Frustration to transformation: The future of procurement

By Market Dojo
Marketdojo's new rules of procurement engagement.
Explore the new breed of procurement professionals challenging outdated norms and paving the way for change through embracing future initiatives and tech

The old rules are dead and a new breed of procurement professionals is rising. A new generation of digital natives with an expectation of consumerised business technology, actionable insights and decision ready data. When combined with the old guard’s growing frustrations for influence and smarter ways of working, we are seeing the emergence of a new paradigm of change-makers.

These procurement change-makers will not stand for outdated ways of working, paper-based systems, fragmented data, unmanaged risk and legacy ‘one size fits all’ technology. The old rules are dead.

Change is inevitable and these change-makers are on a mission to rapidly evolve the once undervalued procurement team of yesterday from a fragmented, reactive back-office function to a collaborative, strategic, high-profile enterprise resource for tomorrow.

The future of procurement strategy

But what will tomorrow look like? Market Dojo asked procurement thought leaders and practitioners from global powerhouses to tech wizards to share their thoughts on what will drive procurement strategy in the future. Their predictions fall into four areas:

  • Protect the planet
  • Leverage AI & automation
  • Disruptive innovation
  • Expedite digital transformation 

Protect the planet

In light of the latest United Nations Climate Report, it’s evident that there is a pressing need to intensify efforts in advancing the ESG agenda. Failing to do so will result in significant shortfalls in achieving targets, not only for businesses but also for nations and the planet as a whole.

For procurement this means sourcing alternative products that meet ESG goals, for example finding local suppliers to reduce carbon footprint.

Caroline-Patricia Huberdeau, Global Procurement Strategist, says: “In the future, we will lose some raw materials so we have to find a way of replacing this kind of product to protect our planet. We have to find a way of using our resources in a better way and check how we can recycle them to not affect our environment. So, I think there will be a lot of innovation regarding sustainable products.” 

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To get ahead of the curve, organisations should proactively integrate ESG goals into their supplier onboarding processes, ensuring that sustainability criteria are embedded from the very beginning of supplier partnerships. 

Leverage AI and automation

AI and automation can be used to improve supply chain efficiency by automating repetitive tasks, streamlining established processes, and deconstructing supply chains to identify areas where efficiencies can be made. 

Also, by drawing inferences from data, AI can help to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO), identify cost-saving opportunities, improve forecasting, measure supplier compliance, and reduce risk.

These are just a few examples, as AI continues to develop procurement can expect to see even more innovative ways in which it is being used.

“I think automation is going to have a huge role to play in procurement strategy moving forward. Once you’ve identified all the different processes within your strategy and the people to drive those forward, you can then look at the technology in terms of how you can automate as much of that as possible and make it as ‘light touch’ as possible from the procurement function point of view.” Nick Drewe, Procurement Tech COO.

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Disruptive innovation

Procurement can learn from the world of disruptive innovation and move away from big-ticket, incumbent solutions available to only large procurement departments to best-of-breed, agile solutions.

The new generation of CPOs need to lead the way in determining which technologies to adopt and which processes to focus on.
“People will use technology that is intuitive, that’s easy to get into, whether they switch on their machine or flick on the app. So, in a world where procurement teams might be focused on one or two elements, best-of-breed undoubtedly is going to be in a position of strength.” Richard Nixon, Management & Tech Consultant.

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Expedite digital transformation

To keep progressing, and in some cases, make up lost ground, on their digital transformation journey, procurement leaders must learn from the last few years’ turmoil and be proactive to avoid future supply chain risks. 

“If we’ve learned anything in the last three years, it’s that we have to be open to change and that requires companies to ‘double down’ on embracing their technological journey, the transformational journey — meaning that they continue to look at what are the best solutions in the marketplace.” Canda Rozier, Experienced CPO & Procurement Evangelist

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Embracing best-of-breed solutions enables smart-thinking around how to integrate seamlessly between systems and departments, including the shift for procurement to embrace Finance and the Accounts Payable landscape, evolving from a Procure-to-Pay (P2P) digital model to Source-to-Pay (S2P).

Preparing for tomorrow

The future of procurement rests on the answer to one question. Will you continue to follow the old rules or is it time to join the movement and embrace the new rules of procurement engagement?

To learn more about the New Rules and join analysts, procurement practitioners and industry thought leaders as they grapple with a world of constant change to share their insights and actionable strategies, visit marketdojo.com/new-rules

About Market Dojo

Market Dojo’s on-demand strategic sourcing software and exemplary customer support, rapidly evolve procurement from a reactive back office function to a proactive strategic resource. Built by procurement for procurement, our agile, best-of-breed solutions are easy to implement, intuitive, deliver immediate value and are accessibly priced.

Trusted by the world’s biggest brands, we help procurement teams of all sizes to focus on value creation, supplier relationships and strategic influence rather than traditional inefficient sourcing and supplier management processes. We streamline, digitise and automate to provide centralised data and powerful insights to mitigate risk, control cost and drive smarter, faster decisions.

  • Monetary payment was received by Market Dojo for this article, which has passed Editorial's standards for being of interest
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