Procurement Trends for 2019

Posted on 18th March 2019

As we near the end of the first quarter of 2019, we thought we’d take a look at the main developments which are emerging as real trends to watch out for this year in the ever-evolving world of procurement. Are these developments having an impact in your organisation yet? Join the discussion on our Twitter or LinkedIn page.

1.      Supply chain visibility

Increased visibility is something procurement professionals inherently crave. The fact that there is now more and more high quality data available to businesses, along with the significant technological advances (which we’ll touch on later in this article) that are being made, means that procurement professionals are in the strongest position they’ve ever occupied to achieve optimum visibility throughout the supply chain.

Emerging technologies, IoT, VR and AR among them, are providing insightful analytics and rich data on which businesses can base their financial forecasting and marketing strategies. Decision making becomes far more strategic when this data is fed in to the process, while processes and supply chain management enjoy far greater clarity. There is still much progress to be made, but developments to date have certainly had a positive impact in all sorts of ways already, from streamlining logistics to enhancing customer relationships and retention, all of which contributes to efficiency or profitability.

2.       Supply chain digitalisation

As with pretty much every industry and sector, the creep of digital technology in procurement and supply chain management is irresistible. Digital assistants have taken up residence in almost 25% of UK homes, according to YouGov’s Smart Homes 2018 Report, and the use of AI applications is growing in operational procurement as well to improve efficiency in purchase order and invoice processing. An increasing number of forward-thinking businesses considering the introduction of digital assistants to support or automate the completion of various tasks.

The Forrester Research Global Business Technographics® Data And Analytics Survey, 2018 reports that 60% of enterprise organisations and more than half mid-market organisations surveyed are prioritising the digitalisation of their procurement and supply chain management. Now that we have easy access to the Cloud, 5G, AI and the IoT, it’s never been more straightforward or fast (often real time) for companies to effectively use their data and analyse procurement efficiencies.

The future use of technology looks even more exciting as its potential is further unleashed through embedded use and greater understanding of what benefits it can bring. The hope is that businesses will be empowered to operate more nimbly and dynamically, with robust supply chains and, ultimately, happier customers.

3.      Artificial Intelligence and automation

Growth in artificial intelligence, automation and machine learning has accelerated rapidly over the last few years, transforming many working practices and bringing a multitude of benefits for supply chain management and procurement teams. The most obvious and unsurprising benefit is perhaps the huge time and cost efficiencies which can be achieved by using AI to complete a process previously carried out by an employee, enabling businesses to deploy their people in more challenging and fulfilling roles. Rather than making people redundant, when used creatively, AI can open up development opportunities for team members previously confined to process-driven work.

During 2019, there is no doubt that AI, automation and machine learning will continue to permeate procurement and bring enhancements to transactional supply chain processes. Procurement professionals are very much awake to these technological developments, as shown in various industry surveys which have been conducted over the last year or so. The Key Issues Study, (The Hackett Group, 2018) reports that 95% of Chief Procurement Officers believe digital transformation will fundamentally change the way services are delivered over the next three to five years, while only 46% believe they have the resources to handle digital transformation. Clearly an opportunity exists to provide solutions.

Atamis is a leading UK provider of Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) and Spend Analysis solutions, enabling clients to manage procurement processes, reduce supply-side risk and make cost savings. Atamis provides a modular solution to everything from planning and e-sourcing through to the management of contracts and key supplier relationships. It stands out for its flexibility and ability to adapt to either the most simple or complex of procedural requirements. It is highly adaptable to client needs. For more information, visit https://www.atamis.co.uk/.

 

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