The world of procurement is changing like never before! Why? All thanks to the increasing application of technology. There are robots, which are equipped with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, and can take on a number of repetitive tasks.
Well, we don’t need to go to the level of robotics that may still take some time to become a normal. There is a massive degree of change in the procurement functions in terms of new technological tools that intend to eliminate human intervention in routine processes. Does that sound threatening to procurement professionals? Yes, to a great extent.
At the same time, there is an opportunity amidst all the disruption. First off, the procurement function now stands a chance to contribute more in terms of strategic decision making. Until now, the procurement function is treated as a non-strategic function, a cost center which does not make much of difference to company’s business. That’s no longer applicable.
When technology takes away the routine tasks from you, you should take that as a golden opportunity to move in the direction which adds much more value to an organization. Definitely, that’s what business leaders expect from procurement functions. Procurement professionals now need to think more in terms of adding value to their organizations’ business.
For that matter, it is widely observed nowadays that the corporate boards now increasingly want their professionals to contribute to brand building. They want to add to their brand equity and no matter what level a person works at, there is always a room for everyone to contribute his or her efforts to presenting his employer brand in a positive manner.
It may be through building positive relations with external suppliers, consultants, vendors and agencies. However, the challenge for procurement leaders could be to polish each of their team members to think in this direction. Training and development is nevertheless going to be the core requirement here.
Procurement professionals also need to upgrade their technical and soft skills in order to keep pace with the changing environment. The usage of technology is not going to go down anyway. With time, more and more jobs will be automated and that is a reality! Instead of ignoring the unavoidable, what rather matters is to take on the challenges in stride and harness the opportunities presented by the change.
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Author – Aval Sethi, Founder