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11 March 2020 5 min read

Five thought provoking comments on the future of procurement

Abdi Azimi

Abdi Azimi
Partner | Supply chain and procurement | London

It was great seeing so many CPOs at Baringa’s Procurement Leaders Forum recently. Great discussions were had about procurement as a function and a capability, automation, climate change, and the future of procurement. Here is a summary of five most thought-provoking contributions from the evening:

  1. Over the last decades, we have seen a professionalization of the procurement function, and the procurement toolkit is more comprehensive than ever: spend analytics, 7-step sourcing, SRM, and category management to name a few. Intelligent robotic based tools are increasingly automating repetitive processes, allowing humans to spend more time to address critical judgement-based activities. The future of procurement is exciting, rich, and specialised, but will be very different from today. Let’s make sure we promote the opportunities with a new generation of talent, so graduates aspire to become procurement practitioners.
  2. Procurement has contributed hugely to the success of organisations. We have has helped capture significant value through  adopting rigorous processes and cutting edge techniques to bring the best from increasingly global supply chains (although this trend is starting to reverse). We have worked hard to understand our internal clients and to step up as genuine business partners. However, we haven’t shouted loudly enough about our achievements and haven’t used this success to firmly establish our importance to our organisations.  As a result, very few CPOs have a seat on the Executive Board. This ‘seat at the top table’ is essential as organisations are becoming more and more reliant on 3rd parties, and the ‘scale of organisations’ sits largely outside of their four walls.
  3. Businesses are putting increasing emphasis on their response to climate change, and procurement has a number of - often overseen - impactful levers to support the drive to net zero and reducing waste. Insourcing and near-sourcing are just the beginning; and we may well be adding de-globalising to our future toolkit.
  4. KPIs for procurement functions are traditionally centred on cost and reliability of supply, compliance and risk. But procurement adds so much more, and metrics such as contribution to revenues, speed to market, corporate reputation, innovation, and climate-related metrics must be added to any credible procurement dashboard.
  5. As consumers, we are used to comparing offers, checking out reviews and feedback from other users, and placing orders with the click of a button. Consumerism is moving into procurement, and internal clients are expecting the same frictionless functionality for their corporate purchases. As a function, procurement is responsible for providing this experience, and building and maintaining the programmes and apps needed.

Let us know if you have missed the event and would like to catch up with us to discuss how Baringa can help your organisation deliver competitive advantage through cost effectiveness, service improvement and improved resilience and flexibility.