Can robots take your procurement job?

Procurement Robots

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is here and, for the most part, it is a great innovation. Procurement chiefs have long lamented that their teams spend too much time on administrative tasks and not enough on “growth-enhancement” activities. Robots in Procurement can readily assume these mundane tasks thereby freeing up intellectual capital to drive growth and development. However, who is to say that this newly freed up time is utilised effectively?

What would you do with an extra ten minutes every day?

There are incorrect ways to complete automation in Procurement. The biggest pitfalls and frustrations for Procurement professionals include selecting and using incorrect tools; tools that are not user-friendly, possess heavy-handed security features and which (instead of reducing fraud) simply encourages employees to invent workarounds. That said, done right, automation in Procurement can result in big gains over time and at the bottom line.

The best-implemented RPA occur over time;  gradually taking over mundane tasks to free up time. Something as simple as automated email attachment downloads can help save at least ten minutes a day. This can lead an overall saving of almost an hour each week. However, unless Procurement professionals utilise that hour wisely, they risk being left behind in the digital revolution.

For Chief Procurement Officers, tackling the digital revolution involves the determination of a digital strategy which will enable their companies’ procurement processes to move in a direction where they can reap the benefits of automation. At an individual level, it is crucial for Procurement professionals to possess the awareness of how their daily activities are changing under the company’s digital strategy. Are you saving time? What are you doing with the saved time? Are you engaging in growth-enhancement activities with this time or are you simply filling the gained time with tasks that will be for automation in the future?

Growth-enhancement activities should include your personal growth.

One of most effective ways of capitalising on the time gained through automation of processes is by taking an inventory of your skills – and upskilling based on your findings. Using tools such as SkillsGAP Analysis allows you to audit yourself and bridge identified skill gaps through the undertaking of further training through the Academy of Procurement. In doing this, you not only build upon you present capability (which will allow you to better meet the needs and expectations of your current employer) but also sets you up to navigate the robotic future with greater ease and efficacy.

At the crux of the matter, it is paramount for Procurement professionals to demonstrate that they are spending their time wisely. Should they succeed in doing this, the response to the question, “Can robots take your procurement job?” is – undoubtedly – a resounding and definitive “no”.

Have a chat with us about how you can improve the performance of your Procurement staff through our training programs or our corporate E-learning.

For chalk and talk, see our open training calendar for a session, date, location and time that suits you.


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