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Crystal gazing into procurement 2014

While there have been and there would be predictions at a strategic level, let us look at some of the more operational aspects of procurement and what are likely to be the trends for 2014.

It is that time of the year when it is very tempting to make predictions for the New Year. While there have been and there would be predictions at a strategic level, let us look at some of the more operational aspects of procurement and what are likely to be the trends for 2014. I have tried to put together a few indications based on conversations with procurement managers and the requirements that are coming across :

  • Savings: whatever else will happen, savings will always remain the key focus and expectation from procurement. While the usual focus on big-ticket areas will continue to be maintained, in 2014, it is the unaddressed spend which will be sharply in focus. That includes areas like tail spend, maverick spend, non-contract spend etc.
  • Compliance: new programs like no PO no pay, larger spend going through existing, compliant channels and tools, larger involvement of procurement in controlling unaddressed spend and maverick spend. New tools and platforms required to achieve this will be requisitioned
  • Skill and capability enhancement: with procurement's role getting a more strategic focus, the imperative to train and upgrade the procurement team's skills and capabilities will translate to advanced training programs being rolled out for procurement
  • Simplified processes: while this has been an ongoing area of priority in the last several years, it would acquire a renewed momentum in 2014 with organisations looking at technology options to simplify procurement processes especially for end-users.
  • Technology consolidation: over the years procurement teams have accumulated diverse sets of technology tools for e- procurement, contract management, e-sourcing, PR to PO, etc. Several of these are stand-alone, not integrated with each other or the in-house ERP creating challenges of data consistency, uniform flow of coherent and consistent and meaningful information that enables decision-making. To enable procurement to focus on the strategic areas, organisations would look for platforms that integrates all internal tools, which fill in the current gaps not covered by existing tools and have a simple common interface across the organisation

Well... that's quite a list! Is it exhaustive? Not at all... Have I missed a few things?.. Maybe.. Why don't you help me to make it more comprehensive... look forward to your predictions!


This addresses perfectly the ask of procurement departments across organizations this year. Another key ask here could be "Automation". More and more procurement departments are looking to automate repetitive task in the procurement life cycle, not only to cut down on costs but also to have some sort of semblance into the efficiency. Particularly small and medium firms would like to leverage automation to gain benefits like guaranteed process efficiency,technical interfacing in procurement processes and to realize sustained cost savings.
As rightly mentioned "technology consolidation" amply provides opportunities for small and medium firms to sample cross category knowledge or extended enterprise solutions, an option limited to a few large firms previously.
This is just one of the many areas and list is still not exhaustive, so lets keep exploring new avenues.

The blog is a great read as it gives us the direction in which the practice is heading aligning one’s thought process to the way forward in the future of procurement outsourcing. To add to the list we must focus on external stakeholders such as suppliers and related activities such as SPM, SRM, rationalization, vendor management, consolidator model etc.

Good start to the discussions. All points are extremely relevant. Another key trend visible will be emergence of deeper category specific platforms/solutions enriching the impact of the Procurement organization.


Good summary of the focus procurement professionals need to focus this year..
One more aspect that is becoming important is cost avoidance or procurement asking the question "is the spend really required"

Brilliant thoughts! Sourcing strategy and how the Procurement Group will provide value to organizations. Kris - Your blog has touched it well.

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