A procurement expert has outlined three emerging skills “mega trends” that supply chain recruitment and procurement recruitment consultancies will need to start hunting for in candidates seeking employment.

Co-creation

Drawing on his experience in the profession, independent procurement consultant Robert Freeman describes a shift away from competition – traditionally a key element in effective procurement strategies. The principal is straightforward: professionals in supply chain jobs and procurement jobs can negotiate optimal contract terms when they have alternative sources. Dual sourcing, for example, helps minimise supply-related risks.

But according to Freeman, competition has limitations: RFQs and tenders often don’t deliver the desired results. In these instances, a more co-operative approach, that he calls “co-creation”, proves more effective: negotiating alignments and achieving harmonisation between the procurement organisation and vendors. The aim of co-creation is to go beyond cost reduction and risk mitigation to create value for the final customer by, as Freeman puts it, “developing and delivering products, services or systems using the common efforts of all interested parties.”

Digitalisation

Too many procurement organisations avoid intricate benchmarking and performance indicators when making procurement decisions in favour of cost reduction, according to Freeman (in his experience, the majority of procurement organisations in North America and Europe do this). This may deliver short-term benefits, but at a strategic level it often backfires. Candidates for procurement jobs, including procurement interims, must embrace digitalisation: all decisions relating to procurement should now be based on digital tech capable of delivering fact-based performance evaluation and risk analysis.

Sustainability

Procurement professionals who fail to adhere to the principals of sustainable procurement may imperil their organisation’s reputation. Succinctly described by the UN as the integration of procurement specifications and criteria with environmental protection, social progress and economic development, sustainable procurement is no longer a buzzword. As Freeman explains, it’s a customer expectation:

“People are beginning to understand that low prices should not be achieved by unethical or unsustainable means.”