When it comes to successfully delivering digital transformation in the procurement function, the choices you make around technology provider or even technology platform are only secondary considerations.
Rather, the key factors are the ability to adapt your procurement processes to the chosen solution, and to ensure the budget is in place to support the wide-ranging change management that will be required.
These are the key warnings in PwC’s most recent Digital Procurement Survey, which also highlighted the fact that 79% of the 400+ procurement professionals from participating purchasing departments have among other benefits experienced important gains in business performance across the organisation through adopting digital procurement.
According to a report from Deloitte, the benefits to be gained are immense, from the ability to select suppliers that best match your own goals and the ability to procure higher-quality goods, through to risk-minimisation and a better focus on the most productive relationships.
But, PWC concludes, the benefits are greatest for those organisations “… where the solution is strongly taken up by users and its features are used in full.” This is true across all industries represented in the survey, including Manufacturing, Energy & Utilities, Automotive, Pharma, Retail & Distribution and Telecoms.
Leveraging the power of commitment
For us at Achilles, regardless of sector the major takeaway from the PwC report is that the single biggest driver of successful transformation is commitment – first and foremost among senior decision-makers, and subsequently at all levels of the user population.
We couldn’t agree more. The rewards to be gained from committing to process-adaptation, full implementation and a realistic budget are huge, all revolving around the new abilities digital procurement delivers. And these can be essential competitive collateral, including the streamlined access to new data and the easy organisation of unstructured datasets that in turn support stronger analysis, better supplier management, and more efficient operations.
As the Deloitte report succinctly puts it, digitalisation means “Strategic sourcing is becoming more predictive, transactional procurement is becoming more automated, and supplier relationship management is becoming more proactive.”
Strengthening the case for digitalisation
These advantages support the digitalisation priorities of all the industries featured in the PwC survey, which are headed by cost-reduction and followed by supplier sourcing and risk management. The pandemic has had a role to play here: as the report states, “50% of purchasing departments that have reconsidered their priorities following the Covid-19 crisis want to promote risk management and cost reduction within their organisation.” In our view, this further strengthens the case for digitalisation of the procurement function.
Anybody worried about the budgetary implications of transformation should be reassured by this statement from Deloitte: “For organisations looking to embrace digital solutions, the path has never been easier. Many of these emerging technologies work to enhance the value of legacy systems, involve minimal investment, have low requirements for integration, and have payback periods measured in weeks not months.”
But while Deloitte’s point is entirely valid, there is no doubt that many organisations find their route to digitisation complicated by several factors. According to Kearney, these can include a lack of clarity about the overarching goals of the transformation, the risk of effort being wastefully duplicated by different functions, a slow pace of change and poor technology partnerships.
Supply-chain strategies that work
And that’s where Achilles comes in. We’ve been a pivotal link between buyers and suppliers for over 30 years, giving us unique insights into developing and delivering supply-chain strategies that work. Today, we are highly skilled at helping buyers identify and precisely refine what they plan to achieve through digital transformation, bringing them insights that underpin the supply-chain resilience, cost-savings, and efficiency they’re looking for.
We can help you ensure through our industry-leading prequalification processes that your new and existing suppliers are fully compatible with your ambitions and technology platforms, capable of operating in line with your future development strategies.
Not only that, but we can also help to identify and onboard the technology partners whose offer and ways of working best fit your purchasing strategy, today and for the long term.
So, we can enable you to gain the best of all worlds: with our support, you can grasp those valuable benefits of digital transformation in the supply chain – quickly, safely, and cost-efficiently. We can simultaneously draw on our experience to help you reduce supply-chain risk, including that of supply-chain attacks. And critically, we can help with you to adapt your procurement processes and allocate your budget gain the maximum positive impact from transformation.