How is procurement trending in 2017?

 Drawing to illustrate the purchasing trend in 2017
March 21th, 2017
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Agilebuyer* and X-Achats** have published the latest edition of their annual survey entitled "Top priorities for procurement departments in 2017 – or how suppliers are managed in 2017". After reviewing the sector in 2016, the time has come to discover the new trends sweeping through the procurement community.

Priority number one: reduce procurement costs

Driving down costs continues to be respondents' top priority, irrespective of the sector of activity (whether public or private). This trend has been climbing since 2013 and confirms that cost control underlies procurement strategies.

Diagram in the form of a yes or no answer on cost reduction as the primary objective of purchases in 2017.

Several short and long-term solutions are available for achieving this objective, with negotiation, sharing/globalisation and change of suppliers topping the list.

Diagram presenting figures as a percentage of preferences on methods of reducing purchasing costs in 2017.
The survey links cost reduction to two other trends that go hand-in-hand:

  • Streamlining of the supply chain: 54% of procurement divisions claim that this is one of their main objectives.
  • Management of supplier risks (logistics, financial, quality, etc.): 75% state that they will implement risk mitigation goals during the year.

Reducing the panel of suppliers may help to lower costs, but it also increases supplier-related risks! This interdependent triangle is the tricky equation that procurement professionals need to resolve.

The other procurement trends

Other objectives are also taking shape for 2017, but remain in the minority:

  • Only 16% of respondents are focusing on French-made products and services this year, with twice as many public sector companies pursuing this strategy than private sector organisations.
  • For 63% of respondents, purchases in low-cost countries are not a priority, which confirms a trend that has been growing over the last three years.
  • Nearly half of the respondents did not increase the market share granted to start-ups and micro-businesses last year.
  • 64% claim that their department has one or more people specifically responsible for promoting digital transformation in an effort to improve process performance.
  • 47% of companies will set objectives for CSR (corporate social responsibility) and sustainable development.

The survey offers a clear insight into the future procurement trends and confirms the direction in which the market has been heading in recent years. See you in January 2018 for the next edition of the information-packed survey by Agilebuyer/X-Achats!


*procurement consultancy

**association of Ecole Polytechnique alumni