The UK economy could get a £100bn boost to productivity if businesses were more willing to embrace everyday technology such as cloud computing and online procurement. However, digitising the procurement process goes deeper than online to boost productivity, finds research from Confederation of British Industry (CBI) highlights.In the digital business landscape, supply chain and procurement departments are reassessing their skill sets to become more data-driven and improve business performance. Procurement teams are under ever-mounting pressure to reduce cost, maximise efficiency and enhance profit margins while ensuring the organisation is being supported by reliable and trustworthy suppliers.
Supply chain and procurement are becoming more involved in executive level decision making, shifting from a cost centre mentality towards being recognised as a strategic part of business operations. Machine learning and predictive analytics are breaking new ground for procurement to enrich, transform and analyse internal and external data sources, creating insights to improve performance.
Farida Gibbs, CEO of professional services firm Gibbs Hybrid comments: “Predictive analytics are being used to transform five key procurement areas – spend, category, supplier, compliance and performance. A data empowered procurement function equipped with a new set of data skills enables collaboration and partnership with finance and supplier teams. Moving away from decisions based on retrospective fiscal data, real-time data is a powerful asset for procurement when it comes to spend analysis as businesses can adjust their strategy in a more agile way.
“Working in an organisation where there is no culture of data-driven decision making requires a shift in mindset. Data insights across the end-to-end process of procurement are helping businesses significantly reduce costs, enhance profitability, increase customer satisfaction, and gain competitive advantage.
“Procurement leaders are progressively looking for scalable solutions to prevent a data overload – speed and innovation are critical success factors in today’s digital world. According to ProcureCon’s Annual CPO Study of chief procurement officers, within the next 18 months only 3 per cent of respondents would have no procurement processes automation while 61 per cent would have between 21 per cent and 60 per cent of the process automated. Automation provides businesses the scalability to help process high volumes of data to derive meaningful insights.”