Procurement 2020, Are we on Track?

Long time readers, including those who worked through last year’s mega series on The Future of Procurement and The “Future” Trend Expose already know the answer to this, but with only 5 years left to go, it’s worth exploring this topic that was all the rage 5 years ago but now no longer a whisper, even from the voices that were once the loudest in their great proclamations.

Why the silence? Because, to be frank, we’re not even close to their predictions, predictions which, to be honest, should have already been met by now.

While there is a lot of cannon fodder to go back to, let’s take Sourcing Innovation’s post from four summers past, which was penned at the height of the 2020 blathering, and which took us back to a report released by Hackett in 2008! In the first of the grand prophecies, which laid out the hierarchy of supply, rather than make grand projections, Hackett simply laid out a set of seven core competencies that businesses would need to acquire. And even though leading providers have offered next generation solutions for each of these since the end of the last decade, progress along these paths is still few and far between.

Business Process Sourcing

Many companies are still taking a scattered approach to process sourcing and outsourcing and indirect spend in general. Some are using BPOs, some are using GPOs, some are using both, and some are simply hiring contingent labour to handle the processes the business does not want to do, or does not have the skills to do, in house.

Supply Performance Management & Supplier Management

Formal Supplier Management is still weak, or non-existent at many companies, and fewer companies still have, or use, modern platforms to manage the performance of their supply base, even though there are a number of second generation platforms out there that have quite extensive capabilities. (The capabilities that are out there will be described in detail in the next platform-based Spend Matters Pro series on Supplier Relationship Management, starting after the CLM series concludes, which will be co-authored by the doctor, the maverick, the prophet, and the anarchist!)

Knowledge Management

According to Hackett, Sourcing will need to master content-driven analytics which integrate external data into internal data models …. We’re not there yet. Less than 1 in 2 Procurement departments are even doing basic spend analysis, yet alone more advanced content-driven analytics using multiple internal and external data sources! Knowledge is still quite poor. (Maybe that’s because only the leading sorcerors in the leading Procurement departments read Sourcing Innovation and Spend Matters CPO?)

Talent Management

After years of reducing the training budget to almost zero following the last big recession in the late 2000’s, there’s still been no sign of restoration and talent is still not getting the training they need to do the best job they could do. Until this happens, there’s no way that Supply Management will be the career path of choice for new talent.

Next Level Strategic Sourcing

Most companies still aren’t doing true TCO modelling or using strategic sourcing decision optimization, which is the only other supply management technology (in addition to true spend analysis) that has been demonstrated to find year-over-year savings. And a true next level company should be at TVM modelling and decision optimization, multi-tier analysis, trending and predictive analytics, long-term strategic supply chain redesign, and other advanced initiatives that will save money now and for years to come.

New Product Development & Introduction

As Hackett said long ago, Supply Management will have to include advanced design-for-supply support that incorporates multi-tier cost modelling, scenario planning and optimization, but seeing as how the majority of Supply Management departments are still struggling with TCO and weighted RFXs and e-Auctions, even though companies like Arena Solutions and DirectWorks (formerly Co-exprise) have been promoting this for close to a decade, this is still a ways off from being main-stream.

In other words, even though 2020 is approaching fast, we’re still a long way from 2020 Vision in Supply Management, despite the doctor‘s best efforts.