Technology, collaboration and setting priorities were key talking points at Procurement Leaders Americas Congress 17.
Speaker Alex Tapscott, CEO of Northwest Passage Ventures and co-author of Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World, told delegates that the world was entering a second era of the internet based around blockchain technology.
For businesses and procurement, blockchain technology opens up the potential for greater transparency into supply chains by acting as a fraud detection system. The technology can overlay big data from closed sources, like insurers and law enforcers, and track goods from the source to store.
Tapscott also said that it offers cost savings opportunities because it allows many steps in the finance process to be compressed, making transactions between suppliers and buyers more efficient.
“No more record, process or digital payment messages,” he said.
Procurement executives from Google, Uber and Twitter all took to the stage to talk about how they to talk about what it is like working in some of the world’s most disruptive organisations and how it is essential for them to prioritise their work.
David Natoff, head of procure to pay at Google, said that when a business grows at a rapid pace, the pressure is really ramped up on procurement and there needs to be an acceptance that the function will never be able to tackle all projects it wants to.
As a result, procurement has to prioritise its efforts and make sure that it is closely aligned with the goals of stakeholders across the business.
Ermal Shehu, senior director of finance - global procurement at Cott Beverages, said that global uncertainty made it more important for procurement and finance to collaborate in order to mitigate risk.
Shehu explained that while priorities of the two functions may differ, there are parallels and those should be aligned more to bridge the gap that has existed between them. He said that one way to do this was for some finance executives to report directly into the CPO rather than the CFO.
While the world may be changing, procurement has to change with it or it will get left behind. New technologies and thinking a little differently could help it get there.
This article is a piece of independent writing by a member of Procurement Leaders’ content team.