‘Cast a Wider Net’: Coca-Cola’s Fmr CPO On Rethinking Talent Acquisition

Coca-cola bottles teaser

Whether it’s labor shortages, input scarcities, or sustainability obstacles, today’s consumer goods companies face a relentless onslaught of visibility challenges — all of which can hinder valuable connections with consumers. Get insight from The Coca-Cola Company’s former chief procurement officer on the top three things CG leaders are prioritizing, including how companies like Richemont and Allbirds are navigating toward success and how to rethink your approach to talent recruitment.  

Albert Guffanti:Hello, everyone, welcome to today’s webinar, “Managing Supply Chain Fragility and the Conscious Consumer.” My name is Albert Guffanti, I'm the publisher of Consumer Goods Technology, the media brand that's been serving the consumer goods and technology community for 30 years. I'm excited to kick off this webinar, whichis a timely and important topic.

We have a seasoned, experienced, and knowledgeable panel of experts today to take us through this conversation. Joining us is James Marland, the global vice president of SAP Intelligent Spend and Business Network. He will moderate the discussion with Sebastian and Bill.

James, why don't you introduce yourself and today’s panelists?

SAP Managing Supply Chain webinar headshots

James Marland:Thank you, Albert. My name is James Marland. I'm in the procurement center of excellencebased here in London. Welcome to my study. One of the books I grabbed off my shelf a few minutes ago was this one: It’s called The Black Swan,and it talks about how businesses need to be anti-fragile, and that's what resilience means. We need to think about how to eliminate fragility before the next black swan arrives — no one knows.

In fact, in this book, which talks about lots of different black swan events, the word pandemic doesn't appear at all. No one saw this coming, but potential new black swans could be a cyber attack, an energy crisis, inflation, tariffs, national boycotts.

Here in the U.K., two industrial gas plants shut down, leading to a shortage of food-grade CO2, which is used to carbonate drinks and dispense beer in pubs. It’s also used for fresh foods and baked products, so that’s bad. But it's not just CO2. There's a shortage of microchips in cars, which caused a shortage in the automotive industry.

Now, our research shows that only 49% of consumer products executives can quickly find alternative sources of supply. We've had several graceful ones already, even since the pandemic: lack of port capacity in LA, a shortage of lorry drivers in Europe, a ship blocking the Suez Canal. These things are all around, so the ability to be anti-fragile, to be resilient, is important for all consumer goods companies.

Joining the conversation is Bill Hovis. Bill, why don't you introduce yourself? Do you think things are going to get better? Is this something temporary, or are supply chains fundamentally going to have to deal with this situation and become anti-fragile, or become more resilient?

Bill Hovis:Hello, everyone. James, you mentioned CO2. In my career with Coca-Cola, Ilearned early on from some people that said, "No bubbles, big troubles." The basic idea was, if you can't get CO2 and product doesn't ship, we in procurement all have big troubles. I can imagine all of your lives right now, trying to manage through this crisis. It's difficult.

The silver lining for everyone on the call today actually goes back to a Machiavellian saying — many people have used it since that time, "Never waste a good crisis." While it's difficult when making phone calls every day, trying to get products to plants and manage through, the reality is that if properly managed, you can come out of this with some opportunities in terms of fixing things and putting yourself in a stronger position than you would've been. As difficult as it is, there is a silver lining, and I encourage you to continue to manage your business towards that silver lining.

The first thing to do is get through the situational challenges. From my experience, it's all about communication and involvementcommunicating daily, sometimes hourlywith operations and suppliers, and involving senior leadership where possible. In the past, I would get business unit leaders involved on top-to-top with supplier CEOs. They not only represent a good face to the supply community externally, but internally it helps build the case for change later on.

Marland: Okay. That's the first one: Get execs involved, both on your side and on the supplier side. Find someone to call at the supplier side, get these top-to-top conversations. That's a good first step.

