Lifetime of Achievement: Klaus Staubitzer

Siemens Procurement Chief Klaus Staubitzer on the evolving challenges of a CPO

Since starting his career at Siemens in 1996, Klaus Staubitzer has seen how the challenges of procurement have shifted from being functional to becoming a key part of the wider business strategy. In a career that has spanned nearly three decades, he has progressed through the business, becoming Chief Procurement Officer in 2014.   

“I’ve had many different roles within the company over more than 25 years, but today in the Siemens Supply Chain Ecosystem, we manage more than US$43.1bn in annual spend,” he says. “It’s a massive amount and we do our utmost to make the most of it, which is very interesting, and very challenging at the moment.” 

Staubitzer’s roles in the company have included procurement, process consulting, and strategic marketing, giving him a wide scope of knowledge and experience. This equips him with the tools to meet the modern challenges of the CPO role.. 

“At the moment we have the obvious challenge of getting all the materials and all the services that we need on site, due to the global availability issue that we’re all experiencing,” he says. “Aside from this, the big challenge is how can we transform our function from a pure cost-cutter into a value-add orchestrator. Where is our next north star?”

Getting the cheapest price is no longer the most important thing, he explains. 

“There are many other different facets we have to focus on,” he says. “That means productivity is a given, but quality and availability are other facets, and on top of this, leveraging the power of our suppliers’ innovation is also something we have to focus on.” 

He adds that the real discipline “is to find the right balance in between all these – and of course sustainability is the outcome of how we manage that transformation from cost to value-add”.

As for the key issue of digital transformation, he says:. “This is a question of both challenge and opportunity. If I think back to 2017, some of our board members returned from the World Economic Forum energised and excited that all the technical systems we needed for our digital transformation already existed. Great, but that was never really the limiting factor.

“The thing people always want to know is what the Siemens master plan is. And that was the big challenge. At that time, I thought maybe it was impossible to define what our plan was.” 

But then, he says, a trainee approached him and suggested they take a different tack – that

instead of having a top-down approach that might take years to implement, the company could make turn the process around, making it bottom-up. “And that's exactly what we did,” says Staubitzer. 

Over time Staubitzer has evolved his own approach to working smarter. 

“A lot of people work like hell everyday, but what’s their impact? If you always think about the impact you have on an organisation, you’re much more valuable. 

“And of course, nobody’s perfect, because we’re all human, and we all say we can take on all of these tasks, when in reality that’s absolutely not true.

“Again, for me it’s about this bottom-up approach building on one another’s perceptions and creating added value. And if people are self-motivated, self-organised, then they are motivated to work towards the next level. 

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