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Transforming the Procurement Function

Robert A. Rudzki of Greybeard Advisors LLC, a solution provider at the marcus evans Chief Procurement Officer Summit 2013, outlines the path to a successful procurement function.

Interview with: Robert A. Rudzki, President, Greybeard Advisors LLC


“There are six dimensions that need to be present and proactively led for a sustainable and successful transformation of the procurement function,” says Robert A. Rudzki, President of Greybeard Advisors LLC, and former Fortune 500 SVP & CPO. “Based on our collective experience as practitioners, there is no shortcut to achieve the full potential of procurement transformation,” he explains.

From a solution provider company at the upcoming marcus evans Chief Procurement Officer Summit 2013, in Atlanta, Georgia, April 22-23, Rudzki outlines the six dimensions for procurement transformation and discusses how to construct a roadmap for change.

What are the six dimensions of successful change? What if one component is missing?

The six key dimensions are: a clear strategic role, good leadership, the right objectives, best practices, an optimized organization, and innovation and enabling technology. About 30 specific initiatives typically underlie each program’s design.

For example, there must be an acknowledged strategic role for procurement, good leadership at all levels, and financial objectives properly determined and shared throughout the organization. There are also about a dozen best practices that lead to world-class results, such as strategic sourcing, negotiations management, risk management, selective outsourcing, and others.

The organization design must be compatible with the company’s culture. The company must speak to the supplier community with one voice, and have a commitment to continuous learning by its personnel and a professional career track so that people can know what it takes to progress in the organization. 

Finally, there is the enabling technology that helps pull it all together. It is critical to note that if any of the six key dimensions is not incorporated properly into the plan, the result is dysfunction.

How do you construct a roadmap for change?

The first step is to obtain an independent perspective on the current state of procurement at your company, and compare to best practices in other industries. The gap analysis would help set priorities.

Then, you have to develop a future state description and a tailored transformation roadmap to get from the current to the desired state. The roadmap would include complete details on each of the six dimensions of transformation change.

Creating the roadmap is probably the most difficult element, because most companies do not have the experience required to make the desired transformation succeed. The roadmaps we create for clients lay out all six dimensions in detail for four time periods: the first and second six months, the second full year and the third full year.

The final piece of the roadmap construction is turning all of the above into a business case to present to senior management. Why? They need to understand what is at stake and what the opportunities are, in order to lend their full support to the various initiatives that comprise the transformation.

Any final words of advice?

Most often, procurement departments approach the world from a budget perspective. In contrast, we help clients understand the opportunity possible with a properly-designed and well-executed transformation. That approach invariably gets senior management’s attention and budget support, which is the critical first step on this journey.

Also, we find that leading organizations are pursuing procurement transformation not only for the sizeable financial benefits, but also to address their aging demographics that will cause much of their procurement experience base to retire in the years ahead.
Written by: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager

For more information, please contact: Jennifer Keljik, Marketing Manager, marcus evans
Tel: 312.540.3000 x6592

About the Chief Procurement Officer Summit 2013

This unique forum will take place at The Ritz Carlton, Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia, April 22-23, 2013. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event.

About Greybeard Advisors LLC

Greybeard Advisors is a leading provider of advisory services for procurement transformation, strategic sourcing, and supply chain management. Formed eight years ago by leading practitioners, Greybeard helps companies drive sustainable improvement in performance while building up their capabilities to achieve and sustain results on their own. Greybeard has advised leading companies in major industry sectors.

About marcus evans Summits

marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-on-one business meetings.

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