Welcome to another installment of Whitepaper Wednesday here on the Purchasing Certification Blog. This week, I’ll be reviewing a whitepaper entitled “European CPOs: Capitalizing on the Best Opportunities” from Aberdeen and Ariba.

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Now, one thing I want to get out of the way right away is that, in my opinion, the principles discussed in this whitepaper don’t just apply to European CPO’s – they are just as applicable to CPO’s in North America or other continents. Why Aberdeen labeled the whitepaper as European is not clear.

Anyway, this whitepaper essentially answers three main questions:

  • What are the top pressures faced by CPO’s?
  • What are the top actions of CPO’s who face those pressures?
  • What are the top priorities of CPO’s?

These questions are graphically answered by Figures 1, 2, and 3 in the whitepaper:

  • Figure 1: Top Three Pressures for EMEA-Based CPO’s
  • Figure 2: Top Strategic Actions For European CPO’s
  • Figure 3: Top Three CPO Priorities

The information presented in these three sections is insightful. For example, 92% of surveyed CPO’s said that identifying cost reductions was a top-three priority while mitigating supply risk came in a distant second with only 52% of respondents indicating that it was a top-three priority.

The next section goes on to provide insight into how those CPO’s plan to address their top priority of identifying cost reductions. Increasing sourcing activity was the top strategic action identified.

The top CPO priority listed in the next section clearly illustrates that CPO’s recognize that just because you start sourcing activity that it is going to be successful – you need the right people running the sourcing initiative. The top CPO priority was “Enhance department staff skills and capabilities.”

Of course, what would an Aberdeen report be without benchmarks. So it naturally winds down with some standard benchmarks (e.g., spend under management) as well as some good recommendations, my favorite of which being “The current ‘soft’ labor market presents a unique opportunity for CPO’s to reach out into specific industries and hire seasoned professionals with deep category expertise for their departments. If hiring is not feasible, CPO’s should strongly consider leveraging third-party expertise to identify (and potentially manage) the sourcing of new categories.”

A nice way of saying that talent matters in procurement.

If you would like to get your own copy of this whitepaper, you can download it for free from Ariba’s Web site (registration required).

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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