When we started this series to expose Procurement Trends back in October, we noted that most Supply Management ‘futurists‘ were still stuck in the past, and if we were lucky, it was the recent past (as some of them are feeding us trends that are literally thousands of years old as these trends have been around since trade began)! We asked why, and the best we could come up with was that either they had no knowledge (which we’re sure is true in a few cases), they had no vision (which is obviously true in a lot of cases), and/or they see too many organizations still stuck in the past (and believe that they can still sell these organization’s last decade’s snake oil).
Now, some organizations have a valid reason for being behind. They have no resources, no support from the C-Suite, and the organization, because of these backwards views, hasn’t yet attracted a CPO with a strong vision for the future. However, this does not give the futurists a valid reason for continuing to preach last decade’s trends as future trends if all of the best-in-class organizations are already doing it and the average organization is already starting down the road to addressing the trend with new processes or technology. They might be current trends for some organizations, but they are not future. A future trend is what an organization needs to start preparing for so that it is ready when the trend emerges, not what the organization should already be doing.
Even if an organization is not ready for a given trend, it still has the right to know where that trend sits on the Supply Management timeline and whether it is a trend the organization should already be addressing, one it should have addressed five years ago, or one it will not need to address for another two or three years. Without proper knowledge, the organization cannot build the proper transformation roadmap or know what the organization should be working towards. If the organization still thinks centralization and outsourcing are emerging trends, it will be in a bit of a shock when it overdoes centralization and outsources too much because it wasn’t working towards a balanced centre of excellence (or control tower) and a near-sourcing plan to allow it to bring production closer to home once global transportation costs got too high (and near-source providers advanced their automation capabilities).
That’s why we had to bust each of the “old news” and “ongoing blues” trends one by one so that an organization which lacked proper resources to get a proper education wouldn’t be fooled by these snake-oil salesmen and understand what is old, what is current, and what is coming. Moreover, we didn’t just stop with exposing the audacity of the claims, but we explained why the futurists thought they could slip a quick one by you, what the situation meant, and where you needed to look for guidance and inspiration if your organization was behind the curve with respect to the trend in question and what your starting points were.
It was a good start to your education, but more education is still needed. For example, while we made it clear with respect to what you needed to do to get ahead of the competition with respect to many of the trends in question, we didn’t do a deep dive into how. Nor did we address how to put together an integrated plan that would address multiple trends simultaneously with common processes or technology. (This will be covered in one or more future blog series once we give poor LOLCat a break. We certainly don’t want LOLCat to start drinking again.) Nor did we point out the top trends that you have to get a handle on now, either because they are about to hit you or just starting to be addressed by the leaders (which means that, to be a leader, your organization needs to start addressing them too). In this case, for those of you wanting to skip ahead, if you haven’t already, you should download SI’s recent white-paper, sponsored by BravoSolution, on the Top Ten Trends for 2015.
Do you have anything to add, LOLCat?