Sourcing, Procurement & Supply
In addition to end-to-end process thinking with “Source to Pay” global process initiatives, there is considerable focus on procurement transformation to speed the process up, drive down barriers, reduce complexity and deliver more value. Agile Procurement methodologies are being developed, to separate high complexity/low agility requirements from those requiring low complexity/high agility, enabling greater automation focus on the latter and expert focus on the former.
Supply and Supplier risk management is taking centre stage, especially in businesses affected by BREXIT implications, as organizations focus on minimising external disruption of any kind. Supplier risk management helps assess and plan for smooth operations independent of the vagaries of individual suppliers, or even whole supply chains. Even changing weather patterns are the subject of supply risk management, both from volatility in consumer demand and at the source of supply.
Controlling spend and reducing fraud remain on the agenda, with considerable effort focussed on better visibility into suppliers behaviour, suppliers sources, reducing maverick spend and driving contract and PO compliance.
Technology is helping deepen supplier relationships, although many transformation programs are foundering on strategy and process issues, having assumed the technologies would drive the outcomes. Chatbots are seeing a rich seam of value as a ‘customer service aid’ to answer those often simple queries that can take up a large part of procurement effort. However, “buyer beware” (no pun intended) in that a Chatbot is purely a user interface. Access to, and availability of, the right data to address the questions is often the core issue.