The consulting firm AgileBuyer recently published the 9th edition of its annual study "Tendances et priorités des Départements Achats*" (trends and priorities of procurement departments), in partnership with the CNA (French national procurement council). The study provides a good overview of trends and priorities for 2019, and expands on certain key areas such as the positioning of procurement, digital transformation and skills.
Occasional imbalances in customer-supplier relationships
54% of respondents reported unbalanced and unfavourable relationships with some of their suppliers. Issues included increases in prices, delayed delivery times or even disruptions in supply. Software companies and suppliers of raw materials were the most affected.
Objective no. 1: Cost reduction
Cost reduction remains the primary objective for 75% of purchasing departments. The most popular methods to reduce costs are negotiating with suppliers, tweaking specifications, pooling purchases, changing supplier and analysing the total acquisition cost.
Although cost reduction is primarily a concern for the private sector, it is the public sector that has seen an eight-point increase in comparison to the previous year.
Supplier risk management — a priority
75% of procurement departments are focusing on managing supplier risks in relation to Corporate Social Responsibility, whether these are of a legal, financial, operational, health- or quality-related nature. This figure has remained stable for the past four years.
"Made in France" purchases are gaining ground
53% of procurement departments consider whether products are Made in France when selecting their supplier. This figure increased by eight points, compared to the previous year. In contrast, purchases from low-cost countries are becoming less and less of a focus for procurement departments.
The profession's position is gradually changing
57% of procurement departments are represented on their company's Management Committee or Executive Committee. This figure increased by two points in comparison to the previous year. In addition, the increase in the coverage rate for purchases remains an objective for over half of the respondents.
CSR and purchasing decisions are not yet unanimous
Only 46% of procurement departments consider sustainable development or CSR when making purchases. However, this trend varies depending on the nature of the company. For example, it is an objective for 67% of procurement departments in the public sector. In addition, large private sector companies, with 5000 employees or more, seem to be the most concerned.
These findings only provide an initial insight into current procurement trends.
*Survey of 692 procurement professionals from 19 to 30 November, 2018