An Interview with Patricia Moser: Selling Transformation

In moving purchasing from a tactical function to a strategic driver of value within the enterprise, Chief Procurement Officer Patricia Moser focuses on marketing the transformation throughout the business.


In this respect, one significant benefit at Rogers is that the CEO, Ted Rogers, understands the importance of procurement at the senior levels and supports the procurement organization in its development. This includes ensuring that procurement is at senior-level meetings with the CxOs of major global operations. That's visionary to a certain extent because there are very few CPOs who have as much continual interaction with the president and CEO of the organization.

S&DCE: As you go through the transformation at Rogers, what are the primary challenges and risks that you are confronting?

Moser: The challenges for procurement transformation are no different than the challenges in any transformation that you undertake, and, in a lot of ways, it's about managing the change. In general, people will always say that they want change until it affects them. Well, I'm a change-agent in general, so when I come into an organization, there inherently will be change. In fact, the first thing that I give to a team that I take responsibility for is a copy of the [Spencer Johnson book on dealing with organizational change] Who Moved My Cheese. I probably am responsible for very good sales of that book. [Laughs]

The whole idea here is that people need to understand where they are in the change paradigm and understand what some of their obstacles might be to embracing change. You need to show them how to get to the next level, work with them to attain that and redefine the organizational construct to get them there. If an organization has been tactical, many people will embrace the opportunity to move to the strategic, to work in a professional organization. But others will take a lot more convincing because there is just a level of comfort in staying where you are.

When you look at it from a marketing perspective, there are the early adopters, and then there are those that you have to work a little bit harder to convince. What you want to do as an organization is find those people that are the early adopters; you demonstrate the value, and they become what I have named "FOPs," which are "Friends of Procurement." Then they tell two friends, and so on. That's how you create a dynamic where organizations start to seek out the procurement function and understand the value that it brings.

S&DCE: What, from your perspective, is the role of technology in procurement transformation?

Moser: We currently are planning to have a number of e-sourcing events. That is something that the organization had not engaged in previously. In general, technology is a tool, an assistant to transformation, but it is inherently not the transforming entity. What the technology allows you to do is gain a lot more information with regard to spend visibility, spend management and compliance, understanding what your total relationship is with a supplier both from a base procurement perspective and also from a total business perspective. Technology gives you all this data and information so that you can go in and do your job not blindly, with assumptions, but with facts. It also allows you to do the tactical without as much intervention as the manual processes have done. So you have the information; you rid yourself of a significant amount of the tactical; and you can do a lot more of the sourcing exercises, relationship management and market analysis because now you have the tools to support it. But if people are looking for technology to be the panacea, it isn't; it is an adjunct and an assist to the entire transformation process.

S&DCE: What do you see as the future of procurement and supply chain management, especially as a business process? Where is supply chain management heading?

Moser: Procurement and supply chain management have been moving over the last few years toward becoming an integral part of the business rather than being seen as a support organization. When I got into the supply chain profession way too long ago, it just wasn't the sexy place to be. But I was drawn by the fact that when you're in operations, materials management and supply chain, you inherently have to understand the organization as a whole. Supply chain requires an understanding of the markets and marketing, of finance, of negotiating. It is a full-scope profession. That's why now you have business schools actually teaching supply chain, as opposed to ignoring it. And
that's why I think that within the next five years, instead of having chief financial officers or chief information officers or the top marketing people ending up being the CEOs of organizations, you're going to start seeing chief procurement officers moving into those roles, because the understanding and the knowledge of the organization as a whole will bode well for those kinds of positions. I don't know of anyone at this time that has made it to that level, but I think that is the next stage.

  • Enhance Your Experience.

    When you register for SDCExec.com you stay connected to the pulse of the industry by signing up for topic-based e-newsletters and information. Registering also allows you to quickly comment on content and request more infomation.

Already have an account? Click here to Log in.

Enhance Your Experience.

When you register for SDCExec.com you stay connected to the pulse of the industry by signing up for topic-based e-newsletters and information. Registering also allows you to quickly comment on content and request more infomation.

OR

Complete the registration form.

Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required