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Agree or Disagree: Digitalisation in procurement is more important now than ever.

7 December, 2020 | By Matthias Gutzmann

I AGREE:

It’s never too late – if you’re able to serve your customers right. Digitization accelerates speed, improves accuracy, reduces cost. But the key point is that – the world is evolving faster than ever, and so are the top companies.

Gaurav Baheti, Founder & CEO, Procol. Forbes Asia Under 30

It’s more important than ever, as digitalization will fix data visibility and compliance issues which traditional processes couldn’t address!

Pranav Mutalik, Buyer- Indirect products and services, Volvo Group

Oh absolutely, it streamlines processes, helps you work more efficiently and can give you better visibility of your business.  However, unless your data is clean has its COAT on, the benefits won’t be realised.

Susan Walsh, Founder, The Classification Guru

Agree. The “importance“ of Digitalisation in procurement should continue to grow every day in correlation to the growing technological speed that digitalisation is being enabled in different domains across the world. The importance is the procurement aligns with that pace or will get left behind as a weight on businesses. The world is changing, procurement shouldn’t be any different.

Hitesh Patel, Global Head of Analytics, Insights and AI, Accenture

The pandemic (through work from anywhere modes) is forcing procurement teams that are scattered to expand the prevalence of “Digital procurement” and its scope.

Vidya MacLeod, S2P Consultant, Corcentric

It is more important than ever before in any particular moment in time, not only now. This sentence would be true months ago and will be true in six months from now. The longer you wait with digitalisation, the more you have to do to catch up with your competitors. As long as you do not digitise, the gap between your cost will grow and make you less and less competitive.

Maciej Antczak, Supplier Enablement Lead, Carlsberg Shared Services

Fully agree, however, it’s important to digitalize consumer like, easy, stakeholder friendly processes that skip generations of prior poor processes that never really satisfied stakeholders of the procurement process. The reality is that many procurement processes became out of date and archaic 5-10 years ago and it’s important to implement digitalized processes that fit this decade or even century and take into consideration that processes that are interesting to procurement may very well not be interesting or relevant to the users of the procurement process.  I would further add that the “art of the possible” in digital procurement has advanced exponentially in just the last 2-3 years and these capabilities should be the “means” to the end…a better experience, more efficiency and greater effectiveness for all!

Keith Hausmann, Chief Revenue Officer, Globality

I agree. Digitalisation brings a lot in business visibility, process structuring, data traceability, information gathering, business intelligence support …. BUT it requires a clearly defined strategy and strong support from management and purchasing team. In a nutshell, digitalisation is worthy if procurement is on top of the CEO & CFO agenda !

Béatrice Lamourette, Co-founder, AXISCOPE

More important than ever and in need of transformation: 1) From automated to autonomous 2) From traditional and complex to circular and transparent supply chains 3) From “we’ve always done things this way” to challenging the status quo. It needs more than digitalisation. It needs re-skilling and upskilling, it needs a culture that embraces innovation, not just incremental but disruptive. It needs some serious transformation.

Shazia Hussenbux, Global Sustainable Sourcing Specialist, Oatly

Digitalization in procurement has always been important but it is accelerating a lot more now for the following reasons: 1) Need for speed (Agility) to manage disruptions and opportunities 2) Increasing Market volatility and spend complexity 3) Pandemic effect with virtual workforce 4) Recessionary environment requiring organizations to do more with less.

Rajesh Kalidindi, Founder & CEO, LevaData

It is now more important than ever because people cannot meet and not share info as simple as before Covid. You need to use platforms to enhance processes, keep process control, share data and maintain visibility while many are working from home whether that is buyer or supplier.

Pieter Kinds, CEO, Freightender

I SOMEWHAT AGREE:

If your processes are working well and do not cause re-work later in the process, YES – Procurement Digitisation is more important now than ever. However, it’s better to fix your process first before you overlay digital products – the digital products will not help with the issues created through a broken process.

Kees Bressers, Head of Procurement Shared Services, Spirit Energy

I’d like to agree because it’s my business. But in all honesty a lot of procurement functions are currently firefighting the effects of the pandemic and the reduced staffing levels. While digitalising procurement no doubt has potential to make processes, communication, collaboration etc more efficient, the jury is still out on the ROI especially of the big systems with their integration requirements. Before the digitisation procurement needs to ensure its processes are fit for purpose. They need to be robust, efficient and engineered to meet all the requirements of the organisation. Only then should digitisation be considered. I’m not sure most organisations are quite there yet.

Andrew Tanner-Smith, CEO, Supplier Strategies

Somewhat agree: Digitization is a means to an end. It’s more important than ever that Procurement delivers value beyond savings / impacts the triple bottom line. If digitization can enable this then be brave and go for it but if not don’t let it be a distraction for its own sake.

James Keetley, Procurement Leader & Co-Founder, Less Plastic CIC

A good question, difficult to be answered: a) agree – from a practical POV b) disagree from an intellectual PoV. If we (as a Procurement function or ecosystem) are still just considering to become digital, we are already lacking behind.

Prof. Dr. Karsten Machholz, Professor für Supply Chain Management & Strategie, FHWS

I think that isn’t always the case. Technology can disrupt businesses as well as processes. Which approach suites best depends on the situation! Let also new models and perspectives driven by technology inspire us to redesign procurement businesses and processes!

Niels van Bruggen, Digital Innovation Consultant, Menzis

I DISAGREE:

Disagree – ‘digitalisation’ is not a new phenomenon. It’s a constantly evolving piece. It’s important now. It was important 5 years ago. It was important 10 years ago. The role of procurement is to be constantly evolving as the technological landscape evolves. It’s no more or less important now than it ever has been

Josh Banks, Procurement Manager, Tesco

Disagree: I’d say it was more important 9 months ago than it is right now. Ease and speed at which we were required to access data to make decisions was paramount in a situation which was unfolding that was anything but business as usual.

Andrew Savage, GM Operational Excellence, MTN

It’s the same.

Tony Filippone, CPO, AXIS Capital

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