The last year or so has made us nothing if not more resilient. This quality was always evident in ambitious procurement and supply chain professionals but we’ve definitely been tested since the pandemic took hold. Life goes on and we must all prepare for new ways of working, an acceleration towards digital transformation and perhaps even more upheaval.
If this all sounds a bit overwhelming, it needn’t be. There’s some hard work ahead but we are all far better off if we’re prepared. This short article explores some of the biggest challenges facing procurement and supply chain and what we can do to ready ourselves for them.
Become more sustainable
The climate crisis is accelerating at a truly alarming rate and sustainability in procurement and supply chain should be a key priority for all businesses and business leaders. This includes addressing the following:
Reducing environmental impact and promoting sustainability can feel like a big challenge. If you need some extra guidance take a look at our tips for improving sustainable procurement and supply chain practices.
Becoming more resilient
Every business has had to become more resilient in the last year or so. Maintaining and building on this approach will help business leaders ensure they continue to evolve and succeed as the world adapts to a new normal. If you’re feeling beaten down by recent events, don’t worry you are by no means alone! But as the saying goes, from crisis comes opportunity so gather your energy and take some time to reflect on the last year and review your current processes.
The procurement sector has played a vital role in supporting both people and business during the pandemic and this is a great opportunity to capitalise on those successes and show the world what we are made of. Perhaps there are elements of your supply chain process of strategy that could be improved. Maybe you need to diversify suppliers or support your existing ones more effectively. Whatever you decide to improve upon or change, make sure your activities and plans truly reflect how the world is now, not necessarily how you want it to be.
Review your risk management strategy
Risks to procurement and supply chain have changed considerably since the pandemic and your risk management activities and tools should reflect this. If you haven’t already undertaken a review of your supply chain now is the time to do so. In normal times, this should be 100% auditable but now the reasons for air-tight risk analyses are clear. This is not to say you simply stop using suppliers that are struggling, just that you must try to ensure you keep lines of communication open. Where possible, give suppliers the opportunity to improve their own processes or service delivery before giving notice and address any concerns about financial instability, especially with high-spend suppliers, as soon as possible.
We mentioned bribery and corruption earlier in the context of sustainability. This needs to be monitored closely as part of your risk management strategy. Deal with any issues swiftly and get legal support if you feel out of your depth.
Promoting diversity and inclusion
Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace is every business leader’s responsibility. Alongside the fact that is - quite simply - the right thing to do, diversity also helps businesses succeed and flourish. Plus, more and more Millenial candidates are seeking out companies that wear their diversity credentials proudly. This is another complex subject and it’s understandable for businesses to be unsure of how to get started or how to make sure they are on the right track. If you need more information, take a look at our blog on how to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
The move towards digital transformation has been significantly accelerated as a result of the pandemic. This is likely to mean increasing your knowledge about, and investment in, cloud-based technologies, data visualisation and automation tools. You will also need to consider whether your business and people have the skillsets needed to fully embrace digitalisation. Securing the top talent in big data, automation, and robotics is becoming increasingly difficult. If you want to find out more about upskilling or digitally transforming your team, contact us today. We’re procurement and supply chain experts and we can help.
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