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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