3 Key Reflections from the Procurement Leaders World Procurement Congress 2017

Written by EO Executives on May 18, 2017

My learnings from the Procurement Leaders World Procurement Congress 2017 and how Interim Executives can help.

The world of procurement is changing at pace.

I was fortunate enough to be invited by Procurement Leaders to their World Procurement Congress at the InterContinental Hotel, O2 in London this week. There was an array of hot topics and discussions particularly around automation, strategy and talent which got me thinking how procurement interims can bring value in these areas for today’s CPO’s.

These trends represent a fantastic opportunity for the Interim Procurement industry and as the Practice Manager for Interim Procurement here at EO, I left the conference very buoyed and excited for the future.
My notes on the key trends identified at the World Procurement Congress and more detail on how an Interim can help are explained below:


It was clear from the conference that the goal of automation in procurement should be to speed up processes and free employees from repetitive time consuming admin. This will enable staff to focus on higher value tasks and elevate the procurement function within organisations.

There are five things you need to automate procurement effectively:

  1. Data
  2. Technology
  3. Expertise
  4. Suppliers 
  5. Process

On average interims would have worked with around five organisations within a two-year period and therefore have the added advantage of bringing new ideas, technology, supplier relations and expertise to the company. Without doubt automation is the future in procurement with teams of the future needing the ability to utilise automation and blend this seamlessly with human interaction.

We are lucky enough to have an A list of independent senior consultants who can execute automation change projects without the need for great disruption for CPO’s employees and stakeholders.

An Agile Procurement Strategy

Five year procurement plans are a thing of the past as the goal posts are moving at pace.

Agile procurement plans require agile procurement resources. The interims we work with can be engaged very flexibly and offer an excellent external perspective and insight into your strategic planning process as a forward-thinking CPO.

Strategy is a key component to any successful organisation. To develop an effective procurement strategy, first it is necessary to sit down and assess the details that you must work with. These details will include the business’ or project’s objectives, the available and existing resources and supplies, the budget and the timeline. Through the assessment of these elements, you can begin planning for an effective procurement strategy for the company; the key here is to make sure that every detail of the plan would contribute towards attaining the company’s established goals and objectives.

A senior level procurement interim will have written and implemented their own strategy many times in the past, so are experts at this and can bring an innovative perspective to planning and strategy.

The Procurement Talent Challenge

Companies need diversity in their workforce (age, gender, race) to have a better thoughtout process. It’s all about having the right people and skills in place, along with the right platforms to help find suppliers. A senior level procurement interim will have their own network of talent from the experience gained from working with multiple organisations and can bring new ways of thinking and mentoring to any project, whilst leaving a legacy when they leave.

Many interim procurement experts are highly experienced and can play a key part in helping the existing leadership teams nurture potential from within.

All in all, a great conference at the WPC and I highly recommend future attendance to CPO’s both interim and permanent.

If you have any comments on the above our would like to engage some Interim support then please do get in contact for an exploratory conversation at: interim@eoexecutives.com .

Top tips: 

Take a look at the following blogs for further thought leadership:

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