With the assistance of coffee and the internet I was able to participate in Procurement & Supply Chain Live London. The speakers and topics were spot on and hit on many of the things iQuantum is currently addressing: Tier 1 & Tier 2 Diverse Spend Tracking, ESG Compliance Reporting, and Supplier Relationship Management. It was clear that even with the challenges of the current business environment, the amount of purchasing and opportunity has continued to increase. One advantage of being a remote conference participant, aside from being able to stay in my jammies, was being able to really focus content being presented and take copious notes. Here I’ve boiled down the key points that I took away from this fabulous event.
- Uncertainty – the current environment is a constant barrage of surprises. That uncertainty creates the urge to pull-back, but those that innovate and are able to build in resiliency and agility in their business, procurement processes, and their supply chain will succeed through these uncertain times – which may be the new norm.
- Collaboration – open and ongoing communication up and down the supply chain is the best means of driving alignment and avoiding surprises. This current business environment requires much more collaboration internally across the org and across the entire supply chain. Clear statement of goals and needs allows for a supply chain hive mind approach to innovation and problem solving. The supply chain management is a lot of infrastructure, processes, and supplies, but at the end of the day it comes down to people. Invest in developing and aligning the people and the right tools to improve outcomes and establish that resiliency you need. This means you have everyone contributing to the overall goals as a whole.
- Strategic Planning – avoid getting caught in the day-to-day fire drills. There will be ongoing surprises and things that distract and pull the team off course. Make sure the larger goals and direction stay in focus, even in the midst of the surprise du jour. You need the long-term vision to remain top of mind to drive progress on your continued innovation, sustainability, digitalization journey.
- Controls – the increased regulation, litigation, and individual consumer brand attacks means there is a need for some work to do to maintain a defensive stance. Procurement has shifted to be more embedded in budgeting cycle. That internal, cross department visibility allows the procurement team the ability to look ahead and plan ahead given different scenarios. That procurement visibility and control also makes for better prioritization of projects when the happy path is not available, and the organization needs to respond with gating or stalling some initiatives. Pursue the digitization and systems that will arm procurement with the visibility they need to establish the agility that allows for sound reaction to change.
- Compliance – as part of the ongoing digitization and automation, invest in systems and processes that allow for the ongoing changes in regulations. Environmental statements which used to be a small part of an annual corporate update are now required and audited. Get your systems and tools prepared for the evolving regulations and all anticipated reports and disclosures that come with them. This investment will reduce the manual work required to respond and help get the organization ahead so these external requirements don’t derail your strategic goals. Some of the ESG Compliance demands seem theoretical and for many organizations the numbers simply don’t yet exist but it is a good idea to use this time prior to the regulation being fully written to prepare.
It was a fabulous event and I’m appreciative I got the chance to participate. While I missed out on the London Fog, I did get a chance to hear excellent speakers and understand how current challenges our customers and prospects are facing map into the iQuantum platform and roadmap.