Hovis:The other thing is, build for the future. When this ends you need to be prepared to say, "Here's how we don't let this happen again," — because it will. These disruptions have been around forever. We've never experienced one as globally pervasive and interconnected as this one, simply because the COVID affects 7 billion people on the planet. We had a bit of a reminder recently that there's a new variant coming on, and who knows where that's going to take us.

This is not going to end. The next time may not be a pandemic, James, like your black swan example didn't foresee, but there will be something else. We need to be prepared with a message to senior leadership, the C-suite to say, "Here's how we make procurement more resilient," because that timing is critical. It's now. You have to get that to the C-suite before the effects wear off.

Marland:What you're saying, Bill, isgoing back to your previous comment, "Don't waste a good crisis." Being resilient is a good thing, so use this to get the attention of the C-suite to make the investments. I'd like to bring in my colleague, Sebastian Schmid, to share some examples of a customer who recently made some improvements in resilience. Sebastian, introduce yourself and tell us a bit about Richemont.

Sebastian Schmid:Thank you. My name is Sebastian Schmid, I lead the consumer products practice for procurement solutions at SAP. I'm also based in London, so I experience many of the effects of the events that you mentioned, James. What eventful times we are living. It brought to light how global, interconnected, and complex supply chains are. That's what makes it hard to grasp and manage without the use of technology. These disruptions are going to continue. There's no way to predict them. However, what CPG companies can do is try to react and adapt faster.

I'll share an example of how technology can help. First I’ll talk about Richemont, the famous Swiss luxury goods company behind brands such as Cartier, Montblanc, and Panerai. Overall, the company has 20 brands they call Maisons. They have 36 manufacturing facilities, 40 distribution centers, hundreds of internal stores and boutiques. As many of you on this call, they have operations across different geographies and countries.

The challenge is that each Maison was acting individually with its own processes, so they started a project to optimize manufacturing. No company works as an island, so they quickly realized there was a lot of opportunity to expand the scope of the project to include suppliers as well.

“Oftentimes, those contract manufacturers are bringing innovation into the products themselves because they know how to make things better, faster, or different.”
James Marland, SAP

Marland:Before this, the individual Maison, which are the company’s own brands, would operate with suppliers independently, even though they're often buying the same stuff?

Schmid:That’s correct. Each had its own process. The Maisons were buying differently, not leveraging the opportunities of consolidating volumes, etc. This is a scenario that's common to CPG companies spread across multiple countries. So, they expanded to cover the suppliers as well. They launched a project named eSHOP, which is an acronym for Electronically Simplified Harmonized Optimizing Procurement.

It was about having a standard, a solution that consolidated all the data where the info could be accessed from any device. They presented at Sapphire and other webinars, and some of the results reported at the time were that they had 80% of the purchase orders flowing through the system, through SAP Ariba. Why is that important? For them, that represented 100,000 POs a year.

Again, why is it important? How many on this call send a PO to a supplier and hope everything works well, but doesn't have the confirmation that the supplier received that PO, and find out the day of the delivery that nothing happened? By then, it's too late. You pay a premium to expedite transport and all of that.

It is important nowadays to have this visibility, this confirmation and speed. They were able to reduce purchase order confirmations from 17 days to three days. In addition, they extended an advanced shipment notice. With that, the supplier not only confirms, but informs when it’s going to ship. That helps to prepare for incoming products, but that's standard procurement. They took it a step further and started collaborating with contract manufacturers, which is a common scenario for CPG companies, especially when there are peaks in demand, need to produce extra, don't have the capacity in-house, or need to outsource.

When launching a new product and testing the market before, making sure it works before investing in a new plant, in a new manufacturing line, you use contract manufacturers. The trick here is making sure those manufacturers work as an extension of internal operations. That's the difficult part, and for that, you need a tool.

Marland: Agreed. They don't work for you, but you want to feel as though they do. That means access to information, just like an employee, including security and access to data. That's very challenging if manufacturing is now done on a contract rather than in-house.

