Procurement Priorities – The Ever Changing World Of Procurement

by Adam Roughton

As our team here at Procurement People continues to grow and evolve, as one of the more, shall we say ‘senior’ members of our team at Procurement People I am tasked with training our new starters on the wonderful world of procurement! 

Having worked solely within the procurement market for the past 10 years now I have seen huge changes within the world of procurement from when I first started in the area. As such, over the years I have had to continually adapt and refine our training materials. I have typically found these to be fairly gradual developments and changes, however, very recently I have felt that the industry is really embarking on a bit of a milestone.

A critical part of my role is to keep up to date with market trends via articles and online content and talking with people in the market all day every day. When I started with Procurement People in 2009 my view based on the market research and knowledge I had was that the primary focus of most procurement professionals and companies was cost cutting. And whilst there has been talk of procurement shifting to more of a focus on overall value add over the years, cost cutting has always seemed, in my opinion, to remain top of most people’s agendas.

However, recent research has shown that cost cutting as a priority has halved over the last 3 years, a massive shift as companies seek to become more strategic and less transactional. Procurement Leaders I speak with are seeking to change the internal view of procurement within their organisations from a blocker to an enabler. There seems to be added focus on things like risk management, improving supplier performance and more effective spend analysis.

So why the sudden shift?

Brexit no doubt will be a factor as I am sure AI and Technology is. Change is usually met with scepticism, however, for me this is an exciting time. Procurement is becoming more and more valued and recognised by the wider organisation. This is evident from the increasing number of companies we have calling us who are looking to restructure or indeed set up a procurement function/strategy from scratch.  
As such, I am keen to get the thoughts of my network on the subject. What are your priorities when it comes to procurement? As a procurement professional how has your outlook changed over the years? Or has it not changed? Are you excited for the future of procurement?

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