Director of Project Management,
Happy Women’s Day to all our readers!
Of course a day as such calls for celebrating the success and presence of women in leadership roles in procurement with the many success stories around us, such as Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, Kelly Bengston, CPO of Starbucks, Jennifer Moocheri CPO of Google, Rhonda England, Global CPO of Deloitte, Sapna Tariyal, CPO APAC of Capgemini, and the list goes on. While each of these established leaders may have had their unique path, it is worth understanding what are the common skillsets amongst them that helped them succeed:
Ability to listen to a diverse set of perspectives
Complex problems require a diverse set of mindsets and thus a successful global procurement team is one that can bring those multiple perspectives together to bring forward optimal and creative solutions to any risks faced to an organization’s supply chain. Hence, a team that has gender inclusion as a top priority will enable a higher probability of a successful outcome.
Women, inherently have the ability to bring the human element of procurement to the table with respect to relationship management, supplier innovation, and overall agility and openness to new ideas and solutions.
Collaborative mindset and strong partnerships
Given supply chains are such dynamic and complex ecosystems, there are multiple inter-dependencies to consider. This is even more critical in today’s socio-economic geo-political environment given supply chain shortages and cost inflation and thus forging strong partnerships and relations with suppliers and negotiating contracts is the foundation of successful leader in procurement. This is a skill that is almost innate for many women, given women will always be thinking about the ecosystem.
Advocate other women to pursue a career in procurement
Creating high performing teams means seeking cross-functional collaborations and allowing access for others to networking with those that have shared value relationships. Established women leaders in procurement will pay it forward and be available to mentor those are less experienced.
On the flip side, those that are looking to gain more leadership experience in a procurement role, should be actively seeking out those female executives that are willing to be a mentor that will empower their teams by providing access to their network as well as opportunities to experience and learn under their guidance. Also, actively listening to their leadership journey will allow one to appreciate that there is no straight line to achieving success in procurement roles. Not only does this help less-experienced women in procurement roles establish social presence in a traditionally male-dominated field, it also helps them carve their own success path in procurement.
Access to and desire to embrace technology and increase knowledge/education on market trends impacting Procurement
The role of procurement is a critical one as industries shift towards the digital market, and it is the female leadership that has really helped shift the direction and vision to “smart procurement”, which recognizes the importance of leveraging technology and data analytics to make faster and more informed decisions and mitigate risks by identifying issues before they happen.
Given that procurement has been a male dominant role traditionally, women have had to prove themselves over the years and earn that trust and credibly, and in doing so women have the perseverance to push and mold the role of procurement and supply chain methodologies as the role of procurement itself evolves.
Undoubtedly, procurement is going through a shift from the traditional cost-cutting function to a value creation function. Women in procurement have the opportunity to lead such transformations given their industry experience, agility, skillset, and collaborative mindset which enables them to make critical decisions that have direct operational impact on the business goals and vision.