By Shehryar Riaz - Consultant, Procurement 

The only certainty is uncertainty. Now, more than ever, countries, corporations, and individuals recognize that change is inevitable, and resistance is ill-advised. The realm of Procurement and Supply Management is no exception – a revolution is on the horizon.

Michael Page and Procurious joined forces to answer two vital questions: what will procurement look like in 2030, and how can procurement leaders prepare? In a four-part series accessible online, our research unearthed concerns and initiatives occupying global procurement executives’ minds.

Two themes dominate: technology and perception.

Technology’s growing heft across the very fabric of society is difficult to overestimate. Put simply, everything will be done differently in the future. 92% of Procurement executives surveyed thought this to be the case for their domain. The same leaders estimated that Artificial Intelligence’s viral growth will automate away 42% of Procurement activities. It is expected that widespread use of blockchain will make contract robustness redundant, to name one benefit. Unchained from monotonous, mechanical tasks, procurement professionals will morph into innovators.

The path to this grand ideal, however, remains unclear. Procurement’s persistent perception problem must disappear. No longer can Procurement be seen as a pure cost center, a facilitator, or, dare I say, a support function. Without disregard to seasoned leaders who have successfully rectified this perception already, much work remains to be done. Consider that wholly 75% of our sample consider senior management unable or unwilling to focus beyond cost savings, allow Procurement to operate as a profit-center, or some combination thereof. Such cultures cannot effectively nurture the Procurement Technologists of the future.

How, then, do corporations prepare?

For starters, a collaborative approach is required. Where Procurement may find itself misunderstood, the broader business deserves clearer communication of Procurement’s value proposition. Where Procurement staff may appear to loathe change, management must proactively cater to their needs to generate effective buy-in. Systems cannot be implemented as obstacles to getting things done, but carefully catered to users’ needs to subsequently earn their respect and appreciation. Speaking of systems, complete revamps ought to be prioritized over situational workarounds. Ethics and sustainability must match efficiency when considering the Source To Pay cycle.

Synergistically realizing these goals may seem a daunting task, but one common link emerges – having the right people in your team. In order to drive sustainable cost savings in a structurally uncertain market, there is a huge need for well-rounded candidates that truly understand what “total cost” means. And this is only a baseline. A necessary, but by no means sufficient, condition for proactive change will come from attracting and nurturing technologically adept candidates with a holistic grasp of your supply chain. And we’re here to help.

I specialize in the recruitment of Procurement professionals in the Middle East across all sectors and seniority levels. If you’d like to have a chat about hiring talent, exploring new challenges or better understanding the market, please reach out to me on [email protected] or Request a call back form here

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