Procurement & Technology


Author: Margaret Gilbert

In the last year there has been a lot of talk about crypto-currencies and especially bitcoin. Bitcoin was ‘marketed’ as the next ‘big thing’. Recent events however showed that caution is required.

Procurement requires certainty and a stable payment system is essential. While keeping an ‘open’ mind is beneficial, risk consideration is required.

While technology an assist procurement and can free up time for procurement practitioners to factor in strategic procurement let us take note of the wildly fluctuating bitcoin and to take another look with the aim of risk reduction and finding an appropriate and stable payment mechanism.

This is still a new field and it is timely to undertake further research and to keep a ‘watching brief’ while the ‘bugs’ are being ironed out.  Procurement transparency is one of the procurement principles which has to be followed.

Let us acknowledge the benefits of technology but for the moment we should revisit and not be rushed into ‘doing something’. It is timely to wait for the ‘bugs’ to be sorted amongst any/all cryptocurrencies before implementation.  Not to do so can cause huge issues and some not known.  Stability is key. What we have at the moment is instability.

In the meantime, it would be prudent to ensure a Plan B and any mechanism – manual/ electronic – be able to operate in tandem so that there are records kept that can be used if technology fails and there is a need to ensure appropriate records can be kept which will reduce confusion and misunderstanding around contractual obligations and payments made – or not made.

Careful research and decision making should be the goal for 2018. More will be known as the year goes on. In the meantime, effective and transparent procurement has to occur. Management requires to have faith that procurement is carried out effectively which obviously includes financial matters.

Procurement practitioners have the responsibility to manage both operationally and strategically. Let us not ignore how technology can assist but procurement certainty is the ultimate goal and is the responsibility of procurement practitioners.

There is a lot to be done and a methodical approach would assist, rather than ‘rushing ahead’ and then possibly having huge problems to fix later.

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