A Detailed View on the Procurement Industry
By Saandeep V Dandekarr, Executive VP, Netmagic Solutions
Let me attempt starting this write up by stating one of the significant professional hazards in a little lighter vein! It’s a fact that during the routine life every person, to some extent or other procures and therefore, feels not just that he or she fully understands procurement, but many even, firmly believe that they are better than most when it comes to ‘buying’. So, flying a plane where every passenger seated in the cabin feels not just that he is an ace pilot but almost certainly better than the one in the cockpit right now, is not a task easy to handle. With this opening, I am sure of having brought out grins and smiles on the generally stressed faces of all CPOs reading this!
Parking the lighter vein an aside now, I would say that Procurement as a profession in the last decade, expanded in its span & expectations of boardrooms. It has undergone such a tremendous change & evolution that it stands almost reconstructed. Today, it has to be a differentiator – it has to be a significant, a sustained part of strength-mix of an organization basis which, it keeps on outperforming its competition in the unforgiving battle field of marketplace. Procurement function has to achieve and sustain an optimal trade-off in the paradoxes of demands like staying robust and compliant yet agile, nimble & flexible at the same time – ensuring that it does not become a team of systems & process slaves but while ensuring to stay 100% all time compliant, remains a team of livewire all time energized professionals who ensure to guard operations against any slips / misses, potential risks.
Use of technology and tools today tend to be levellers and equalizers across all boundaries making it more difficult for the procurement professionals on every next day, to continue being a strength enhancing differentiator for organizations.
The KRAs KPIs keep evolving; they keep changing with time and from organization to organization basis their business domain and business philosophies. Extra miles of today become expectations from tomorrow. There is a constraint of practicality on reducing buying prices, and beyond that even the landed cost. So, then came an outlook of Total Cost of Ownership and Cost Over Lifecycle which also are in case of thought leader and matured procurement organizations almost stand fully utilized and assimilated now. This transcended the outlook from price and cost to value chain and value enhancement. This opened several newer opportunity horizons to add value and further, thanks to the technology and digitalization that the landscape continues to offer more to ones who can stretch themselves early and more. CPOs who move early, move decisively and brisk to adapt to the new procurement landscape will clearly make key contributionto enhancing and sustaining the competitive edge of their organizations in the time imminent ahead.
“Procurement as a profession in the last decade, expanded in its span & expectations of boardrooms”
One of the prominent emerging primary and significant effects that I see coming is the strong need for a close and strong well-constructed partnership relationship with suppliers because once industry 4.0 is implemented, all partners of the supply-chain and value chain will be so deeply inter-linked and inter-connected that it will become far more difficult to change supplier as a quick decision or a swift response to any situation. Hence choosing and pre-qualifying the right suppliers upfront will become so much more vital than it is seen today. To be able to sustain this, CPOs need to take it upon themselves and well in time, to start driving awareness about this within the organization in all horizontal and vertical chains of stake holders and decision makers. Any delays or lacklustre lapses of time can catch the entire operations on wrong foot.
With the changing environment of increasing visibility, virtually socializing technologies a lot of newer dimensions will enter in to procurement domain considerations. It will become one of the most visible functions and team of people from the organization. So, their know-how about appropriate behaviours - etiquette - caution, dos and don’ts during such interactions and almost un-curtained visibility become very vital. It will become so, for various reasons such as guarding of business information which will become far more sensitive area needing a vigilant guarding, or like procurement team members with such an increased transparent interface with the world - be it virtual or physical, becoming vital brand ambassadors of organizations.
The challenge of retaining specifically those team members, to develop and elevate whom a lot of effort and investment has been put in, would gather larger proportion and more dimensions. Introducing ways to well institutionalize the acquired knowledge and gathered useful and usable information, compliance trails etc. to retain it within the organization even if member of procurement team moves on, need to be looked at with more importance keeping in view the tide of times ahead.
Headquartered in India, Netmagic has been working as a managed hosting and cloud service provider optimising the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) environments of its clients since 1998.