Social media makes it even easier to keep you finger on the pulse. But what topics are global procurement professionals discussing right now?
Procurement colleagues around the world are increasingly embracing social media to share their views, concerns, and (most importantly) their success stories. This sharing has the positive effect of broadcasting the value our function brings to any organisation.
As you know, social media runs rings around traditional media in terms of early access to news. We have access to unadulterated commentary from diverse sources, as well as an interactive forum for discussing, rather than just reading about, the biggest issues facing our profession.
From enduring topics such as risk management to disruptive events such as Brexit, this list will give you an idea of what’s keeping CPOs and their teams chatting on Procurious and other social media platforms.
1. Brexit and what it means for procurement
It takes a truly momentous event to catch the attention of procurement professionals all over the world. Brexit was one such event. It generated so many comments, articles and questions posted on social media, that it deserves top spot on this list.
ISM CEO Tom Derry told Procurious that his organisation received hundreds of queries about Brexit’s impact in the US. This prompted them to survey their members to cut through the speculation with hard facts.
Their supplemental “Brexit Report” found that despite the hype, Brexit will have a “negligible” impact on US business decisions in the short-term, with the main concern being currency fluctuations.
We’re still seeing a high level of chatter about Brexit and its potential impacts, but thanks to ISM’s leadership in this area, resulting business decisions in the US are more likely to be based on facts, not fear.
Other political events are also taking major prominence in conversations. However, we anticipate that Brexit will continue to hold everyone’s attention for many months to come.
2. Risk – Managing the unmanageable
Risk is one of those enduring topics in procurement that will never go away – and nor should it. Questions abound on the Procurious discussion board about measuring, managing and mitigating risk, all tapping into collective knowledge and experience.
The discussion board is simply buzzing with questions and answers about risk in procurement. We’ve had members getting their questions answered across a variety of topics, including:
- Balancing supply chain efficiency versus risk;
- Segmenting suppliers by risk profiles;
- Governance and risk management;
- Travel risk management;
- Risk and resilience;
- Avoiding “unknown” risks; and
- Risk-mitigation KPIs.
The disturbing frequency of disruptive events such as natural disasters, labour strikes, cyber crime and brand-damaging scandals in the supply chain keeps risk firmly in the spotlight for procurement professionals in the US and elsewhere.
3. The e-procurement debate
Choosing the right e-procurement system to support your business’ objectives and targets is a big decision. It’s for this reason that a lot of procurement professionals reach out to their colleagues online for advice on this very topic.
Discussion boards regularly feature recommendations, warnings and also (we’re sorry to say) complaints about the various options available.
Recommendations have focused on the importance of going with a cloud-based system. We’ve also seen debate on whether having multiple “best-of-breed” systems is preferable to the convenience of a single, unified solution.
Procurious members regularly share their challenges around implementation, struggling with overly-complex functionality and looking for advice on winning stakeholder buy-in.
The big systems developers are becoming increasingly aware of the discussion going on online, and are jostling for social media users’ attention to win their business.
4. Capability and training
Hard skills, soft skills, core skills, essential skills…the list goes on. Capability is another of those enduring topics that will always feature in social media discussion in our profession.
Again, the burgeoning choices around what kind of training is required, and how it will be delivered, leads many people to ask for recommendations on social media. There’s plenty of discussion around which certification provider to go with, and also a steadily rising level of interest in eLearning options for procurement.
One question that frequently crops up on Procurious is “What are the most important skills needed in Procurement?”.
This demonstrates that we’re still debating this question as a professional community, despite the training providers out there who claim they have the definitive skill-set. There’s no ‘right’ answer, of course, as capabilities will always need to be tailored to circumstance and industry. But the frequency of this discussion really highlights that the skills needed to be successful in Procurement are in a constant state of evolution.
5. Social procurement
Corporate social responsibility, and the role procurement can play in building a sustainable future, has well and truly entered the mainstream and is now a significant part of every procurement professional’s role.
Social media users are sharing articles and discussions on the many aspects of social procurement, including:
- Environmental sustainability;
- Diversity; and
- The role innovation can play in creating change in this area.
Social procurement is one of those topics that tend to be driven by champions such as Alis Sindbjerg-Hemmingsen. They quickly gain a following of like-minded people on social media, and come to be known as experts in their fields.
Hemmingsen is adamant that sustainable procurement is worth fighting for. She has argued passionately that it can be achieved through greater transparency to drive change, having regulators and first-movers showing the way with best-practice collaboration, and integrating sustainable supplier innovation.
Keep your finger on the pulse
Procurement leaders are using social media to stay ahead of the game when it comes to the latest thinking and development in the profession.
Perhaps the most exciting aspects of social media – which you can’t get from reading an article in a traditional industry publication – is the ability to ask a question and receive a solution from someone halfway across the country (or the world) who has experienced and overcome the same challenge as you.