New challenges arise in line with changing customer expectations. How…
Why effective communication, automated processes, and unique skill set are critical during hectic times?
How to reform the core procurement operations and processes to collaborate correctly and become a future-ready organization?
In the last decade, the majority of medium to large companies started the digital transformation by implementing eProcurement solutions. The focus has been on automating the key Procurement processes such as contract management, order processing and invoice handling. These changes improve productivity, data visibility and reporting. Moving forward, there is still room for improved, more user-friendly solutions, such as enhanced compatibility with existing ERP systems and moving to even more automated processes to reduce manual work. Valuable future steps could include use of AI such as computerised benchmarking with market movements. Today’s Supplier Relationship Management approaches and systems also need to further evolve as well as match the quality of the typically far more mature Customer Relationship Management systems already in use today.
What does the future procurement leaders’ skill set include? Which skills appear to be crucial for realising business innovation and growth?
I believe that traditional procurement skills such as supplier relationship management will remain key competencies in the future. In addition, procurement leaders will need to develop stronger relationships with their business partners so they become an integral participant in making strategic cross-functional decisions. In-depth market knowledge including having a clear understanding of industry trends, regulatory changes and competitive intelligence combined with business acumen transforms procurement professionals into valued thought partners for business leadership. Curiosity and creativity are vital to advance innovation, while communication to relevant stakeholders is key to converting procurement’s insights and ideas into business benefits.
What are the best practices to attain effective communication and transparency between suppliers and businesses?
The current supply turbulence shows how critical effective communication between suppliers and businesses is and highlights the important role procurement plays in this context. One key element is regular and timely communication around forecasts, supply capabilities and lead time adjustments. Transparent and frequent exchanges – via formalized meetings, ad-hoc calls in the case of changes as well as update reports involving and informing the various stakeholders at the supplier and business level – have been crucial to mitigating impacts during the recent supply disruptions and Force Majeure situations. E-connectivity tools between suppliers and customers to share information and changes in real time further increases transparency and process efficiency.
By providing regular updates about anticipated price movements – not just actual price changes — and their respective drivers to business leaders, procurement assists the business with driving the respective actions including end-product pricing, cost control and competitiveness.
With regards to innovation, procurement can strongly contribute by “sourcing ideas” from their extensive supplier network. To efficiently do so, a culture with an innovation mind-set is needed in addition to ensuring that procurement is involved in the early phases of new developments.
Dagmar Laue works as Global Procurement Leader at DuPont, buying specialty raw materials for healthcare and industrial applications. Dagmar holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering and started her career in R&D. She then held several leadership roles in Technical, Product Management and Sales for a wide variety of Business Units within Dupont before joining the Procurement organization. Dagmar is passionate about innovation and cross-functional/cross-regional teamwork. She lives in Switzerland and enjoys outdoor activities such as skiing, windsurfing and hiking.