As 2020 comes to a close, let’s take a moment to reflect on the year that changed everything and prepare for what comes next.
Close your eyes. Breathe in… breathe out. And again: Breathe in, breathe out.
The chaos of 2020 is nearly over.
Back in February, we knew that COVID-19 would represent a watershed moment for procurement and supply chain professionals everywhere. But little did we know just how severe and lasting the impact would be. Our own research found that 97% of the world’s supply chains were disrupted. Fast-forward nine months, and procurement and supply chain management has changed forever, and so has our world.
2020 was, simply put, difficult, stressful and disruptive. Everything we did and experienced was in the backdrop of a global pandemic – which affected how we think and interact, to how much we work and see our friends and family. But amidst the craziness, the pandemic also created new opportunities for our profession to shine, make a difference and get the recognition we deserve. And we delivered, in a big way.
Regardless of how you are feeling right now, there’s no turning back. The new year is around the corner. As 2021 approaches, what matters is how we adapt, move forward and chart our next course.
Unfortunately, and despite our best hopes, the first half of next year likely promises more of the same stress. But if we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s that we are remarkably resilient, capable and in many cases, supernormal. We have everything we need to thrive and rise above the challenges, regardless of what is thrown our way.
Procurement Reflections on 2020: Super Heroes and Change Makers
While it’s easy to harp on the chaos of 2020, we prefer to think positive – and you should too. Consider all that we accomplished. In less than a year, our profession:
- Overcame the biggest supply chain disruption this world has ever seen
- Kept supply lines for critical goods and services operational
- Used our influence to make a big mark on sustainability, diversity and social issues
- Supported our supplier and small business partners, often during their hardest hours
- Stepped up to lead and strategically contribute amidst crisis
- Digitised and modernised the way we operate and collaborate
- Helped our colleagues make connections and find new jobs
- Played an essential role in helping our organisations navigate the financial crisis
We also experienced a crash course in supply chain risk. We got knocked down, picked ourselves up and made seismic changes to the way we think, plan and operate. In the process, we created a more secure, reliable and sustainable supply chain than ever before.
As a profession, we should be proud. Sure, we have battle scars, but those scars make us stronger and prepare us to tackle whatever is thrown our way. That’s key – because 2021 promises to be another watershed year. Along with the ongoing financial crisis, many procurement and supply chain leaders will be tasked with protecting and accelerating the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain – and all the supporting elements that come with it. For those that play a role, whether big or small, it will be one of the most important initiatives they ever take on. Thankfully, after the year we have just experienced, we can be confident that our profession is ready and prepared.
Your New Year’s Resolution: Gratitude and Reflection
If you’re like me, there’s a million things you want to do next year. There are goals to set and plans to make. Everything can and should be made better in 2021.
Instead of obsessing about all the things you want next, give thanks for what you have right now. Be proud of what you have accomplished. Celebrate with all those who helped you along the way.
I’ll go first. I am profoundly grateful and appreciative of our entire community. Thank you for reading and contributing. Thank you for sharing your strategies and experiences. Thank you for lifting each other up and lending a helping hand to your peers in need. Our community was all-in in 2020 – and we helped thousands of people and companies along the way. For that, I am both grateful and amazed.
Now it’s your turn. We have another big year ahead of us. But before we get caught up in it, let’s take the break we deserve. Let’s reflect on all the good we have done. Let’s spend more time with friends and family. Let’s celebrate our successes.
And let’s remember to breathe. In and out. Over and over again.