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March 12, 2015
ProcureCon Healthcare Conference and Chief Procurement Officer Briefing Highlights
By: Andrea Brueckner

This year’s ProcureCon Healthcare Conference took place March 9-11 in Zurich – bringing together CPOs and procurement decision-makers from major pharma and medical device companies. For the 3rd time we hosted an exclusive peer-to-peer CPO breakfast briefing, providing a unique forum for CPOs from leading life sciences companies to share ideas and insights across the procurement function.

The conference offered an interactive environment with various roundtables, workshops and panel sessions, as well as keynote speakers from the industry and numerous networking opportunities. The key themes throughout the conference’s agenda focused on how strategic partnering can add calculable value to businesses, ways to enhance efficiencies with new and lean operating models, talent management, and how procurement processes needs to leverage technology developments to drive business value.

had the opportunity to moderate a panel discussion on “360° Perspectives: How can procurement benefit from integrating new digital capabilities?” with Richard Crane (SVP Commodity Management at Philips Healthcare), Ramón Romero Pérez (Director Central Procurement at XING AG) and Volker Bargon (CPO at Boehringer Ingelheim). The main points raised underlined the importance that digital technology and capabilities are playing in the procurement area and how they can be leveraged to drive improvements across the business and return on investments. The panel attracted a large audience and clearly showcased the need for radical re-thinking of the procurement function traditional “habits” in the healthcare sector. Many clients approached me personally after the session to discuss in detail and asked for additional insights.

During the CPO Breakfast briefing, we shared insights from Accenture’s Future of Procurement research and discussed potential projections in the industry. One of the key takeaways is that there will be a radical shift in how procurement is managed and how the procurement role will evolve over the next 5-10 years. In particular, there will be a move away from operational tasks to a focus on those areas that deliver higher value to the business. Technology will have a significant impact on forming the procurement function of the future. For instance, the emergence of cognitive computing or augmented intelligence will enable access to real-time information when negotiating with suppliers, and analytics will bring together in-depth actionable insights from data of various sources.

Digital agents will challenge the future need of staff focused merely on transaction. As a result, the procurement organization will change significantly with a smaller central procurement core team that is closely embedded with business partners and virtually integrated with suppliers. This will involve re-assessing the skill sets needed and a shift in responsibilities.

There was an overall consensus amongst the participants that these directional changes are on the horizon and it is essential to prepare now for the future. Collaboration will play an essential part and Accenture will continue to facilitate these discussions.

For more information about the conference or to download the conference whitepapers, visit the ProcureCon Healthcare Conference website.

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