2017 – What challenges do procurement face? - Procurement People
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2017 – What challenges do procurement face?

So another year has been and gone and what a year 2016 has been! Who would have sat here this time last year and predicted Donald Trump as the next US President, the UK voting to leave the EU and Leicester City as Premier League champions!! So what does 2017 hold? One thing for sure is the procurement function is becoming more strategic, more collaborative, and more technology-driven than ever before and is expecting a big year at the forefront of many businesses globally.

But what are the major challenges that Procurement is facing moving into 2017? I speak to hundreds of Procurement professionals of varying levels week by week from a range of industries and international locations. However, with my specialisation in the Procurement Consultancy market I have gained good insights from my candidates and clients alike into the challenges the organisations they are working with are facing.

Advanced Technology

As with most business functions new technology is at the forefront of innovation. Leading companies are already leveraging digital technologies to create an entirely new way of doing procurement. It is critical that if any procurement organisation is to be truly effective, they must challenge the existing technologies they use.  Using technology in the right way can solve some of procurement’s toughest challenges such as non-compliance or tail-spend management.  Many of our clients are developing highly sophisticated Spend Analytics tools which deliver deep insight into categories and suppliers enabling the ability to identify significant savings opportunities.

Getting Stakeholder Buy-In

Category Management experience is becoming more and more essential to many of our client’s requirements in their search for top talent. This is due to its increased popularity and priority rating in businesses, however, the effectiveness varies widely from organisation to organisation. The key cause of this which we come across daily is resistance to the procurement function from stakeholders, leading to a lack of alignment, engagement and collaboration across the business. To counter-act this it is imperative to understand stakeholder objectives and how they envisage Procurement within their strategy. How can Procurement better support their goals and align with their strategy?

Procurement Agility

The ability to respond to change and to minimise risk has always been an important aspect of procurement, yet it remains one of the biggest challenges amid increasingly rapid changes in industry, supply markets and customer behaviours. An agile organisation will proactively create a fluid organisational structure which is able to adapt quickly to resource requirements with minimal disruption and maximum efficiency. This is a key component against one of Procurement’s biggest challenges in 2017 which will require the people of the organisation to really drive through more adaptive strategies.

Recruiting Top talent

In an economic period of uncertainty prizing the best people talent away from other organisations has never been more difficult. Attracting the top talented professionals into Procurement who have the determination, enthusiasm and intelligence to succeed is certainly one of the major challenges in 2017. Another challenge is finding a reliable source to engage with this talent consistently to meet hiring needs as they arise. However, we can vouch for the fact that there are high quality recruitment firms still out there offering niche specialisms and bespoke services that really can provide the right level of service to deliver against your talent attraction needs.


These are just some of the many challenges faced by procurement professionals I speak to daily that will shape the future of procurement in 2017.


But what are the main challenges you have faced this year?


More importantly how have you tackled these issues?


Or what do you anticipate being your biggest obstacle moving into 2017?


By Adam Roughton