- Adding agility to procurement processes outweighed cost savings for 96% of procurement leaders surveyed by Wakefield Research in a March 2021 report. The respondents said agility was more critical for their companies' bottom lines long term.
- To achieve that agility, 199 out of 200 procurement leaders listed that their companies had or were going to take steps to upgrade supplier data and intelligence. Yet Wakefield Research found respondents were worried about the lack of high-quality supplier data, with 91% of respondents saying insufficient data could affect the outcomes of their strategic goals.
- Despite the need for increased supplier data since the onset of the pandemic, 72% of respondents still think "their companies’ supplier [intelligence] has not significantly improved."
COVID-19 disruptions highlighted the benefits of real-time data and emphasized to procurement leaders that they need visibility into suppliers and sourcing to know how to best react with agility to disruptions. The pandemic pushed forward the trend of data and analytics as main functions to increase agility and resilience.
A year in, prioritization for adding agility through stronger data reflects this, with the majority of surveyed procurement leaders making plans to upgrade their supplier data.
While procurement leaders profess that data is critical to navigating volatility, many admit that enough still hasn't been done to address lingering data concerns to create the agility they need, according to the survey. Only 54% of those surveyed said they have access to real-time supplier data, creating challenges in light of the moment-to-moment data needed during the pandemic.
Some companies do have access and are using supplier data and alerts to build resilience. Over the last year, procurement teams sought to build stronger, more transparent relationships with suppliers to gather insights on supply to minimize disruptions.
Adidas partnered with its suppliers last year to collect emissions' data to cut the company's scope 3 emissions, underscoring how data can be used to address growing demands on environmental, social and corporate governance.
Stephanie Lapierre, CEO of Tealbook, which commissioned the Wakefield Research survey, said having complete supplier information lets companies know who they're doing business with and informs them of the suppliers they should know about.
"[This] information should be autonomously maintained without relying on heavy integration infrastructure between systems, services, employees and supplier self-updated portals," she said.
But over half of procurement leaders in the survey said their offices manually enter data. Doing so can monopolize valuable time and resources — a potential disadvantage as supply chains transition to a deeper focus on data analytics.
Companies can miss out when they aren't in a position to maximize on what suppliers are offering. In the survey, 92% said they aren't in "a position to leverage supplier innovation." The inability to capitalize on supplier innovations links back to data insufficiencies. For the pandemic, 41% of procurement leaders found their data "inadequate," and 26% found it "mostly or completely inadequate."
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