What does the future look like for procurement?

January 7th, 2020
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Last November, Manutan organised its fourth annual Customer Event on the topic: "The future of purchasing is now!". Leading the event's main symposium was Pierre-Olivier Brial, Managing Director of the Manutan Group, who prompted purchasing departments to think about digital transformation and the role it will play in relation to procurement.

The world is changing, and so is procurement!

Digital transformation is now a reality, demonstrated by booming quantities of data, as well as fact that nearly 60% of the world is now connected to the Internet. In this age of technological revolution, companies must reinvent their business model to remain competitive.

Procurement departments are well placed to support businesses through these changes as they are in contact with a wide network of people, including suppliers and each individual company department.

Procurement departments will need to create value

Until now, procurement departments have faced two major challenges: finance and risk management. However, with the emergence of new technologies, these aspects of the buyer's role (saving money, identifying supplier risks etc.) will become increasingly automated.

With this in mind, and in order to support companies through changes in their business models, procurement departments will soon need to rethink their role and purpose. They will need to concentrate on creating value by focusing on four key priorities:

  • Promoting agility across their organisation to implement new strategies extremely quickly
  • Making financial gains (and more than just savings) by identifying new opportunities
  • Creating innovation, drawing on suppliers in particular
  • Contributing to non-financial ratings by integrating CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) criteria within their procurement strategy

In practical terms, this will mean a fundamental shift in the role of the buyer. Buyers will have to work differently with their suppliers, not only negotiating with them, but also becoming their preferred client in order to develop successful partnerships. This could also mean relying on a circular economy, with buyers rethinking the life cycle of their products rather than simply purchasing them.

In order to adapt to these changes, procurement departments will have to both manage and work together with complex ecosystems. To do this, three skills will be more crucial than ever: critical thinking, creativity and excellent interpersonal skills. Armed with these tools, the future of procurement is as bright as it is exciting!

  • To find out more about the future of procurement, take a look at the presentation video or visit the dedicated web page for the Manutan Customer Event 2019

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