Across all industries, 2020 led business leaders to reevaluate their priorities and adjust based on the new challenges the pandemic has uncovered. This is especially true for Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) and other sourcing and procurement leaders. The strain of supply chain disruptions and accompanying market shortages seemingly made national headlines daily.
As CPOs are determining their upcoming priorities, identifying the biggest focuses for their teams and initiatives will be critical in creating sourcing and procurement success. Here are those key focuses, and how leaders are ensuring they are optimizing them.
Building Operational Efficiency With Citizen Development
While efficiency and cost reduction are intrinsically linked, organizations are trying to streamline entire processes instead of focusing solely on the bottom line. Deloitte's Global 2021 Chief Procurement Officer Survey found, for the first time in 10 years, that operational efficiency topped cost reduction as the top priority among CPOs.
To drive operational efficiency, high-performing sourcing and procurement leaders are focusing on flexibility and agility. For sourcing professionals, this means investing in platforms that revamp workflows and eliminate manual processes. Increasing operational efficiency also means increasing end-to-end visibility throughout processes. A focus on making information more visible from beginning to end makes operations more efficient and reduces cost.
And this focus on efficiency is making an impact on the ground for organizations. Metso, a leading process performance provider in the oil and gas, mining and aggregates industry, has utilized no-code capabilities to streamline processes and provide insights across systems. With these capabilities in place, Metso can rapidly implement and update processes on the fly.
"The speed that we're able to implement these new changes and new workflows is very, very important to us," said Meg Lennon, Internal Sales & Global Process Systems Manager & Global Quickbase Admin at Metso.
Unlocking the Data in Your ERP With Increased Agility
Facilitating digital transformation has become an increasingly important priority for CPOs across the world. Quickbase's Supply Chain Resilience Survey found that only 10% of supply chain professionals feel extremely prepared for disruption in the future. And without the right digital capabilities, that preparation becomes nearly impossible. This is not achieved merely by licensing new software, but by taking a holistic look at your existing operations and processes.
Enabling digital transformation begins with analyzing your ERP systems for inefficiencies and points of inflexibility and leads to advanced insights into your systems. A highly customized ERP system was once viewed as a major asset for organizations. However, due to the rapidly changing external conditions, difficult to change systems became a liability in 2020. Beyond this, these systems often lack real-time insight, present barriers to data access, and are expensive to maintain.
By adding agility to your ERP system, you can continue this digital transformation without requiring major IT resources. Building a single source of truth, along with making data accessible overall, will greatly enhance the progress of digital transformation efforts.
Enhancing Risk Management through Visibility
Finally, for leading CPOs, streamlining operations and enhanced collaboration is part of a broader focus on risk management. CPOs also believe that focusing on supplier collaboration – communication and visibility into suppliers' systems – is the best way to reduce risk in sourcing.
As Quickbase's Supply Chain Resilience Survey found, 59% of supply chain executives think the root cause of their slow reaction time to changes is a direct result of disconnected processes or systems. Coupled with this, there has been a 20% increase in supply chain professionals that identified increasing visibility as a priority, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having the right technology in place plays a major role in creating a culture of collaboration and visibility between you and your suppliers. These platforms build a link between disparate systems and increase visibility for all stakeholders. Atlanta Recycling Company, for example, was able to digitize manual processes with no-code to create customized dashboards and reporting, driving higher profitability through better visibility. "We wanted more visibility to make better business decisions," said Nader Baaklini, owner of Atlanta Recycling Company. "We love our streamlined processes and workflows and that deep insight—all of which has enabled us to significantly improve our productivity and our bottom line."