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To stay ahead, you must stay informed. We can all predict the impact technologies and different delivery models will have in the future, but in reality, we do not have a crystal ball to know when these changes will happen. So how can we move away from simply safeguarding against the future and towards actively embracing new trends and delivery models?
These could be product innovations that change the goods and services the organisation sells or delivery model innovations, such as those that impact the way people work and how procurement teams buy things. There are a number of questions that should be asked: How are buying outcomes, rather than time and materials, going to change what you buy? Does it change the access to what you thought was possible? Does an on-demand delivery model change the value you can gain from a marketplace?
But, when looking to the future it is important to remember past lessons. When discussing options to outsource roles or activities, for instance, there are usually two types of responses. One would be a person saying, “No one can outsource my job or do what I do better than me”. The other would be another person saying “What can I do to facilitate this because this is in the best interest of the company. It makes us more efficient, and helps me and my colleagues focus on more value-added activities”.
Where we stood back with outsourcing opportunities is not too dissimilar to where we are right now with technology. You can fear these innovative delivery models and try to not let them impact you and your role, or you can embrace these changes and consider how to take advantage of them. Procurement professionals should be looking at the ways their team’s role is developing and use these changes to make the function’s value proposition stronger.
Constant evolution can be scary but the only thing we know is that we are going to be affected either way. You can ignore it or you can try to understand and embrace it.
Once you start to model what the future will look like, you can start to see what skillsets will be necessary, giving an idea of where to focus your growth and development, both personally and for your team.
When I started out in procurement 17 years ago, the focus was around category management and strategic sourcing. I believed if I knew the basics and how to read markets, I could move from one category to another. While this was a good strategy at the time, the real value from a sourcing and category management perspective is in expertise and market knowledge. There will be people who will be able to bring that together, the programme managers, but there will be far fewer procurement generalists.
Going forward, you could be an expert in a specific area and sell that niche expertise to clients based on the value you create rather than the time that you work. To me that is where the future of sourcing category management expertise is going; the connection between subject matter experts and companies who only need their services now and then.
It will be interesting to see if more people embrace specialisation and if they take the risk.
Taken from a full article by executive search firm Sourcing Solved, read here
Philip Ideson is co-founder and MD of Palambridge, a virtual platform of procurement experts, technology, and intelligence created to provide a broad range of solutions on-demand
This contributed article has been written by a guest writer at the invitation of Procurement Leaders. Procurement Leaders received no payment directly connected with the publishing of this content.