All posts by Tom Derry

Master Your Craft – How to Step Into The Shoes of a CPO

Want to climb the procurement career ladder to the very top? If you want to be a successful CPO, you need to learn from the best.

tom-derry cpo

ISM is focused on helping you reach your career goals. As the CEO of Institute for Supply Management, I am in daily communication with CPOs who work in a variety of industries.

Because of this, I understand what it takes to be successful in that position. While each individual has a unique and valuable skill set, there are common threads of what has made it possible for them to thrive in their roles.

I want to share what, in my opinion, are key factors to help you on the path to CPO.

1. Master Your Craft

Whether it’s being an expert at preparing a category plan, cost analysis, a total cost of ownership analysis, what you do has an impact on your organisation’s bottom-line. When your leader needs someone to get the job done you need to be the go-to person.

As you become a master of your craft you are able to free up more bandwidth which will allow you to take on new – possibly more strategic – opportunities.

2. Deliver Reliable Results

Outcomes matter in business. We need to be able to establish a track record, consistently follow through, and be relied upon to deliver. That ability to be seen as someone who can deliver, builds your professional reputation and makes you an invaluable member of a team.

Particularly in our field this often relates to being able to hit cost reduction targets while possessing a keen understanding of where risk resides.

3. Know the Whole Business

Today about 80 per cent of spend in a company is external, and 80 per cent of that is managed by the CPO. The entire business is sitting on this cost structure, which the CPO is ultimately responsible for.

Clearly, we impact the whole business – we must understand it.

In addition, we need to understand how what we are sourcing meets the demands of our end customer. I might be sourcing a basic commodity, like a resin. That resin could be a critical component of a product that drives 30 percent of our company’s revenue.

The company’s success relies on my ability to source that commodity.

4. Model Your Behaviour

You have an extraordinary opportunity at an early age to represent the company to external third parties. It’s common for young professionals to sit down with the CEO of a supplier to work out the next contract.

Be conscious of this and take this incredible opportunity to learn from people who are seasoned in the profession.  Watch how they handle a negotiation, diffuse a conflict, or how they turn your point around to their favour.

Witness this and then model your behaviour based on how other, more experienced professionals, handle these situations.

5. Find a Mentor

Look for someone in your firm or where you previously worked or both. A mentor will be available to ask questions about new assignments, unforeseen challenges, and offer career advice.

Finding someone who is not your supervisor allows you to ask these types of questions in a pressure free environment. Developing these types of relationships will become your professional network and increase exponentially in value throughout your career.

Listen to Tom Derry’s Career Boot Camp podcast here.

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

ISM & Procurious: Leveraging Social Media in Procurement

Ahead of his keynote address at the Procurious Big Ideas Summit 2016, ISM CEO Tom Derry discusses ISM’s new partnership with Procurious, as well as the power of leveraging social media in procurement.

Leveraging Social Media

ISM and Procurious recently announced a new partnership, as ISM became a Procurious Foundation Partner. This will increase Procurious members’ access to ISM’s highly regarded research, events and educational offerings, from certification programs to the newly launched ISM Mastery Model™. ISM members will also benefit from the rich educational resources and networking opportunities on Procurious.

Leveraging Social Media

Over the last several years, social media has become crucial for connection professionals in all fields — especially procurement and supply chain. I honestly don’t see how anyone can expect to be successful in this day and age without leveraging social media.

Social media gives you access to a broader network than could ever be obtained face-to-face. You have the opportunity to tap into the global repository of procurement knowledge. Why would anyone choose to miss out on this competitive advantage?

Not only that, social media can serve as a news channel providing real-time updates and alerts. How powerful is it that you can be updated on market trends, natural disasters, geopolitical events and much more — all with a tool you keep in your pocket. It’s the agile organisation that survives and thrives in today’s environment, and you can’t be agile if you’re not plugged in to real-time events.

Procurious and ISM

When I first learned of Procurious, I felt it was a no-brainer. Procurious enables the supply management professional to leverage the immediacy of a social network in a in a professionally appropriate medium.

With the focus solely on supply chain, this platform connects professionals working on similar projects and initiatives globally. This adds value in two distinct ways: your building your own knowledge base, but also your personal professional brand.

When I tell colleagues about Procurious, I often hear, “How is it different from LinkedIn?” While there are many similar features, Procurious provides additional advantage for procurement and supply chain professionals. In addition to connecting you globally with those in the field, it gives you the upper hand through education, blogs, event calendars and my favourite — the Discussion board.

Discussions and Communication

I think we have all experienced our work being halted by a roadblock we have not faced before. As procurement professionals, we are often the experts in our organisation, making it feel like this is our mountain to climb alone. Instead of banging our head against the wall, we have somewhere to turn.

Whether you are looking for the right SRM system or a need career advice, the discussion board immediately connects you with others who may have the answer you need. There is strong, practical value in the communication on the discussion boards. One recent post was looking for advice on how to manage stakeholder expectations on procurement lead times.

Professionals from around the globe weighed in with advice on how to communicate the value procurement adds beyond simple considerations of speed and price. It’s just one example of how practitioners can leverage the experience of their peers to facilitate real results.

Looking to the Future

ISM is becoming more engaged with Procurious. We will be launching an ISM group this month. This group will add another place for those connected with ISM to go for networking and and for those new to ISM to discover and connect with us.

I am looking forward to watching the ISM community grow and develop on this platform. I see this being a great place for our members and nonmembers to connect. With more than 50,000 ISM members globally, there is a great opportunity to be had from potential collaboration.