The Procurement of the Future: 6 Predictions

If the past is anything to go by, change is the only constant, and the past 3 years have brought about more change to procurement than the last 30 combined

1. People and Planet will Prevail over Profits

Once upon a time, procurement was merely about driving profits. Get stuff, sell stuff, make money, repeat. 

The emergence of extra-material cultural values has galvanised the drive to transform procurement from the ground up. The future of procurement will concentrate on ‘triple-bottom lines’, incorporating ‘people’, ‘planet’ and ‘profit’ into the same framework.

2. Entirely digitalised Procurement Processes

Even when procurement was wholly concerned with the bottom line, efficiency was key. ‘Time is money’ – you know the crack.

But time is foremost a resource; the foundation of all the rest – and so productivity and efficiency are crucial, thus growing concerns for procurement.

Simply put: the more that’s digital, the less wastage. 

The future is digital.

3. The Rise of Artificial Intelligence will redefine the function

At the upper echelons of digitalisation is AI. Our greatest procurement gripes are due to our shortcomings in prediction – predicting pandemics, predicting wars, economic collapses and the rest.

Advanced AI will be able to make predictions that we cannot even fathom. They are unknown, unknowns.
What is known is that AI will transform the very nature of procurement itself. Watch this space.

4. ESGs, D&I & Ethical Standards will take hold

Environmental, Social, (and Corporate) Governance, Diversity and Inclusion, Ethics – my, my, how far we’ve come since the days when we just wanted ‘to get stuff’.

Ethical value systems related to people and planet, now in their infancy, will subsume procurement entirely, and procurement itself will play a central role in ethical movements.

5. Procurement’s role will keep gaining traction

You’re sick of hearing it, but perk up your ears: ‘Pandemic’.

This single event brought about so many changes in the way the world itself is organised, let alone the procurement world (and they are intimately connected), that procurement went from a lowly background function to a board-room-level, I’m-here-to-save-your-life critical service, in the twinkling of an eye.

Procurement will inevitably continue to rise in its prestige.

6. Teleportation will revolutionise procurement forever

Ok. So this one’s a bit of a fantastical indulgence. For now. All science was once science-fiction. Take an iPhone back a mere century and the planet would bow at your feet in subservience.

We’ve already achieved teleportation in the quantum world, and perhaps it will be AI that helps us bridge the gap between the micro and macro.

Think Amazon ‘Time’, with “Right-Now Delivery”.


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