Deloitte 2021 CPO Survey


2021 Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey

Agility: The antidote to complexity

This year’s survey provides insight into how the procurement operating model is shifting toward more agile procurement strategies. Explore how high-performing chief procurement officers (CPOs) do things differently than their peers and how they actively harness agility to deliver value—even in the face of headwinds.

This year, we’re celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Deloitte Chief Procurement Officer Survey, marking a decade of benchmarking the procurement industry.


Expanding priorities in the year of the supply chain

Without question, procurement has grown increasingly complex over the past decade, but in adversity lies opportunity. Last year’s Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) Survey explored how procurement organizations have begun to address rising complexity and risk while continuing to generate value. Business leaders are facing growing concerns related to climate change, geopolitical stability, increasing societal expectations, and, of course, public health. These challenges all offer a springboard to higher performance and future success.

2020 was, in many respects, the year of rethinking the supply chain. All aspects of the function were exposed and challenged. Few business sectors emerged unaffected, whether via explosive growth (online retailers) or decline (travel and hospitality). So, what do we have to look forward to in a postpandemic world, and how can CPOs prepare for success?

As supply risks continue to shift and multiply, many leading CPOs are responding by expanding their circle of influence. Addressing higher levels of complexity and volatility—while simultaneously managing input costs—requires deeper alliances with the business and suppliers. CPOs must also build new capabilities and a digitally enabled ecosystem of suppliers to enable new value streams and innovations for true strategic advantage.

The increasing levels of complexity highlighted in our last survey have brought higher levels of sophistication to operating models and broadened application of digital technologies to manage that complexity. This year, we correlated attributes and capabilities of survey participants to show what high performers do differently from their peers to harness agility and deliver value even in the face of headwinds.

The survey showed that leading CPOs:

  • Have a broader understanding of value and deploy a wider, more sophisticated set of levers to unlock, measure, and protect value;
  • Focus on relationships and influence across functions and supply markets;
  • Invest in agility by developing talent and accessing capabilities, knowledge, and experience;
  • Leverage on-demand, hybrid service delivery models (e.g., teams augmented with external support services);
  • Use configured (not fully customized), end-to-end integrated processes and solutions—independent of whether best-of-breed or full-suite solutions are used; and
  • Prioritize data, both internal (master data capture and consumption) and external (market intelligence), to make fact-based decisions from predictive analytics that reveal hidden opportunities and emerging risks.

Agility can be a powerful tool to enable strong performance and act as an antidote to complexity, disruption, and risk. True agility can be built through ambitious project portfolios, with targeted investments in underlying capabilities. These increasingly fast, iterative, and cross-functional projects use technology and analytics to target efficiency gains while also improving organizational talent models. Building agility is not a distraction to delivering performance; it’s a critical enabler.

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A decade taking the pulse of procurement

Since 2011, the Deloitte Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey has been providing exclusive insights into the key challenges and opportunities shaping the course of procurement, serving as a global benchmark of sentiment about the function. Over the years, these insights have helped members of the C-suite, procurement leaders, business partners, suppliers, and supporting technology providers further their ambition, strategies, and performance.

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