Tag Archives: preparation

5 Top Tips For 2021 Procurement Planning – It’s Not What You Do, It’s How You Do It

How can a few tips in the short term fundamentally change not just your long-term plans, but the way you plan altogether? Our Senior Advisor Helen Mackenzie writes.


Are you starting to plan for 2021 and what the next phase could be for your category or your team? Are you pondering what the future might hold and how to prepare? 

Planning in time-horizon chunks, being in a “perpetual state of beta” and measuring your performance twice a week are just five of the ideas a group of senior US procurement leaders recommended for guiding your 2021 strategies at a recent Procurious Roundtable.

1. Time Horizon Chunks

Terence Mauri, founder of the Hack Future Lab urged us to think in time-horizon chunks.  “Think about what’s probable for your business, suppliers and supply chains in the few next years? What could be plausible in a decade’s time?  And then stretch that time horizon still further to envisage what could be possible in 20, 50 years’ time.”

2. Perpetual State of Beta

Mauri believes that our default mode of operation needs to be “a perpetual state of beta”.  Referring the 4-24 Project, a movement seeking to encourage a questioning mindset, Mauri issued a challenge, “What’s the bravest question you can ask right now?”  Could we start to prepare effectively for the post-Covid world by asking:

·  why are procurement processes complex not simple?

·  what do our stakeholders really need from us?

·  can we collaborate with our suppliers in a more effective way and build trust?

But being more disruptive in our thinking requires practical application on the ground.  And that’s where insight from Alex Saric, Ivalua’s Chief Marketing Officer at the Roundtable was invaluable.

3. Measure what Matters

 “If we measure what matters”, advised Saric “that means we won’t let near term pressure derail long term direction.”  He cited evidence from research undertaken by Ivalua and Forrester earlier in 2020 to prove his point:

The majority of high performing procurement organisations measure key performance indicators twice a week.

Not once a month, not quarterly, but bi-weekly.  And the reason is that those KPIs are used to measure success and – importantly – to course correct when targets linked to long term direction aren’t being achieved.  A great way to operate whether the pandemic is with us or not.

4. Strategic Not Tactical

And thinking about the way ahead, forward-thinking CPO Gareth Hughes from UK based Whistl, urged us to put the strategic, rather than the tactical, at the heart of our team structure.  Gareth’s version of the perpetual state of beta is to dispense with category management, and “do the procurement that the business needs”.

By deploying a team with commercial focus, a curious nature and fine-tuned stakeholder engagement skills.  Hughes urged CPOs to stay strategic, “Measurement needs to focus on commercial outcomes and increasing speed.”…

People remember you for the 80% of things you do well so make sure they’re the things that matter!

5. Promote and Measure Diversity

And keeping the focus on teams and people, our final speaker Naseem Malik, urged a focus on promoting and measuring diversity as a way to demonstrate procurement’s value post-covid.

Observing that procurement and supply chain continues to have the C-Suite’s full attention Malik urged CPOs to “Leverage your team’s supplier diversity expertise to help guide your organisation’s wider diversity efforts”.  And, of course, measure the impact.

So preparing and navigating through the post covid period may be more a question of how we do it, rather than what we do.  And whether it’s the quest for the perpetual state of beta, high performance or being more diverse, the key as always is to measure it and to measure what matters.

If you would like to find out more about Procurious Roundtables and the 2021 program email [email protected]

What Will The 4 Hot Topics In Procurement Be In 2030?

Look at your latest supplier contract. Does it specifically mention Zoom catch-ups? If not, why not? Sally Guyer from World Commerce & Contracting talks with Procurious about getting the most from suppliers and technology.

Have a look at your latest supplier contract. Does it specifically mention communication like regular Zoom catch-ups or phone calls? If not, you’re missing a trick.

Procurious Founder Tania Seary recently spoke with Sally Guyer, Global CEO of World Commerce & Contracting on getting the most out of supplier relationships and predictions about the future of procurement. 



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It’s been a wild year, but disruption isn’t unique to 2020. 

“I think it’s really interesting because there have been numerous supply chain upheavals inflicted by disaster in the last decade,” Sally says.