Schmid: Exactly. You want to be sure they have the capacity to produce what is needed. There has to be visibility on inventory, scheduling agreements, and shared forecasts. That's difficult to do without a tool. It can be done for one or two, but imagine having multiple SKUs, multiple line items — it gets complicated. But they were able to do it. In the end, the remarkable thing is that they did this during the pandemic.

Due to a number of restrictions during the pandemic, they had to shut some operations, but having all this in place helped to recover much fasterbecause they knew what the inventory was, the suppliers, and the capacity to produce. This is something many customers came to realize with the pandemic: the need for further collaboration and digitization.

Marland: In fact, they did what Bill described. They used the pandemic and disruption as an excuse or incentive to put in place practices that would help achieve faster product cycles, reduce cost, and so on in the future.

Sebastian was talking about Richemont, about how important it was with outsource manufacturing, the contract manufacturers, that they have a synchronized information flow regarding schedules, inventory, and so on. Bill, do you have examples from your long career in CPG of the importance of working tightly with an outsource manufacturer? Specifically around coordinating with external suppliers who are manufacturing on our behalf, the challenges about getting information to them, and what it can mean if it can be done better.

Hovis: There's no question about what Sebastian says, that's important. Beyond that, when you get into a crisis moment and are living day-by-day in terms of making sure there is supply availability, it even goes on hour-by-hour.

There was a situation where I needed to have total visibility into manufacturing operations and suppliers' operations because we had to manage hour-to-hour production schedules. The sad reality is that most supply chain managers, plant managers, don't like to show that they have very little safety stock, they don't want to run out. Everybody starts to hoard a bit more and more, and you get into a situation where there isn’t complete visibility on the inventory and data. If you want to be able to manage a situation like this, it's so helpful to have that.

Marland: This is electronic integration between suppliers and buyers, particularly around things like safety stock or stock levels. That's one area of resilience, this tight integration.

Sebastian, you mentioned the use of contract manufacturers because they want faster product development lifecycles, to try new things out, new recipes, new packaging, and by using contract manufacturing they can do that. It's also a way to bring innovation in as well. Oftentimes, those contract manufacturers are bringing innovation into the products themselves because they know how to make things better, faster, or different. That's a great story there about Richemont.

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Hovis: James, I’d like to compliment you on the choice of topics. Looking over some data analytics today IoT analytics — on the three biggest discussion topics on third-quarter earnings calls. These are corporate CEOs talking about their most challenging issues. Of course, we covered the first one, which was supply chain disruptions. Add in the ugly sister, twin sister, of inflation because the two of them go together.

The second thing, of course, was new work models, pandemic-related work models, finding people, which we're going to talk about, and then of course, sustainability. The three topics we're talking about today were mentioned as the three most important things for CEOs at this point in time.

Marland: That's great. Certainly, sustainability, which is a very broad topic covering many different aspects of corporate behavior, diversity, carbon reduction, working practices, and so on, is extremely important. At a conference earliertoday, one of the procurement people said, in his entire procurement career people had always asked about savings; now, no one is asking about savings — it’s all about brand risk. He worked for a branded company. His CEO was concerned about things that could happen in a supply chain that would negatively affect the brand. We have many big branded companies on the call today.

For example, in CPG, we often spend time designing packaging — we engage marketing people and artists to design packaging. My colleague's songoes shopping and doesn't look at any of the fancy packaging. He turns everything over and checks the ingredients list for palm oil. That's the only thing he cares about. Not nutrition, price, or whatever else, palm oil. "Dad, this one doesn't have palm oil. We'll buy this one," and that's what they buy.

Consumers of all types are now homing in on different aspects of the products. How can we formulate products that are attractive to customers? How can we be careful about brand damage through doing the wrong thing through the supply chain?

I’ll start with you, Sebastian. Twenty-one percent of CPG executives have experienced sustainability or ethical issues with supply chain. This sounds like a problem. How can procurement specifically start to address issues like that?

