Celebrating International Procurement Day

25th April marks the first International Procurement Day, celebrating procurement's vital role in shaping cutting edge organisational strategy

The day, which debuted in 2024 was created Procurement Tactics, an online Procurement educator, covering topics from Negotiations, AI and ChatGPT, Sustainable Procurement, and more.

Procurement is vital across both value and supply chains, as companies see it as a way to drive efficiency, sustainability, and innovation.

From the sourcing of raw materials to managing supplier relationships, procurement professionals are the unsung heroes behind the seamless functioning of supply chains.

The changing landscape

Right now, procurement is being reshaped by organisations transforming their sustainability pledges. Johnson & Johnson have taken sustained, long-term action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across their operation and are now encouraging suppliers to do the same. The company is also involved in Energise, a first-of-its-kind initiative that endeavours to help decarbonise the global pharmaceutical supply chain.

There is also the continuing rise of AI, with companies exploring how to harness this new technology to improve themselves.

Companies like SAP, who announced it will help businesses find supply chain solutions with its AI advancements to make better decisions, streamline development, and improve efficiency. The global leader in enterprise applications and business AI has announced advancements in its AI supply chain solutions that will unleash a transformative wave of productivity, efficiency and precision in manufacturing.

Key Contributions of Procurement

The contributions of procurement professionals extend far beyond cost savings. They are instrumental in:

  • Mitigating supply chain risks and disruptions
  • Driving innovation through strategic partnerships and supplier collaboration
  • Championing sustainability initiatives to promote ethical sourcing and environmental stewardship
  • Ensuring compliance with regulations and ethical standards
  • Challenges Faced by Procurement.

The professional shaping the landscape

Procurement professionals encounter a myriad of challenges in today's dynamic business landscape.

From navigating global supply chain disruptions to balancing cost reduction with quality and sustainability goals, they must adapt to changing market conditions while upholding organisational objectives.

Additionally, the rise of digital transformation and emerging technologies presents both opportunities and complexities for procurement professionals to navigate.

Take Amanda Davies, Chief R&D, Procurement and Sustainability Officer at Mars Wrigley, who says we need to be “fanatical” about addressing climate change issues, prioritising performance over ambition.

“We are the first generation of leaders who can’t say we didn’t know about climate change, and the last generation who can act before it’s too late,” she explains.

‘Performance not Promises’ at Mars Procurement

“Procurement at Mars isn't just about sourcing. By working to embed sustainability into every part of our operations and engaging in strategic partnerships, we're helping lead the charge towards a more sustainable future.”

There's also Chief Procurement Officer for Unilever, Willem Uijen, who when asked how important is sustainability when it comes to procurement decisions, said: “Sustainability – in terms of people and planet – is integral to the decisions we make on who we work with and what we buy. "Let’s say we find that a partner isn’t complying with our policies – and the standards we expect – we will first work with them to try and find a solution. But if we can’t, we will end the relationship and find a better, as well as competitive, partner to work with. Another element is about innovating to improve our value chain. For example, our commitment to be net zero by 2039 requires innovation between us and our partners. We need to find new ways of sourcing and alternative materials to achieve that objective.”

Willem Uijen

What comes next?

As we look to the future, procurement will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping the global business landscape.

Embracing digital transformation, harnessing the power of data analytics, and fostering strategic supplier relationships will be paramount for procurement professionals seeking to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Moreover, promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within supply chains will be instrumental in fostering resilience and driving long-term value creation.

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