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CPO Agenda

May 25, 2016

Turning Action into Advantage

Procurement makes a significant contribution to creating strategic advantage—and in today’s volatile and uncertain environment, keeping a competitive edge has never been more important. “Thus, expectations on the CPO are continuously rising," explains Roland Berger partner Oliver Knapp. They are expected not only to achieve excellence with a long-term plan, but also to implement a short-term plan that considers both current and imminent challenges as well as levers. In this report, we’ve complied exclusive feedback from 200 managers around the globe with responsibility for procurement.

The result is an invaluable guide for CPOs that identifies the trends, spells out the challenges, defines the levers, and compares these findings to the last published version of our CPO Agenda in 2014.

Although we found that trends tend to differ by industry, we also discovered that there are nine cross-industry procurement challenges that cause significant difficulties for CPOs: generating and measuring savings, safeguarding quality, ensuring delivery availability, managing volatility and risk, securing innovation, enhancing product value, optimizing working capital, supplier partnerships, and leveraging digitized operations. The first three on that list are—and will remain—important key issues for CPOs, while the others will significantly increase in relevance over the next three to five years.

After examining the challenges and taking a glance at industry benchmarking, we continue with an in-depth report into how trends and challenges play out across industry-specific situations. Analyzing automotive, chemicals, consumer goods, engineered products and high tech, healthcare and pharma, transportation, and—included for the first time in 2016—utilities, we examine the levers and offer tailored recommendations for action. Some challenges may be confined by industry, but one thing is universal: for all CPOs, now is the time to turn action into advantage.

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CPO Agenda 2016


Reaping the benefits of increasingly digitized value is the upcoming challenge in procurement.

Published May 2016. Available in