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Reimagining procurement for the next normal

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The COVID-19 pandemic has put an enormous strain on global supply chains, at times halting manufacturing while shutting down airports and seaports, interrupting delivery of raw materials and finished goods. At the pandemic's onset, procurement departments switched to crisis-management mode to help companies alleviate disruptions, including sourcing personal protective gear for employees and helping smaller suppliers manage their cash flow. Based on our research and feedback from global procurement leaders, we believe that companies can continue to rely on procurement to recover from the current crisis, in much the same way that they used the function to recover from past crises. But for procurement to lead the way, companies will want to reimagine not just what the function does but also how it operates and which new capabilities it will need. Our analysis suggests that procurement could gain the most by focusing its strategic initiatives in five key areas: strengthening supply-chain resilience, zero-basing the design of category value-creation strategies, investing in supplier partnerships and innovation, accelerating adoption of digital and analytics, and transforming to an agile operating model.


Jump-starting resilient and reimagined operations

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The coronavirus pandemic has radically changed demand for products and services in every sector, while exposing points of weakness and fragility in global supply chains and service networks. At the same time, it has been striking how well and how fast many companies have adapted, achieving new levels of visibility, agility, productivity, and end-customer connectivity--while also preserving their cash. Leading retailers have boosted their e-commerce capabilities, delivering food to thousands of customers confined in their homes. One European healthcare provider abandoned its two-year plan for the rollout of e-health services and deployed the new remote treatment system to thousands of patients in only ten days. The virus has shown that, when they align around a common purpose, operations teams can achieve goals that would have been considered impossible before the crisis. As they plan their transition to the next normal, companies are looking for ways to maintain this sense of purpose and speed.


How Organizations are Driving Value from Procurement With AI

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Keith Hausmann, Chief Revenue Officer, Globality, explains how the AI revolution is transforming the way companies source complex categories – typically services, delivering faster, better decisions; more autonomy for stakeholders; and greater opportunities for procurement professionals to drive innovation. With the huge volatility seen in today's business environment – and in the world more generally – global enterprise companies are facing unprecedented challenges. They need to increase their adaptability and resilience to withstand future economic shocks, all while keeping costs down and driving innovation in order to remain competitive. To succeed in these demanding conditions, many businesses are turning to AI (artificial intelligence) and automation in order to find ways to improve decision-making, accelerate routine processes, and free up their people to focus on driving more strategic problem-solving and growth-related activities. Given AI's seemingly limitless potential, no wonder that it's being increasingly used by procurement functions.


Transitioning To Artificial Intelligence-Enabled Sourcing: What CEOs Need To Know

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Strategizing a successful artificial intelligence deployment can be a game-changer for an enterprise. Today's business leaders likely know that artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to deliver savings and efficiencies to companies that utilize it. According to a study by Deloitte, which surveyed over 200 AI-aware business leaders in companies that have adopted the technology, AI can help streamline data complexity and aid in decision making, among other benefits. While some C-suite leaders have already committed to a digital transformation road map, there are unique challenges and opportunities to consider when adopting AI to manage procurement. From my perspective, empowering supply chain managers with cognitive sourcing technology might appear to be a natural outgrowth of conversations CEOs are already having within their sales, marketing or customer-facing operations about using AI.


Five agility myths in energy and heavy industries

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Agile ways of working originated in IT, proving their worth in technology and software companies. In the past decade, agile practices have spread to other sectors, resulting in enterprise-wide agility in banking, retail, healthcare, and insurance (see sidebar, "Organizations are on the move"). Here, we look at heavy industries: oil, gas, mining, chemicals, and utilities. Agile working can make these organizations faster, more efficient, and more resilient. Many organizations have found it possible to change their operating models despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of remote working. Many sectors (typically telecom, banking, and insurance) are experiencing significant shifts through, for example, digitalization and new entrants and are responding by radically changing their operating models. But agility does not end there: a majority of consumer, retail, pharmaceutical, and healthcare companies are also undertaking or have recently completed an agile transformation--driven by factors such as changing consumer-channel preferences and increased need for speed (exhibit).