Modern businesses are operating in uncertain times. A cursory look at the national or internal press will confirm that. As experts working in a fast-paced sector, procurement, operations and supply chain professionals are used to adapting to change. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t need to be prepared for it, or that we have fewer concerns than our counterparts in more predictable sectors.
In this article, we explore the challenges procurement, operations and supply chain professionals face in 2020 and beyond.
Ethical business is far more than a buzzword and a tokenistic page on a company’s Annual Report. Climate change, modern slavery, global inequalities and the impact of corruption and bribery have all taken their toll on the business world. Responsible businesses must show they are doing all they can to mitigate risks to themselves, their customers and their supply chain. They also need to consider their effect on wider society and ensure their activities do not impact society in a detrimental way. They must be transparent in their operations and approach.
Procurement and supply chain professionals must be aware of the risks that their sector could be exposed to. They must operate with a high level of transparency and be able to account for all internal and external activities throughout the supply chain. As many procurement companies manage complex networks of suppliers, this is not a simple task.
It is important that businesses aren’t tempted to take the easy route and ignore the ethical impact on their business. Operating in a transparent and ethical manner not only demonstrates a commitment to good practice and social responsibility, but it also helps mitigate risk to your operations and business reputation. In addition, both consumers and investors are increasingly keen to buy from companies with high ethical standards. Failure to demonstrate these values could be hugely detrimental to a company’s growth and prosperity.
Challenges to talent acquisition and retainment
Companies throughout the US are struggling to source and retain the right talent to support their operations. Technical and analytical skills are particularly in demand. In addition to these skills, businesses need individuals that have good experience leading teams. If companies are finding sourcing this talent a challenge, there are a few solutions available. The first route is to build internal talent by identifying colleagues who have the potential to grow into a role. Naturally, this requires time and resource that’s not always available. But if it is an option, it could pay dividends. Employees who feel nurtured may prove more loyal to the company over time. They also have a certain amount of knowledge of the company and clientele already. Due to the multi-faceted role of procurement and supply chain professionals, there may also be a natural path available for the individual to be trained whilst on the job by moving between different departments to gain experience and form alliances.
A second option is for the company to engage an external partner to help them source the right team to grow their business. This option enables the company to continue focusing on day-to-day operations whilst the most appropriate candidate is sourced and screened for both skills and cultural fit. The business then simply needs to select the right people for their current needs and prepare to welcome them. When pursuing this option it is always advisable to work with a specialist recruiter to ensure you get a candidate with exactly the right competencies to achieve the best result for your business - in both the long and short term.
If you’re looking for help finding the right procurement, operations and supply chain professionals for your business, talk to us today.
Adoption of bitcoin and blockchain
Technological advances bring significant benefits to business. They can also create a lot of challenges. Leading commentators in procurement, operations and supply chain are split in their opinion of the impact of bitcoin and blockchain on the sector. Some maintain that we are yet to see evidence of their capabilities, so long-term investment shouldn’t be a priority. Others believe that they could have a positive impact on the sector. The new technologies present a number of opportunities for transactional management including payments, invoicing and the distribution of contracts and other documentation. Alongside using blockchain technology to enhance payment processing, it could help streamline processes in warehousing and distribution. Also, blockchain has no central authority and is a highly secure, scalable and transparent system.
While Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are considered to be simpler and faster than traditional payment methods, the lack of legislation and centralized control, price volatility and potential negative impact on users is a challenge. There’s also still an issue with both merchant and consumer confidence. However, with the increased possibility that cryptocurrencies will be floated on the Nasdaq, and the fact that they are characterized by a transaction model and less likely to collapse makes them a development to keep a close eye on.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI’s impact on profitability and efficiencies in the procurement and supply chain should not be underestimated. Consider the benefits of adopting sensor tracking will help your business monitor the movements of raw materials and finished products. Or how about adopting chatbot technology to streamline sourcing processes?
When weighing up the pros and cons of integrating AI into your business, it is vital that you carefully consider what will really benefit it. You also need to think about how it will be implemented and deployed. There’s a likelihood you’ll need to engage professionals with new skill bases to help you manage such as AI specialists, buyers, marketing and salespeople with an understanding of emerging technologies, data scientists to manage big data sets, data analysts and data miners. You may also need IT specialists to manage new architectural systems and processes.
For some businesses, recruiting the right people for these roles can be a challenge, particularly in the highly competitive environment that we mentioned earlier. Bramwith has an unrivaled, highly-specialized pool of talent available. If you would like to speak to us about how we can help your business please contact Amit at email@example.com
The next decade will prove transformative in the procurement and supply chain sector. While we can’t predict the future we do know that it will be the companies that adapt to these new technologies and engage the teams required to manage them that will succeed.
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