Schmid: Procurement plays a key role in executing the sustainability agenda. Procurement is the spend gatekeeper — it defines which supplier to work with or not. As sustainability becomes more relevant, so is the role of procurement becoming more strategic.

Let’s focus on carbon emissions, which is a key topic for CPG companies, for a bit of context. Greenhouse gas emissions are classified into Scope One, Two, and Three. Scope One is about all the emissions from the operations within the four walls. It's about reducing leakages, using electric vehicles, etc. Scope Two is about using clean energy. Scope One and Two are straightforward to tackle, but they only represent 10-20% of CPGs' emissions.

Meanwhile, 80% is in Scope Three, which is all the emissions generated in the value chain. There's a lot that procurement can do to influence suppliers to reduce those emissions, where the bulk of the problem lies. Procurement professionals are learning about regenerative farming, carbon credit markets, carbon taxes, different types of clean energy. We have seen on COP26 that the science behind reducing emissions is well advanced, and many CPG companies have already started their journey towards net zero. The key challenge here is to prove it.

There are many sustainability claims, but are they real? That's why data is so important. SAP is helping companies track this, and SAP has a long history of being the system of records for financial data. Approximately 75% of the financial transactions touch an SAP system and SAP is now embedding sustainability metrics into the solutions to help companies report on not only the bottom line, but also on the green line. ESG metrics are important to comply with local and global regulation, but also for businesses to thrive because sustainability and profitability are linked together.

Marland: Before we go any further, there is a question here I’d like to address. It was raised at contract manufacturing, but also taken here. Many value chains don't have that much level of technology, or even agreement, to share information with suppliers. If you don't have that agreement with suppliers or aren’t close to them, how can you get to something like a detailed understanding of their emissions to put in your Scope Three statement?

“Suppliers know it’s in all of our best interests to provide this information if it sells more products on the shelves — everybody can agree on that. It's a method of how much time and resources we put against it.”
Bill Hovis, Fmr. CPO, The Coca-Cola Company and ALCOA

Schmid: This is a problem that needs the collaboration of everybody. Nobody can solve this alone, so you need to start collaborating with suppliers. The thing is, where to start? There was an interview with the CPO from Coca-Cola Europacific Partners; he said the first thing is to understand the emissions from the suppliers and focus on those that contribute the most of the emissions … and find tangible solutions to the problem. It's about collaborating with the suppliers. Scope Three is the majority of the emissions for CPG companies.

Marland: Let me push that a bit further because the question follows on: What happens if you're in a constrained market where the suppliers have the power in the relationship? If you are not a key customer or you're a smaller customer and they've got the power, how can you force them to do things that meet your green target?

Schmid: Consumers will ultimately ask for this, it's not a matter of forcing. Either companies start reporting on this and adapt, or they will be out of business.

Marland: I like that idea: Bring the consumers in. It used to be that things like sustainability came from some CSR group that nobody cared about. Then, it came from a senior manager. Now, it's coming from consumers, so now we have to do it.

Bill, what's been your experience about rolling out these types of changes in a supply chain where we want to get more information about things like emissions and incorporate that into processes. How do we get suppliers to play along?

Hovis: You have to set the vision, the destination, with your supply base knowing that a lot of this technology, while it may be available, is not widely distributed. I was talking to a CPO of a large consumer products company in Asia 2.5 years ago, and they hadn't heard of blockchain yet. Even just hearing of blockchain, there's still a lot of challenge to implementing it within your supply network.

Building for the future you have to work with suppliers and say, "This is a destination, here's where we want to get to, and here's why it's mutually good for both of us." Suppliers know it’s in all of our best interests to provide this information if it sells more products on the shelves — everybody can agree on that. It's a method of how much time and resources we put against it.

Marland: Oftentimes, CPGs seem to be the villains because we have a lot of plastic. How can CPG companies improve their general public face? There was a lot of hassle in Glasgow and CPG companies were in the spotlight. Broadly, what can we do as an industry to improve our perception, say, about school kids?

