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5 Procurement Lessons we learned in 2021

by | Nov 4, 2021 | Procurement and Contracting

2021 is turning out to be another tough year for a lot of organisations, but the silver lining of the challenges is that we have all learned new lessons to take into 2022 and beyond. What were the procurement lessons we’ve learned so far from 2021?
  1. Going local brings benefits
One of the key lessons was the benefits of moving to local suppliers. In a post-pandemic business landscape (if we can call it that yet), the shift to using local suppliers is becoming more popular. In the recent Procurious report, “What Next: The Great Procurement Reset”, 40% of respondents said they are shrinking their global supply chain to focus on local suppliers. The reasons for the shift are diverse – ranging from a desire to support local communities and secure jobs to improving service levels.
  1. It’s all about partnerships
If the last year has taught us anything, it’s the importance of supplier relationships. This has always been important, but the pandemic has given organisations a renewed appreciation that procurement and suppliers cannot exist without the other. In 2021, one in six organisations finances or funded key suppliers to ensure they didn’t go out of business, compared to one in eleven in 2020, according to Procurious.
  1. Consumers want organisations to behave sustainably
Consumers have moving steadily towards more conscious consumption for a decade, but the pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the trend. According to research by Mastercard, almost two-thirds (62%) of consumers say it is more important now than before that companies behave in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way. The top three issues they want companies and brands to focus on are reducing waste (37%), reducing air and water pollution (35%), and tackling the issue of plastic pollution in packaging and products (35%). New research from OpenText revealed that the pandemic has made consumers more mindful of the impact of their purchases: post-pandemic, 84 per cent of consumers plan to prioritise buying from companies that make it clear they have ethical sourcing strategies in place, compared with 73 per cent pre-pandemic. It’s not just about behaving sustainably, but also about being more transparent. Consumers are demanding greater openness from companies about their impact on the planet and people. More than half (58 per cent) of consumers believe that businesses that cannot monitor where their goods have come from and don’t know if suppliers are sourcing goods ethically need to rethink their supply chain.
  1. Stay connected with the whole supply chain
We’re not out of the woods yet – the pandemic is still creating unusual and unpredictable supply and demand issues. The only way procurement professionals can stay on top of these challenges and act in an agile way is to stay connected with what’s happening throughout the supply chain.
  1. Technology tools can make procurement easier and less risky
There’s no doubt that companies have digitized their operations far quicker than they would have otherwise. With employees across Australia forced to work from home, companies have had no choice but to adopt new tools and apps to keep the lines of communication open. For procurement, this has presented an opportunity. Technology is being recognised for its ability to automate processes, mitigate risk, and even anticipate disruption. Advanced procurement solutions offer a single source of truth by integrating data from the organisation and suppliers into one transparent view, enabling procurement teams to find new and alternate suppliers for better-negotiated contracts and pricing, or get more value from supplier contracts. This technology can also help create the transparent supply chain that consumers are demanding to ensure it operates ethically at every stage. For procurement professionals, this means learning about the tools and systems available and how they could be used to bring value to the organisation and its procurement function. We can’t predict what 2022 is going to bring for procurement but applying lessons from the last two years of pandemic disruption will ensure procurement professionals can go into it with their best foot forward. What lessons are you carrying into 2022? Let us know in the comments below.  
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