Procurement professionals are typically focused on two things: ensuring the delivery of goods and services, and keeping costs as low as possible. While these responsibilities will certainly not be fading any time soon, there will be a call for these teams to fill other roles within the company. Procurement teams have the opportunity to become strategic, adaptable professionals with a whole new set of skills in their toolbox. These are some of the procurement skills that will be most valuable in the coming years.
- Holistically Manage Risk
While procurement officers are already heavily involved in predicting, managing, and mitigating risk, the approach to procurement risk management is shifting. Procurement teams now need to view compliance as a more holistic focus, managing total risk exposure, risk mitigation investments, and risk transfer pricing. Risk management needs to expand throughout the organization with governance structures ensuring that every department is completely on board. A company’s agreements will likely need to be reexamined and potentially redrafted to reduce the overall exposure to risk, in addition to ensuring the way these contracts are managed is secure. A procurement officer’s view of risk must become all-inclusive as the business world becomes digitized and faster-moving.
Related: What Does a Procurement Officer Do?
- Enhance Sustainability
Where procurement was once focused primarily on simply managing cost, procurement officers now need to create sustainable supply chains. Sustainability for supply looks like stable suppliers with consistent, steady business. Continuous use and reuse are important not only for cost savings but for business and economic benefit. The transition from simply consumption to a more circular economy will enhance business relationships between companies, promote growth for the overall corporate entity, and bring a sustainable pattern of procurement that can be carried into the future.
- Improve Supplier Relationships
An integral part of establishing a sustainable supply chain is improving the relationships a company has with its suppliers. Procurement professionals are already engaged in establishing and maintaining supplier relations, but the extended relationships and trust will become more critical with sustainable procurement. Continuous, good relationships increase the chances of good deals and quality while decreasing supply chain risk.
- Involve New Technology
With so many companies transitioning to digital workflows, procurement officials need to have updated technology in order to perform their job effectively. Such technology will include risk management software, contract lifecycle management platforms, spend analytics, report generators, and many others. Being familiar with this technology will streamline the procurement process, improve collaboration between departments and other companies, and result in more efficient and effective procurement strategies.
- Lead in Innovation
While procurement officers will not be called upon to develop new technology, they should be aware of the developments in engineering, design, and product. They will want to be aware of what the best products are on the market. Understanding what new technology is of most use to the company—then procuring that technology—will help procurement professionals’ company to develop new innovations and compete in the market today.