Top Procurement challenges for CPOs in 2016

Roland Berger released an new version of a bi-annual study « CPO Agenda » that I would recommend reading if you want to better understand the top Procurement challenges in your industry. It is a very comprehensive analysis across and for 7 major industrial sectors, founded on the interviews of 200 procurement managers.

From my perspective, the top challenges for CPO highlighted in this 80-page document are primarily underlining the ‘short’ digital maturity in this sector (purchasing) that started focusing on generating savings 30 years ago and initiated its e-enablement  in the 2000’s i.e. 15 years ago (pushed by CFOs). But why such a ‘short’ maturity?

I believe we can relate this status to multiple factors that prevented Procurement either to be on the driving seat or to attract the right Talents, for example:

  • Procurement was not and remains often not considered as a Business Partner,
  • Procurement was and remains not the most attractive department of a company,
  • Procurement is a business support function, not truly supposed to drive but to serve the Business
  • Digital challenges are much more critical on the front-end than on Procurement

If you don’t have the time to read the study here or directly download the CPO Agenda 2016 – Roland Berger, here are the main 3 Procurement challenges across all industries according to this 2016’s study from Roland Berger:

  • Savings generation and measurement  remains the major Procurement challenge across industries,


  • Reaping the procurement benefits of increasingly digitized value chains is THE upcoming challenge in procurement but currently the maturity is low across all industries and decisive action can turn into a competitive differentiator,
  • Chemicals, Automotive and Healthcare/MedTech/Pharma procurement setups are overall best prepared to handle the current procurement challenges. However, perceived maturity to cope with the « new » digital challenge falls short compared to the ability to handle the »established » challenges of savings generation.


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