture and distil data into meaningful information for the organisation, the greater their strategic impact. 

Alignment of expectations - Bridging the gap between CPO and manager expectations is critical on key items such as source to contract processes, shareholder concerns, organisational alignment of procurement job roles and creating strong internal and external business relationships.

Procurement is a profession on the move - Significant CPO migration is evident across organisations, industries and often outside the procurement function.  This highlights the pressure on building the talent pipeline and the ongoing need to attract qualified candidates into the profession. 

Top performing CPOs  take a broader organisational focus - CPOs identified Resourcing and Structural issues as the most significant barriers for procurement, while the remaining managers identified Leadership and Culture and change issues most frequently. Therefore, influence and strong relationship building are key to effecting cultural change and gaining top level leadership buy-in and advocacy.

To request a full version of The X Factor - A Procurement Leadership Whitepaper, please email The Faculty