If the world around you seems to be changing at a breakneck speed, you’re not alone. The way we see it, the best approach right now is to stay positive, limit the time you spend on news websites and prepare for a better year ahead. As we know, the world of procurement and supply chain does not stay still, even during so-called normal times. From the ongoing impact of Brexit and COVID-19 to accelerated digital transformation, read on to discover our trend predictions in procurement and supply chain for 2021 and beyond.
The ongoing impact of Brexit - plus potential opportunities
Much of the post-Brexit coverage has focused on the negative impact on both the UK and EU business supply chains. But a number of high-profile industry figures have asserted that Brexit offers an opportunity for businesses to review their supply chains and turn them into a competitive advantage. The impact of the EU exit coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted businesses to reassess the relationship they have with their suppliers. When crises happen, we want to be surrounded by suppliers that are resilient, who can mitigate issues more effectively and who are better communicators and collaborators.
Over the next few years, we will be faced with significant regulatory changes and will need to adapt to new procedures and standards. Your sourcing team should already be considering new suppliers and locations and the additional support they will need. There are also likely to be a number of new roles and responsibilities that’ll need to be incorporated into your business. Make sure you are prepared and don’t miss out on the top talent if you need to recruit.
Digital transformation will become a necessity
If your business was reliant on paper-based processes you would have felt the extra pressure during the pandemic. AI technologies, automated reporting and cloud-based record-keeping should be on the near horizon for your business if you want to remain competitive and resilient. If you need to digitally transform your business, start considering what skillsets you need to make it happen, what IT infrastructure you need to put in place and what the associated risks are. If this sounds overwhelming, it needn’t be. Talk to us today about your skills requirements and we can point you in the right direction.
Procurement skillsets will change
A recent Gartner report revealed some significant skillsets missing in procurement professionals, particularly around digital and analytical skills. Businesses should ensure they have the right skills in their team to handle new technologies and ways of working such as machine learning, AI, process automation, scenario planning and data-based analysis. Professionals with these skills are already in high demand so it’s important to recruit accordingly or explore the possibilities of up-skilling your current team.
The pandemic also threw a spotlight on gaps in so-called soft skills that need addressing, such as relationship management and communication skills. As we mentioned before, when you are in a high-pressure situation you want to deal with people who can keep a cool head and demonstrate empathy and diplomacy.
Diversity will be central to businesses, in more ways than one
Diversifying your supply chain geographically was proven to be a vital method for ensuring business resilience during the pandemic and following the EU exit. Businesses just cannot risk logistical disruptions so making sure you’re business isn’t too reliant on a particular supply chain should be a priority for the year ahead.
Diversity continues to be important in both the people you employ and recruit, and the people that manage your supply chain - and rightly so. Supplier diversity should be an integral part of your business’ ethical standards. Furthermore, partnering with a diverse range of suppliers such as women-owned businesses makes your supply chain more resilient too. Your recruitment processes should encourage and celebrate diversity and inclusion at all times, as should your workplace policies and processes. Unsure of where to start? Read our blog on improving diversity in the workplace.
We hope these trend predictions in procurement and supply chain for 2021 have been interesting and useful. With so much changing in both the business environment and the world in general, it can feel overwhelming at times. Remember, we are all in the same boat and the best thing we can do is try to be creative and resourceful with what we have available to us and ask for help when we need it. Get in touch if you need support or advice on growing your team - or on how to control your news consumption. That’s one of the trickiest things to master, right now, after all!
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