“You’ve got things like the volcanic eruption in Iceland, Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the Thailand floods, numerous hurricanes, not to mention the global financial crisis which also needs to sit on that list; yet we don’t seem to have learned very much,” Sally explains. 

“Most companies still found themselves totally unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic.”

After this crisis is over, companies will fall into two categories: those that don’t do anything and hope that a disruption like this never happens again, and those that map their supply networks.

Supply networks

You should know how your suppliers (and your suppliers’ suppliers) fit together, which is why mapping out your network is so useful.

Companies who already made the effort to document their network acted quickly when the pandemic spread. Other companies were floundering and reactive. 

“We know from our research that many organisations typically don’t see beyond the first tier of suppliers, or possibly tier two,” Sally says.

“If we ever doubted the importance of visibility, the pandemic has provided a dramatic example of why it’s absolutely essential to have insight into sources of supply.”

Sally is seeing leading organisations require suppliers to participate in supply chain mapping efforts as part of their contract.

And it serves an important part of rebuilding.

“[We’re] moving away from the linear and much more to a recognition that supply networks’ supply ecosystems are a huge number of organisations all interacting with one another where there needs to be fluidity amongst them all. 

“And that’s essential to accelerate and support recovery.”

Sustainable cashmere

Companies are also investing more heavily in technology to help them gain end-to-end visibility.

Blockchain technology is particularly noteworthy.

Sally gives the example of tracing Mongolian cashmere production. The country is famous for its luxurious fibres – producing nearly a fifth of the world’s raw cashmere

And even though cashmere is considered natural and sustainable, soaring consumer demand is fueling overgrazing and damaging the land. 

So Toronto-based Convergence.tech and the UN teamed up to create an app for Mongolian farmers, backed by blockchain technology. 

Now the UN is able to interact with over 70 different herders and eight cooperatives through a simple app.

Farmers use the Android app to register and tag their cashmere. Then their location is pinned on a map to allow for end-to-end tracking. The UN works with the farmers and other producers along the supply chain to improve sustainability.

“Farmers are willing to have their goods marked in return for training on better practises, and then open markets pay fair prices for truly sustainable and high-quality cashmere,” Sally explains.

“Everybody benefits. Everybody wins.”

Better contracts, better relationships

Another way technology is transforming the supplier/client relationship is through communication.

Sally advises all clients to include communication obligations in supplier contracts.  

“It comes down to simple things like if we want to do video conferencing does your organisation support Zoom or not, because if I do and you don’t then [that’s an issue],” Sally says.

It’s not rocket science. All good relationships hinge on good communication, says Sally.

“Fundamentally, partnerships are founded on robust and clear communication, and you know I always talk about professional relationships in the same context as I talk about personal relationships,” Sally says.

“If you don’t have clear communication with your friends, with your partner, with whomever is around you, then you are not going to have a very successful relationship.”

While you can’t provide for every eventuality in your contracts, you need a robust framework to support the relationship which means communication needs to be at the top of the agenda.

Predicting the future

The year is 2030. What are the hot topics in procurement? Here are Sally’s predictions:

1) Sustainability

“We’re still a long way from creating our sustainable planet and it has to be something that we all continue to champion,” Sally says.

“We need to be promoting best practises to reach the next level where we’re actually starting to give back. Not just to seek neutrality but actually give back.”

2) Social inclusion

“I can’t imagine that social inclusion wouldn’t be important in 2030,” Sally says. “Perhaps a scorecard of corporate performance on social inclusion and social value.”

3) Technology

“Numbers suggest we’re only using 30% of the data that we are producing,” Sally says. 

“And if organisations are genuinely on a journey of continuous improvement then they need to be using data and the likes of artificial intelligence natural language processing if they’re going to continue to advance.”

4) Integration

“We need to organise for integration,” Sally adds. “We need to break down the internal barriers that exist.

“We all operate in silos. We’ve got organisations who have a buy side and sell side and they have no idea what’s going on on either side of the organisation. So those companies are starting to look at how they create an integrated trading relationships function.”

Sally Guyer can be seen in our exclusive series The Future of Supply Chain Now.