Hovis:The truth is CPG companies have been the targets of a lot of NGOs for a long time. There's no question they use this as leverage to try to force companies to adopt quicker, faster, etc. That's never going to go away, James. At the beginning I mentioned it was around the supply chain. Supply is equally good to sustainability.

Going forward, there has to be verifiability built into the supply chains around sustainability goals. You can't wait for an end-of-the-year report to say, "I'm going to create 35 Excel spreadsheets and get information from all my suppliers to tabulate where I am." It has to begin to look like your financial systems mirror the reliability, accuracy, and timeliness around financial systems. It is occupying an increasingly bigger part of the consumer's mind.

I agree with Sebastian that the consumers do drive what companies do, and ultimately, drive what suppliers do. I'm not concerned that they will go along; they just have to understand the vision.

One thing about sustainability, during my time in Coca-Cola and even before that, I found that when you have a global challenge, or global problem such as carbon footprint, it requires local solutions.

Marland: That's important: Global problems require local solutions.

Hovis: Global problems require local solutions. A lot of you on the call today are sourcing managers. It must be frustrating to come up with the sourcing solution for the carbon problems your company has, and they may work in England, or Germany, but they don't work in India.

The reality is, I’ve been incredibly impressed with the ability of talented local teams to come up with solutions that get you where you need to be. You have to empower them, give them the tools and the freedom to get to that solution. In many cases, you cannot impose a global solution.

This is a controversial part of this topic, but it's practical knowledge that can help people. Sustainability must come without a cost premium because sustainability is inherently doing more with less. CPG companies realize that 80% of their consumer base has a marginal amount of disposable income. In some Asian markets, in India particularly, if you were to raise your product a few cents per pound, every consumer faces a choice that day. They can either buy a sachet shampoo, a cell phone card, or one of your products.

But if you raise your price, it's out of the range of affordability of 80% of the population. That's a stark reality we have to come up with and understand as global people because it has to have local solutions that work economically for your businesses overseas.

“Large companies have to be realistic in terms of what they're asking for, and that success begets success. You start small, with a few key criteria that matter, and people begin to see the value of working together in this way.”
Bill Hovis, Fmr. CPO, The Coca-Cola Company and ALCOA

Marland: That's a great example and a great observation. You mentioned, Bill, that you can't run operations on 37 spreadsheets. It's a bit like trying to run GLs on ledger books before computers were invented. Now, we need to look at our carbon footprint in the same way.

Sebastian, you've been working with SAP on a solution that brings together product information away from 37 spreadsheets and pushes it onto the system. Tell us a bit about the solution from SAP that allows companies to track, at the product level, what the contributions are from emissions from all of their suppliers.

Schmid: Yes, let me share an example. Have you heard about a company named Allbirds? Allbirds is a company that produces footwear and apparel made from eco-friendly Merino wool. One of the co-founders said that sustainability is why consumers love the brand. They label each pair of shoes with a carbon footprint to give a level of transparency for the consumer. They needed a robust system that was accurate. They chose SAP to be ready for growth, and as Bill mentioned, to build for the future.

This is the solution by SAP for carbon footprint. It's what the Allbirds example is about, being able to label the carbon footprint of the product. The approach of SAP for sustainability is broader than that because you also need to think about, when designing a product, circularity. Right from the design, you think about what products can be used. It's a holistic view, not only the product carbon of each manufacturer.

Marland: What you're saying is, don't focus on the emissions on the manufacturer of the product, but look at the whole lifecycle, including the recycling of the end product, etc.

Schmid: Bring procurement into the conversation early because the design phase is where procurement can bring the suppliers, tell the marketing or engineering team what's possible, what's available in the market. It's important that procurement participates in these early stages of development.

Marland: A lot of times, sustainability can put a large burden on small companies because big companiescan end up with more questions in RFPs for small suppliers, "Tell me about your emissions, your wastewater, tell me about this and that." These suppliers are getting huge, complex questionnaires from their large customers, and they're getting snowed under. How can large companies be more sensitive to helping suppliers with that burden?

