It’s the time of year when we like to look ahead, challenging ourselves with career goals and committing to learning new skills. But before you decide on your New Year’s resolutions for 2020, it would be prudent to review your 2019 successes. How many of your objectives did you meet and which commitments fell by the wayside to be carried over into the new year? Here’s our seven-point checklist of 2019 procurement goals.
1. Getting to grips with data
The big data analytics market is predicted to reach USD$103 billion by 2023 with 97.2% of organisations currently investing in big data and AI. It’s no longer acceptable for procurement professionals to claim they are “just not really into data.” Developing a clear data strategy, which means not only collecting the right data but also working out how to acquire it and when to use it, will drive value for your company by providing leaders with new insights, further elevating the profession’s position.
But as Professor Mohan Sodhi, head of operations and supply chain management at Cass Business School points out, procurement professionals should prioritise clean data above everything else. “Big and dirty data will only give false confidence. Clean data should be a priority. But it’s something companies have not paid direct attention to yet.”
2. Focusing on SRM
Today’s procurement professional understands the importance of nurturing long-standing, healthy supplier relationships. Whilst short-termism, and the quick-wins associated, might be enticing, developing long term supplier relationships will ultimately save money, drive efficiency and agility and mitigate risk within your supply chain.
Ask yourself, have I adapted to my suppliers’ requests and is my team working flexibility to accommodate SMEs? In an increasingly global world, it’s also important for procurement professionals to accommodate cultural differences and diverse working standards throughout the supply chain.
3. Building an adaptable team
A 2018 Hays survey of more than 900 employers revealed adaptability to be the second most in-demand skill (communication came out on top). In an increasingly fast-paced and volatile world, procurement leaders must focus on building a resilient and agile team that can adapt effectively and efficiently to disruptions, technological developments and changing business needs and priorities.
4. Learning about new technology
This year, a survey by The University of Mannheim Business School and SAP Ariba, revealed that 83.9% of procurement leaders consider digitalisation important for improving procurement performance. The first step in implementing any new technology is to become a champion, whether it’s Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) or The Internet of Things (IoT). Getting to grips with a new technology is a useful annual goal. Once you’ve learned everything there is to know, you can position yourself as the go-to expert for that technology and, that way, you’ll be well-placed to write a bullet-proof case for adoption.
5. Cleaning up procurement processes
Procurement professionals should be continuously striving to streamline processes, drive efficiency, and identify and remove bottlenecks. If you, or your colleagues, are frequently guilty of adopting a “we’ve always done it this way” attitude, it’s definitely time to rethink and refresh your processes. For many procurement teams, improving contract management processes is a critical focus area for driving efficiency. Effective contract management can lead to greater innovation and collaboration with supply partners, helps mitigate and manage supply chain risk and centralises your organisation’s data.
6. Prioritising sustainability
Increasingly, consumers are demanding that the products and services they buy come from businesses committed to operating sustainably, and they’re often willing to pay a premium for it. Customer scrutiny means business leaders will rely on procurement to identify suppliers driving sustainability in innovative ways. Doing so will result in financial return, maintain your brand’s reputation and retain customers, who will happily vote with their wallets and take their business elsewhere if they don’t like what they see. In 2019, businesses citing climate change as a very significant focus leapt to 52%, an increase of 14% from the year before.
7. Developing soft skills
Technology changes and evolves all the time, but the fundamental soft skills, including communication, leadership and negotiation, will never be redundant in the workplace. It’s predicted that 50% of day-to-day procurement tasks could be automated in the future, making it all the more important for procurement professionals to hone their soft skills and render themselves indispensable to the business. The Deloitte Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey 2018 found that 36% of training sessions for procurement leaders will focus on soft skills development.