A recent article over on the CPO Agenda on how the CPO is an agent for change pointed out that, at many organizations, the CPO is getting a broader realm of responsibility as she has to be well versed in change management to succeed at her job. In particular, many CPOs are now being tasked with logistics, risk, revenue, demand management, IT, sales support, property, CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), and/or FM (Facilities Management) — with CSR and facilities becoming increasingly common.
The article highlighted three individuals in particular who were also responsibile for property and/or Procurement — Kath Harmeston, CPO of Royal Mail; Steve Jones, Director of Procurement and Property at Biffa Waste Services; and Patrick Dunne, Director of Procurement and Property at Alliance Boots — and how their role is not only cross-functional, but logical. Property and Facilities Management require great Procurement skills to keep costs down and value up, and combining the functions results in synergies that reduces internal management costs across the board. Plus, CPOs who are responsible for multiple functions get a much broader view of the business and the experience they gain gathers them a lot of respect in the C-Suite. As Kath Harmeston noted:
I was accepted as a budget-holder, a stakeholder and CPO at the same time. I was seen as quite a different animal — one that could see both sides, played a fair game and stood for accountability, traceability, auditability and transparency.
Similarly, CSR fits well with Procurement. Both Siemens and Clarks, where Barbara Kux is the head of Supply Chain Management and Chief Sustainability Officer and Matt Turner is the CPO and CSR officer, respectively, have combined the functions. It makes logical sense since Procurement directly dictates how sustainable the company is with what it buys and determines how sustainable the company’s suppliers are.
Reading the article, it appears only logical that, as more
companies figure out that the head of Procurement is the perfect candidate to lead these functions, more and more CPOs are going to be tasked with property, facilities, and sustainability as time goes on. What do you think?