As we approach a new decade, what are the trends that will shape Procurement as a profession in the roaring (20)20’s? While trying to answer this question, I look at five trends that have the promise to make a real difference.
Ever Closer Alignment to Business Stakeholders
We need to ensure that procurement is seen as a strategic enabler of business change, instead as a process speed-bump designed to slow down the spending of money. For the workforce of the 2020’s , the key will still be effective stakeholder engagement. That means facilitating the business to deliver in the right way with the right partners. Additionally, this will require developing deep relationships with stakeholders at the appropriate level. In other words, getting the right balance between execution, constructive challenge and bringing valuable market insight, whilst doing the right thing for your organisation.
Increased Speed to Value
The pace of change has increased exponentially in the 2010’s and this is unlikely to slow in the next decade. Effective procurement can act as a catalyst to bring the right mix of stakeholders, suppliers and knowledge so that value is delivered as early as possible. Organisations implementing agile procurement will see efficiency increase, faster learnings and swifter implementation of new requirements to transform business processes.
Thanks to the advances in procurement processes which new technology provides, teams will sooner than later implement systems to give the proper visibility and sufficient focus on their priorities. New systems will finally make use of the tech buzzwords of the last few years (AI, ML, blockchain etc.) while providing tangible value to help users deliver more in their roles. Currently, too much time is spent reporting on what has happened rather than focusing on delivery and efforts to digitise procurement. Fortunately, with the right software, the statement “what gets tracked gets managed” will make more sense and provide valuable insights.
War for Talent
As new skills and emotional intelligence come to the fore, exceptional procurement professionals with a track record of delivery will be increasingly difficult to find. This will be a challenge to all teams, but especially teams that do not have a clear and inspiring vision, efficient processes or have rubbish systems. According to the article from SpendMatters, CIPS discovered that 56% of employers are having a hard time finding talent. Even more when it comes to executive positions, where that number rises to 73%, according to DHL. On the other hand, resources for both soft and hard skills are present in abundance. Doesn’t that mean that the bar is higher up? Well, yes, however, yesterday’s exceptional is today’s average. Understandably, the group of people that are beyond exceptional is hard to find. Therefore, making sure that you are ahead of your competition will help your efforts to recruit exceptional procurement professionals who will deliver for your team and for your business.
A New Generation in the Workplace
Over the next decade, millennials will continue to take the lead within teams, bringing their tech savvy and value-first mindset to procurement. We’ll also start to see the next generation of procurement professionals coming though from ‘Generation Z’. Also called Gen-Z is a cohort known for being digitally native, with a high exposure to internet enabled technology from a very early age. In general terms they are known for being risk adverse; like to speak with Emojis; and prefer online contact over face-to-face meetings. Furthermore, we need to make sure that we recognise the skills, preferences and value of our team members to drive the profession forward for the benefit of all.
So what do you think? Are these the main areas which will shape our profession in the next decade or are there others which I’ve missed? Please comment below with your thoughts and questions. Also, feel free to get in touch if you’d like to find out more about us and our role in digital procurement transformation.