31 January 2008 | Paul Snell
German bosses are "naïve" about the potential impact procurement can have on their firm because it is "not on their agenda", according to an expert.
A survey of 70 German CEOs, by European procurement consultancy BrainNet, found only one in 10 German firms has a CPO at board or senior management level.
Sven Marlinghaus, a partner at BrainNet, told SM
the results were not surprising. "[The profession] is becoming much more important, but procurement is not able to leverage its position. The organisational standing of the function needs to be improved."
But he added CPOs should share the blame for this low status. "People in procurement don't have the skill-set to play on the C-level."
Marlinghaus said procurement chiefs need to increase their basic business acumen, and companies should ensure buyers have the skills they need to demonstrate their worth. People management, general management skills and increased engagement with product development teams, are all areas that need improvement.
He urged CPOs to find out what aspects of procurement interest their CEO and how it can support them. One area that buyers could promote, for example, is their work on risk management, which is also high on a CEO's list of priorities.
Marlinghaus warned it could take 10 years for purchasing to achieve the recognition it wants, as few German universities promote it as a career.