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Portrait of a Procurement Master


What chief procurement or chief operating officer hasn’t thought: “What are the heavy hitters doing to create value from their supply base?”

Accenture Strategy is helping to answer this question, identifying the smart moves best-in-class procurement companies make to not only propel their company ahead, but to best competitors.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, learning from the Masters could spur your company to new heights in the art of strategic procurement.


Procurement masters deliver a 15:1 return on investment


What would a Procurement Master do?

  • Own global business outcomes, not procurement. Masters become a core member of the c-suite because they link their team’s activity to the firm’s financial performance. As a result, Masters are 53 percent more likely to be integrated into the executive committee.

  • Stop doing everything in house. Masters outsource non-core work. Robotic process automation (RPA) eliminates their transactional duties. The results speak for themselves. Sixty-three percent of Masters outperform their peers by showing both lower SG&A expense ratio (as percent of revenue) and better margins.

  • Alter procurement DNA. A select few Masters (just five percent) are leveraging digital disruptors to alter Procurement fundamentals. For instance, a global shipping company employed a virtual robot to manage some of its procurement processes, reducing manual workload by at least 160 hours per month.

Masters have raised the performance bar


CPOs should consider the following in their pursuit of procurement mastery:

Procurement is not about processes

Procurement is not about processes.
CPOs must expand spend under management through focus on “should cost” and become co-owners of total spend. They should be wholly accountable to the board for all third-party spend.

Outsource and automate

Outsource and automate.
CPOs must free up resources to pursue strategic priorities. Those seeking mastery are leap-frogging peers by leveraging a partner ecosystem to execute non-core activities and automating less strategic activities with the help of digital technologies.

Keep up with the pioneering masters

Keep up with the pioneering masters.
CPOs must choose where to compete with the pioneers to safeguard their company’s position. Benchmarking is the quickest route to clearly seeing where your company ranks on the scale of fit for tomorrow.



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