Our first session of the excelerateds2p Global Procurement Summit 2022 focuses on procurement transformation in a Covid-19 world. Joining Joe Bellofiore, General Manager APAC at excelerateds2p on this panel discussion are special guests: Chirag Gidwani, Regional Sales Director at SAP and Richard Austin, General Manager at Mutual Marketplace.
The panel share their insights and experiences on implementing procurement transformation projects, both before, during and since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Chirag and Richard also discuss some of the common challenges and expand on ways of working, the impact of the pandemic on suppliers, and what some of their top priorities are for 2022.
We’ve rounded up the key takeaways from the session, however you can watch the full episode on demand here.
1. Use technology to stay agile
When the pandemic first hit, many organisations realised they did not have the agility they needed to quickly pivot their ways of working. Chirag explains “It created an initial crunch point on specific demand for IT equipment… everyone was working at home, but no one had printers or scanners, so documents could not get signed.” He continues “e-signatures were somewhat off-limits at the time, so new legislation had to be brought in to allow for it”.
The right technology and equipment will help your business stay agile and productive at short notice
2. Invest in Cloud-based technology
Cloud-based technology also plays a major role in tackling any short or long-term disruption. Richard discusses how Mutual Marketplace operates in “a fully cloud-based environment” that allows for expansion and growth as the business evolves. Chirag also adds that “cloud-based products have many advantages that early adopters have already benefitted from”.
Early adoption of cloud-based technology gives you the tools to work and collaborate remotely and successfully navigate disruption
3. Leverage different technology platforms
Following the technology theme, Richard says that through technology “a lot of good change happened which was forced by the pandemic”. One of the keys to this is being open to change and leveraging different platforms, including cloud-based. He continues, “By using the SAP platform we had implemented previously, it meant that when the pandemic hit, it did not change the way that we were interacting with our customers or the way we were communicating with suppliers”.
Different technology platforms can give you the upper hand and help you move forward quickly and easily
4. Transformation through remote deployment
One of the keys to a successful procurement transformation process via remote deployment is engagement with both customers and internal stakeholders through every phase. Richard says that “our customers understood the insights, the benefit, and the value that it was going to add to them”. Chirag agrees, adding “key stakeholder engagement is critical at this stage as it is one of the biggest hurdles to drive digital transformation in procurement”.
Breaking down a remote transformation journey into smaller phases over time is easier than trying to complete the project in one go
5. Mitigate supply chain challenges
To mitigate the current global supply chain issues, Richard says businesses are becoming more proactive in their procurement, “They are recognising that, while they might not have a specific need now, they are anticipating a need in six to 12 months based on growth, so are ordering ahead of time”. Chirag continues, “As a supplier, we can co-innovate a lot better when we have a strategic mutual understanding with our procurement counterparts. Supplier management is the most important part of procurement because it cuts across all the key objectives.”
To mitigate supply chain challenges, work with your suppliers as a partner to plan and help mitigate risk
6. Use data to collaborate with suppliers
Joe looks deeper into the buyer/supplier relationship saying, “All the different elements [of supply chains] are underpinned by a fast, real-time sharing of data between buyers and suppliers”. Chirag agrees, commenting, “businesses have real-time data to help make real-time choices and pivot extremely quickly”, adding, “procurement teams need that data to deliver what the business needs”.
Use data to make informed decisions on how to manage a supplier relationship and forecast demand to achieve supply chain continuity
7. Integrate your systems for the future
Once your transformation journey is complete, integration into any existing systems is crucial. As Chirag explains “Integration between other human experiences and ERP platforms is vital and having that integrated view of all your data, will help your organisation make decisions quicker and more confidently”. As Richard says, “It is one thing to have a great tool that you can leverage, but unless you breathe life into it, it defeats the point.”
Full integration between all your platforms will add value and enable your business to evolve