In times of crisis what makes a CPO great?

Calling all CPOs! When global crises hit, your challenges become your company’s challenges and procurement becomes your organisation’s new battleground for survival. With the spotlight on you, how prepared are you and how well will you perform?

Are you digitally savvy?

Being digitally savvy doesn’t mean digital genius. It means knowing how to use technology, like digital procurement and contract services, and knowing how that technology can enhance your role. If you already have a digital platform in place, you’ll be well-positioned to keep your procurement function up and running during uncertain times. All you really need is a digital device and a Wi-Fi connection to be able to manage things from any location.

You won’t need hardware, excel files, spreadsheets or dusty paper contracts that have been passed hand to hand around the office or circling in emails waiting to be printed and signed. Nor will you have to chase down the guy who left the company last month to find out in which cabinet he stored last year’s contract records. You will have minimised all that risk in advance by having everything you and your team needs already digitally stored, so you can get straight to work.

How strategic are you?

In the heat of crisis, your first priority will be quick fixes, restoring supply-chain disruptions, scrambling to fill order pipelines, reallocating resources and talent, and generally putting out fires.

Every CPO needs to be able to handle the nuts and bolts of procurement and contract management from a functional standpoint. But with so much change and so much at stake, a crisis can also be a chance to broaden your view, and start making the shift from plain procurement officer to strategic thinking CPO who delivers real business outcomes.

In times of crisis the critical skill that distinguishes the great CPO from the good is the ability to adapt to change and turn it into a sustainable competitive advantage. Generally speaking, the best CPOs think and act more like CEOs than functional experts. They know their organisation’s operations all the way from the executive suite to the outer reaches of the supply chain.

If you’re a CPO aspiring to go from good to great, your challenge is to keep one strategic eye on the future business horizon even as the day-to-day landscape around you rapidly changes. That means taking care of the short-term present while at the same time reimagining medium- and longer-term procurement strategies that will better serve the future organisational outlook.

Do you have what it takes to step up?

In times of crisis what makes a CPO great?With your strategic vision in place and your digital house in order, great CPOs must still be able to push their agendas through. Can you communicate your vision effectively within your own procurement team, to your suppliers and across your organisation, as well as inspire the right level of engagement around it? Maybe you are still on the journey. But consider this your call to action. Your time is now and your organisation needs you!


Joonas Jantunen
CEO, Cloudia Middle East and Africa


Learn more about risk management in procurement – why is it so critical and what does it mean for today’s CPO or how to get from tactical to strategic sourcing.

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