Procurement Is Changing: How To Prepare?

Are You Ready For The Future of Procurement?

PurchTips Edition #426

The old adage says:  “The only thing constant is change.”  So, what will change in procurement in the future?

Well, imagine a profession where every task you do today is being done by the lowest-cost person in an offshore location. Or being automated, even if such procurement automation seems impossible. Imagine every idea you are expected to come up with being generated by a computer – a computer with instant access to more data than you could ever remember or record. Imagine all of the relationships you manage being managed with less – or no – human involvement.

Someday – maybe in 10 years, maybe in 1,000 – that’s what procurement will be like. It’s not that procurement won’t exist. It will just be different. If you remain in the profession long enough, you may even help make these changes come to fruition. Here are three aspects of your work you need to understand as you prepare to contribute to the future of procurement:

  • Your Tasks: Contemplate your tasks, all of their variations, the decision points that lead to those variations, and the criteria for the decisions. Tomorrow’s technology will be able to perform most of those tasks, but it will take humans with a comprehensive understanding to enable technology to do them right.
  • Your Ideas. Consider the types of ideas required from you, the situations that trigger the need for those ideas, and the things that need to be observed to recognize those situations. Tomorrow’s technology will be able to produce most of those ideas, but the technology will require human input of criteria that distinguish a good idea from a bad one.
  • Your Relationships.  List the constituencies with whom you have relationships. If you think about it, most business “relationships” requiring human intervention exist because there is a perception of two distinct sides with a veritable wall that separates them. What type of physical or informational integration would need to exist so that there wouldn’t be a perception of two separate sides? Technology will pursue such an integration, but human guidance will be required to kickstart it.

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Future Direction of Procurement & Supply Chain

The saying goes: “The only constant is change.” Nowhere is that statement truer than in procurement and supply chain management.Procurement and supply chain are fields that have changed tremendously throughout the years. They are much more multi-faceted disciplines than they were even just a few years ago.

If you’re a procurement or supply chain professional and you haven’t adapted to new ways of carrying out your work, the world is passing you by. But it’s not enough to try to get to where procurement and supply chain are today. You must prepare for the future of these important business functions.



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Copyright 2018. This article is the property of the Next Level Purchasing Association and may not be copied or republished in any form without the express written consent of the Next Level Purchasing Association. Click here to request republishing permission.

By Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3