Uncertainty is the New Certainty

All procurement teams need to ask themselves a question: are we getting any better at responding to disruptive events?

Over the past decades, we’ve had plenty of practice. Climate change is intensifying weather events all over the globe, leading to more devastating bushfires, tsunamis, floods and droughts. In the background, political tensions have ricocheted from region to region, and since March 2019 the COVID pandemic has created its own problems while exacerbating others.

At a glance, surveys suggest organisations are better at dealing with disruptive events, with around half reporting more effective responses to COVID-19 than to the 2008-09 financial crisis. Dig a little deeper, however, and more than a third say the improvement was only marginal, while 16% saw no improvement at all.

Why is this? It’s not a matter of ignorance; we know how to make our procurement function and supply chains more resilient – cutting-edge AI and machine learning, as well as the development of crucial soft and hard skills. The problem lies in the implementation.

ProcureTrak gives you deep visibility

We all acknowledge that the future of procurement strategy is data driven (if it isn’t already). Like all things in life, however, it’s easier said than done. Data for a single purchase order is often spread across an organisation, with some parts in the procure-to-pay system, others in the finance system, and yet more in the CRM system. With powerful software like ProcureTrak, these siloes of information can be coalesced onto a single platform and into a single narrative.

With Comprara, though, it’s not just about the software; it’s also about the guidance. Our expert team of consultants will be with you through every stage of implementation, from spend analysis, categorisation and opportunity analysis through to contract and purchase order compliance and the development of project charters.

All of these core facets of the procurement function can be executed to the highest standards with the right AI, machine learning and expert guidance.

Predict the disruption

A big part of responding effectively to disruptions is pre-empting them. While it’s not possible to predict where the next natural disaster might strike, political disputes and trade tensions are always heralded on some form of media throughout the world.

We can help you implement AI that continually scans the internet for any signs or warnings of disruptions in places relevant to you. For instance, programs can be written to search for any items that reference a port that a vendor of yours uses, along with keywords such as ‘union’ and ‘dispute’.

When a potential issue gets flagged, you have time to switch suppliers and avoid a costly delay that has the potential to echo right through your supply chain.

Identify the gaps

Digitisation and a remote workforce have created a demand for new skillsets. 83% of respondents to an Ivalua survey believe that better digital skills would have helped them navigate COVID-19 more effectively. At the same time, McKinsey has identified a sharp increase in the need for soft skills, such as leadership, critical thinking, decision making and project management skills.

In other words, the current climate is demanding more of procurement officers than ever before, and many organisations are finding significant skills gaps that need closing.

The team at Skills Gap Analysis have deep experience and expertise at uncovering capability gaps. Our assessments cover all competencies within the procurement, contract management and supply chain arenas. They can be applied to individuals or teams and tailored to the specific needs of your organisation.

Close the gaps

Closing these gaps takes more than PowerPoint slides and out-of-the-box modules. You need training programs built on real-world scenarios and character chores with interactive simulations and deep, relevant analysis. At Academy of Procurement, we use short, sharp training to efficiently close the gaps and then develop a longer-term syllabus customised to the individual and their career path.

Training programs need to be effective at developing capabilities (too many aren’t), and they also need to motivate and give the participant a sense of direction, a sense that their career is benefiting. It takes time to be a professional, to become truly capable, and training programs need to be stimulating and engaging so trainees stick with them.

Turn uncertainty into opportunity

Responding more effectively to disruptive events requires a deep level of capability across all facets of the procurement function. Not only do you need cutting edge AI and machine learning to cleanse and sort the data, you also the need the skills that allow you to see the opportunities and bring all stakeholders together.

At Comprara, we can guide you through the entire process, from the implementation of transformative procurement platforms through to the development of core capabilities. The environment in which we all have to operate may be full of uncertainty, but there’s no doubting what needs to be done. Get in touch with the team today.