Hovis: Large companies have to be realistic in terms of what they're asking for, and that success begets success. You start small, with a few key criteria that matter, and people begin to see the value of working together in this way. That opens the door to provide more information. It's only when companies get overwhelmed with bureaucracy and don't see the value where the challenge you mentioned arises.

Marland: Another solution is the concept of having a profile. On the SAP Business Network, you can upload a profile of different certifications that you have and put it in one place, which allows customers to pull it down directly into their RFPs. You may have heard of the SAP Business Network, it's about transactions, which is an example that Sebastian gave. It's also used for this idea of a shared profile to minimize the repeated answering of the same RFP questions over and over again.

Sustainability is a big issue. We just came off Glasgow, where we had some great discussions. Bill, you wanted to make this third discussion point, which is now backed up by your observation of what CEOs are discussing on earnings calls, about talent acquisition. Why do you believe that access to talent is particularly a procurement issue and a concern of CPG companies?

Hovis: It's a corporate concern. It's a concern for everybody right now, especially with this pandemic. All of these things we're talking about are interrelated. The challenges we're facing around finding qualified people has to do with issues that go back to the pandemic, but finding good talent has always been a challenge. It's even more of a challenge right now in procurement. Procurement people need to cast a wider net, using the fish analogy. If you broaden the base of talent that you're willing to consider, then you're likely to be more successful.

“People are looking for purpose. The studies show that companies that have sustainability, for example, or other purposes embedded, perform the best.”
Sebastian Schmid, SAP

Marland: Where should we be casting our nets that we're not doing right now? Perhaps you can provide some examples.

Hovis: A lot of procurement people cast their net in other procurement pools, pools of talent of procurement, and that gets over-fished. The reality is, some of my most talented people, some of the greatest procurement people we ever had came from other disciplines because we didn't cast the net into the procurement pool. We cast the net into the skillsets that procurement uses. The skillsets are what's important. For example, people in finance often have a skillset that works well in procurement, or people in the commercial side who sell products. The skillset between procurement and sales is highly synonymous.

Marland: They're also good negotiators, that's for sure.

Hovis: Well, you're doing the same thing, just sitting on different sides of the table. Cast a wider net.

One time I was trying to recruit somebody who was really good and getting involved, and there was competition with another company. We finally won out, but I asked, "What convinced you to come to our company versus the other?" Their response was our tools, they wanted to work with the latest tools and technology. The reality is, they're building on their inventory of skills and marketability, too. Being able to use the latest tools makes them more marketable. If you're not in that position where you have the ability to offer those tools, you're working at somewhat of a disadvantage.

Marland: No one wants to go to join a company where they say, "here's the Excel spreadsheets and the manual typewriter you'll be using." Sebastian, what else could companies do to make themselves more attractive to potential employees? Is it possible to get these concerned consumers who are waving placards at us at Glasgow, is it possible to get them to start actually working for us?

Schmid: People are looking for purpose. I don't want to get philosophical here, but the studies show that companies that have sustainability, for example, or other purposes embedded, perform the best. Perhaps because employees are more engaged, consumers reward them with buying their products, or investors invest in those companies.

There’s an article about how Generation Z and Millennials consider sustainability a key decision-driver when seeking a job. Purpose attracts talent. Now, to retain it is — as Bill said, you need to provide employees with a good working experience. The tools here play a key role, nobody wants to work on manual tasks, repetitive, with outdated technology.

A few examples of how SAP technology can help make life easier for employees. As a buyer and preparing an RFP with multiple line itemsI won’t go into functions and featuresthis is a test that takes a lot of time if you don't have an integration with the MRP to upload these items automatically. That saves a lot of timeand is very tedious work.

Also, the integration between the solutions. When finishing a negotiation, you award a business to a supplier. All these terms and conditionsflow automatically, you don't need to retype everything into a contract or an ERP to consume it. If you are an internal customer, not in procurement, you want to buy something and have the same experience when buying online at home. With guided buying, you have that.

