As the world’s fastest-growing procurement and supply chain event, Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE 2023 was a disruptive learning and networking event that showcased some of the industry’s top speakers across innovation, thought leadership and strategy.
The Digital Procurement Forum
First panel of the event, and taking to the stage at Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE 2023, talking digital procurement we had:
- Nicholas Wright, Director of Procurement Innovation (Digital & Talent) at bp
- Sheldon Mydat, Founder & CEO of Suppeco
- Waleed AlSaeedi, Director of Supply Chain Management at Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority
- Dirk Karl, Group Executive and Chief Procurement Officer at MTN Group
During the panel, the four executives deep-dived into various aspects of digital procurement and its impact on the wide processes.
“Digital procurement can fundamentally change the nature of procurement and what we do with the function, especially in efficiency and effectiveness. But also providing your procurement teams with additional space and time to do the deep thinking, the partnerships, and the data analysis. It provides the bandwidth and the thinking time to achieve bigger results than just pushing out spreadsheets or running RFPs,” explained Wright.
Facilitating company-wide relationships
Sheldon Mydat also emphasised that procurement should be a facilitator of company-wide relationships. He recommended organisations create relationship infrastructure and break them down into different categories, aligning the procurement function with the needs of the business.
And for me, procurement is a facilitator of a relationship. They let contracts in the old world, they would have liked contracts, would have been very spent, focused, etc. and we know all of that stuff about procurement having to learn and upskill and that whole conversation is true. But essentially they are the facilitators of a company-wide relationship.
“What we do as an organisation is create a relationship infrastructure that breaks the entire end-to-end relationship ship down into different areas. We call it four pillars [...] It naturally complements that engagement and you are actively encouraged on the platform to engage through our services to give feedback and contribute to the wider business,” added Mydat.
"We need to work with our stakeholders, with IT, with the project owners, with the suppliers, understanding the market, understanding the real needs of the organisation,” said al-Saadi.
Shared insights and AI in procurement
Reflecting on the role of procurement in the digital age AlSaeedi shared insights on how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can enhance data accuracy and decision-making. He stressed the importance of enabling end users to access goods and services easier through digital solutions.
The need for cultural change
Despite the many positives of digital procurement, it is important to not forget the challenges of this approach. There continues to be a need for cultural and organisational change in order to align procurement with digital transformation. The four encourage cross-functional teams, agility, and collaborative processes with business stakeholders.
Digital disruption is much more than the implementation of new tools—it requires a fundamental shift in how procurement is conducted and how insights are utilised.
“It needs to be easy to use and it needs to be incorporated in our culture, in procurement, in the organisation as well as in supply chain in order to be used right,” said Karl.
To watch any of our other speakers from Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE 2023, click here.
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