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There is a growing awareness among CEOs and CFOs that procurement and supply management can be a sustainable source of significant value creation ("Buy It for Me," Topline, November). Value creation through supply management can manifest itself in numerous ways: revenue support, cost reductions, improved working capital, and improved capital project procurement — all of which combine to create better ROIC, EPS, and cash flow. And, there are other benefits, such as enhanced risk management.
The first step in achieving those benefits is not to hand your daily procurement activities to someone else to do it for you, as tempting as that may appear. Rather, conduct a candid and comprehensive assessment of the "current state" at your company, and compare it with supply-management best practices. That gap analysis leads to an "opportunity assessment" and also provides input to a road map for transformation, one aspect of which would address the degree, and type, of external support that might be worth considering under various scenarios.
Robert A. Rudzki
Greybeard Advisors LLC
Former Fortune 100 Chief Procurement Officer
Working on a Dream
In your article "The War for Talent Is Still On" (November), I was a bit disappointed that you didn't spend more time on what you brought up in your last paragraph — giving yourself. I have worked both in a public accounting firm and for a multi-billion-dollar construction company, but I have yet to have a manager or supervisor truly inspire me.
I would have loved an open relationship where we could talk about the company and how all of us fit in. I wanted my manager to be the salesperson for his/her job. All I saw was that that person was overworked and stressed and I knew that I didn't want that, so I moved on. It is OK to be stressed, but [you must] also let your staff know why you love your job, the industry, and the company. I still hope that one day I will work with someone who inspires me, but in the meantime I will work on inspiring others and helping them find their path.
Virtual CFO & Consultant
In "Are You 'Strategic'?" (November), Spencer Stuart counted 83 people with CFO experience from a list of current Fortune 500 CEOs, not CFOs, as the article states. In "When CFOs Take the Top Spot," also in November, the reference to Global 500 CEOs should have read Fortune 500 CEOs.