What Does the Future Hold for Procurement?
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By Rebecca Langdon
According to the highly publicised study by Osborne and Frey; The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerization – out of 702 jobs most likely to be automated, purchasing was 111th. In recent years the procurement function has received renewed attention as the likes of Amazon have demonstrated the importance of the supply chain to organisational success. It is always interesting to consider disruptive forces which alter the shape of the profession. You will not be surprised to know that our top 3 are all technology based!
- Artificial intelligence
When people talk about artificial intelligence, it often goes hand in hand with robotic imagery. However what we are really talking about is incredibly powerful computers which have the capability to ‘learn’. This is typically paired with ‘big data’, which has the capability to handle repetitive tasks quickly and without the need for human intervention. A potential target within the procurement space would be tasks in the accounts payable and accounts receivable space. For example the matching of invoices, and pushing through workflows.
- The internet of things
The internet of things is already disrupting procurement. Digitized stock means that suppliers are able to monitor the levels of throughput. There is a positive side to this as let’s say for example you are the procurement manager of a retailer and you always want the shelves to be stocked at 80-100%. If the supplier has access to the stock levels you can set up an agreement for them to deliver without you having to be involved in tactical ordering.
- Driverless logistics
I am sure you have read a lot about driverless cars, and they are set to become a frequently seen reality imminently. It will transform supply chains as drivers will no longer be required, and in the long term as the roads are full of driverless cars, it is set to reduce traffic on the roads. In fact, Dubai based port operator, DP World, is already using remote controlled quay cranes, security drones, and driverless trucks at its Jebel Ali terminal.
We should not fear change, and in fact technology is set to make procurement careers all the more exciting, by allowing humans to focus on the more strategic work and generate organisational value. It will be the more qualified candidates who are more resistant to technology making their jobs redundant. Therefore if you are in the profession, and you are not yet accredited, perhaps you should consider the CSCP.