5 Controversial Ideas That Will Shape 2021 in Procurement

How will procurement change in 2021? Here are five big ideas that will change everything.

If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that 2021 will not be like 2020 (or at least, we hope not). We’ll all be one year older, one year wiser, and one year closer to figuring out how to manage in a COVID-normal world. We’ll also have our newly-minted audience with the C-suite, given our elevated importance this year, as well as a desire to do more – and do better – professionally. But with everything that’s changed, what will our profession look like? What ideas will ring true or become true, and what do we need to leave behind? 

Here are 5 controversial ideas that we believe will shape procurement in 2021: 

  1. We might all be told we have no budget

If your CPO came to you and said ‘Your procurement project now has zero budget. Prove you need one,’ what would you say? This might soon be a reality for many of us with a near-complete reset on the table following COVID-19.  With everything and anything under the microscope, next year might be the year that our CPOs ask us to literally ‘start from scratch’ with our build-a-business case for all expenses.  

This approach doesn’t come without its pitfalls, though, as it can be expensive and time-consuming. But worth it? We think so. 

  1. Even if costs increase we’ll still be able to prove we’re doing great 

If your prices go up, does your manager’s mood automatically go down? This is the case for many of us, but it might not be with one handy tool: benchmarking. Benchmarking can achieve many wonderful things, including showing our broader organisation how much value we’re adding, and proving that even if prices do still go up, that we’re able to control them more effectively. 

Given the nature of the supply chain and procurement profession, though, benchmarking can be complex, but can also add incredible value. 

  1. We’ll take cybercrime far more seriously 

Did you know that cybercrime costs the world $1.2 trillion annually? Every minute, there are 419 cyber attacks, and many are successful. As large organisations, we’re usually protected, but how about our suppliers? What would it cost us if they lost their data or worse, if they had to shut down for a period of time? 

It’s time we all start taking cybercrime seriously, and including clauses in our contracts that cover us if the worst does happen. 

  1. We’ll be forced to break down organisational silos 

How many people do you really know in your organisation, outside of your procurement team? If the answer is not many, then your team could be working in a silo, and this could be really costing you. Consequences include task duplication, disengagement, poor customer experiences and worst of all … sub-par risk management. 

We’ll all be forced to break down these silos if we want to avoid some of the risks that came to fruition in 2020. 

  1. We’ll all become good storytellers … or hire them 

Now we’ve got the audience of the C-suite, we all want to impress them … but how? Research shows that the trait of storytelling is astronomically increasing in importance and here’s why: it’s critical to getting your point across. The human mind is twenty times more likely to remember a story, and people who are great storytellers are more engaging, more persuasive, and more likely to be trusted. 

We’ll all need to practice our stories next year … or hire someone who is already a master. 

All signs point to the fact that 2021 will be a huge year for procurement and supply chain, so realistically, five ideas is simply not enough. Discover more game-changing ideas in our compelling whitepaper 100 Big Ideas for 2021.