What will 2030 look like for procurement?

Part 4 - Makeover
Future procurement
December 18th, 2018
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Michael Page and Procurious unveil the fourth and final part of their study into the digital transformation of procurement. Having discussed the prospects of digital procurement, the preparation required and the new skills that procurement professionals need in the age of digital transformation, this last part focuses more specifically on what the future holds for procurement. In particular, it will discuss the tasks involved, the perception of the profession and the skills required.

Procurement in 2030: Rethinking the tasks

In the first part of the study, the 600 procurement professionals who took part in the survey felt that 42% of their tasks could be automated using new technologies.

This would allow them more time to concentrate on other tasks with higher added value. In particular, they identified three main tasks:

  • Increasing the influence of procurement within the organisation by better aligning their strategy with that of the company and improving their communications with the various stakeholders
  • Developing teams and talents to adapt to the new requirements of their job
  • Looking for new opportunities to contribute to the company's growth through creative thinking and process review

Other lower-priority but equally strategic tasks were also mentioned, such as the management of supplier relationships, sustainable procurement, supplier innovation and data analysis.

The tasks of procurement professionals will therefore be more focused on strategy, relationships and adding value. 73% of respondents thought that relationships with their strategic suppliers  would be more personal and human than they are today.

Procurement in 2030: Re-imagining the role

The role that procurement departments play has changed considerably in recent years, shifting from a focus on administrative tasks to becoming a value-adding partner — and this trend is growing.

For this reason, almost a third of respondents believed that the term "procurement" would no longer accurately describe the sector in 2030. There are many proposals for alternative names: value creation or optimisation, relationship or partnership management, commercial improvement etc. The need to adapt the title to reflect the new role is a topic of particular interest for chief procurement officers.

Besides the change of title, it is also crucial to improve the various stakeholders' perceptions of procurement and to raise awareness of the value and benefits that procurement can offer.

Procurement in 2030: Adapting skills

In addition to the changes in the role, the job market may become saturated in the future. 41% of respondents thought that there would be fewer jobs in procurement and logistics within ten years. This vision of the future is largely due to the arrival of new technologies, which, as we have seen previously, would replace humans for tasks with lower added value.

New roles are already emerging, such as chief analytics officer and chief automation officer. Professionals are aware that they need to develop and/or strengthen certain skills in order to adapt to new and future procurement roles. According to the survey respondents, the three key skills are:

  • Critical thinking and problem solving (48%)
  • Building relationships (42.2%)
  • Leadership (40.7%)

Other skills are also essential, such as communication, creativity, innovation, influence etc.

Overall, if you want to progress in your career in the age of digital transformation, Michael Page and Procurious have three guiding principles: continuous learning, taking an open-minded approach, and keeping up to date on your company's strategic changes and priorities.