The role and contribution by procurement to the business is changing rather rapidly. The reasons are many and the change has accelerated because of evolving mega-trend convergence that surrounds various industry and services focused supply chains.
Customers are more technology empowered, more demanding, and less tolerant of sub-standard service. Consumers question the integrity, quality and value of food at much higher levels. They further demand transparency to the food supply chain.
The clock speed of business change has accelerated in seven by twenty-four dimensions. Industry supply chains can no longer sit back and react to business, market and external changes they must be able to anticipate and respond to constant change or unplanned disruptions. As more than one Chief Supply Chain Officer has stated, speed rules, fast wins, and predictability and customer responsiveness is fundamental.
New market opportunities that reside in emerging economies across the globe bring added challenges and complexity in developing and maturing a direct and indirect supplier ecosystem. To cite just one example, the recent incidents of global based restaurant chains having a China based supplier allegedly changing product expiration labeling of food products has subsequently impacted profitability and tarnished highly visible iconic restaurant brands. Unplanned major supply chain disruption caused by more frequent natural disasters and other geo-political or risk events add to the challenge of business continuity and responsiveness.
A new wave of converging technologies has the potential to provide extraordinary new benefits for businesses. The era of predictive analytics focused software applications will help change decision-making emphasis toward being more predictive and prescriptive. Cloud, mobile and big-data technologies are already making their mark in fostering new business models, higher levels of customer services and more sophisticated procurement capabilities. The Internet of Things and digitally-based manufacturing platforms will add even more implications, and the vision of integrating physical and digital aspects of the global supply chain are in reach.
However, the benefits of e-sourcing and advanced technology can be negated without leveraged use of such technologies on the part of trained and experienced procurement and supply chain professionals. Recent surveys reflect that procurement teams are being asked to focus on enabling benefits beyond tactical cost savings and more into contributing to strategic business value. This includes fostering deeper collaboration with suppliers on product and service innovation, engaging with lines-of-business, cross-functional supply chain and product management teams in a deeper understanding of end-customer needs and/or market opportunities.
This leads to the current most challenging aspect of today’s industry supply chain environments, talent management. Recruitment, retention and increased skill needs for required talent is consistently identified as a challenge among C-level, business, IT, supply chain and procurement teams. Individual procurement professionals need to invest and be vested in their own individual as well as team skills.
At the upcoming Intesource Innovation Best Practices in Sourcing Conference being held in March 2015 in Las Vegas, I will be speaking about these converging forces along with the implications for procurement and service industries.
The presentation will address:
- How senior industry executives view needs in business-wide decision-making, and what expectations they have for supply chain and procurement capabilities.
- The converging trends and forces related to changed industry environments, Omni-channel and online commerce, the Third IT Platform, Internet of Things and digitally enabled production and services.
- The new era of planning augmented by predictive analytics and the new levers of information management with some select examples.
- What you should know as procurement and supply chain professionals in terms of individual and team skills readiness.
- Important strategies to consider and practice along with key takeaways.
Looking forward to meeting and discussing these topics with the extended Intesource community.
About the Author and Presenter
Bob Ferrari, Managing Director, The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group LLC
Bob is a highly visible supply chain thought leader, industry analyst, consultant, writer, speaker and noted global-wide blogger who provides a practical and thought provoking perspective for global supply chain support of business process needs. Bob was recently cited as one of the top 25 social media influencers in supply chain.
His professional background includes multiple years of multi-functional supply chain management experience in roles within high tech and other industries that include planning, operations, fulfillment, information systems and customer service areas.
His experience further includes executive leadership, customer assessment, project management, consulting and systems implementation roles in supply chain technology marketing and industry consulting with both mid-market and enterprise technology vendors including SAP AG and Oracle Corporation.
Bob’s background features two different supply chain research leadership roles at top tier Industry Analyst firms including IDC and AMR Research.
Bob holds CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional), CPIM (Certified in Production and Inventory Management) certifications, is a longstanding member of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), and the Association for Operations Management (APICS) where he served three years as a member of the CSCP certification exam review committee. He has been a prior board member for the MIT Forum for Supply Chain Innovation.
Bob’s formal education includes an MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Northeastern University.
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