Invoicing — this is a nightmare. Reconciliation of invoices. The invoice arrivesand nobody knows which PO it refers to, which line item. That takes a lot of time, rework. This is also work that can be avoided with smart rules. The supplier sends the invoice, the system checks if that invoice is okay with a PO, with a good received, with a service entry sheet. If it's okay, great. If it's not, it goes back to the supplier to fix. This is also good for the supplier because they receive on-time because now, they know that invoice was sent properly.

There's a lot of things that technology can do to make life easier. Technology is needed nowadays to work from home; nobody's going to the office anymore. You need to be able to approve workflows remotely from any device, be able to sign contracts electronically — we have DocuSign for that — and that's important.

“Never waste a good crisis. Use this as an excuse to do things you've been trying to do for a long time.”
James Marland, SAP

You mentioned the consumer, let me share what all these integrated data can provide to a consumer. There’s a solution from a new venture, a company named Scantrust, which was sponsored by SAP.iO (SAP's arm for new ventures). If you are a consumer, you go to a retailer and pick up a chocolate bar. It has a QR code, you scan it, and the smartphone will tell you where that chocolate came from, where the cocoa came from. On the back, you have all this data that's provided by the business network.

It's another example of how this integration, how this data flows through the network, and provides new ways to interact with the consumer. It's a platform where the CPG companies can build a relationship with consumers.

Marland: We're seeing more and more of those innovative startups. Technology is easy these days, and you can quickly get up to speed.Bill, may you follow up on Sebastian’s comment, which is rather interesting, about purpose and attracting talent. Do you have a specific example of what procurement people in CPG could be doing to more overtly talk about purpose or sustainability goals to try to attract talent into the procurement group?

Hovis: Earlier on this call we said, if you're a CPG company, it's likely that anywhere from 65-75% of your organization's capability is outside of your four walls. By that, when I'm defining capability, I'm defining it in the broadest sense — either you can do it in-house or you can do it externally. For example, you could even grow sugarin-house if you wanted to, but nobody does that.

If you talk about an organization's capabilities, the value add of CPG companies is probably somewhere between 30-35%. The impact of a purpose-driven organization resides in procurement. Sebastian and I belong to a good industry organization that's trying to solve some challenges on sustainability. One of the CPOs says, "I think procurement can solve the problems of the world."

The reality is that 70% I mentioned employs a lot of people, the impact is huge. It employs a lot of people, and those people employ other people. Look at that whole supply chain, procurement has a large impact, and that's not well-understood by a lot of MBAs coming out of these hot, prestigious places, or even college recruits. The amount of impact that procurement has on solving some of the critical challenges is just not understood.

Marland: All right, we have to wrap it up. Thanks very much, Sebastian and Bill, for your comments. Just a couple of notes here, some of the key things that came up:

  1. Never waste a good crisis. Use this as an excuse to do things you've been trying to do for a long time.
  2. Track sustainability like your financial statement. It's important. It needs the same kind of rigor. Global problems need local solutions. Sustainability has to come without a cost premium. Don't over-fish the procurement pool, put your rod in other places. Purpose attracts talent.
  3. Procurement can solve the problems of the world. That’s a good place to leave off.

Guffanti: Thank you, gentlemen. Fantastic conversation. Bill, coming into today, I had no idea that procurement can solve the world's problems, but apparently, it can. Fascinating discussion, and really enlightening to see the role that procurement plays, in talent, sustainability, and supply chain.

In this series, the umbrella topic is “Reimagine Consumer Products.” What we're talking about is growth and innovation. It's apparent that procurement's role in the growth and innovation initiatives within the consumer goods industry cannot be underestimated.

That's all the time we have. Once again, thank you to our three webinar participants and thank you all, our audience, for taking the time out to participate in this discussion. Hope you found it productive. Thank you very much, and have a great day.