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Top 6 Most Valuable Tech Skills for Procurement

By June 27, 2023May 16th, 2024No Comments

Despite the importance of digital literacy in procurement, skills development and recruiting have not kept pace with technology. Not surprisingly, many CPOs feel that they don’t have the skill sets on their team to fully embrace digital tools and processes. 

At the same time, they often don’t invest in the training and professional development required to maximize their technological capabilities. In a recent podcast episode, I spoke with Andrew Daley, Managing Director of Digital Procurement and Supply Chain at Edbury Daley about why that is and what procurement leaders should be doing to support their teams’ digital literacy.

The first step is understanding where to invest when making a plan for development and upskilling. In a rapidly advancing landscape, how do CPOs know which digital skills are most in demand? What skills should they prioritize? How do they identify the most crucial skills gaps?

Here are the top 6 areas where procurement should invest in technology skills development:

Data Analytics and Business Intelligence:

Procurement’s ability to contextualize analytics is key for turning big data into actionable insights for the business. They must harness the power of data analytics and business intelligence tools to make informed decisions and data-driven recommendations.

Skills in data analysis, visualization, and interpretation help procurement extract valuable insights from complex datasets, identify cost-saving opportunities, optimize supply chains, and drive strategic sourcing decisions for every stakeholder. Procurement teams should be fluent when it comes to working with data and using that to recommend key business decisions to the company’s leadership and to their stakeholders.

Supply Chain Digitization:

Supply chains have become increasingly complex and interconnected. Understanding digital technologies such as AI, blockchain, and cloud computing can help streamline supply chain processes, enhance transparency, improve supplier management, and enable real-time tracking of inventory. Procurement professionals need to be familiar with these technologies to identify opportunities for automation, efficiency gains, and risk mitigation.

Contract and Vendor Management Systems:

With the increase of remote work and global collaborations, the ability to effectively manage contracts and vendors is crucial. Procurement should leverage contract management systems and vendor relationship management platforms to streamline negotiations, monitor supplier performance, and enforce compliance. Proficiency in these systems allows procurement to effectively manage contractual obligations, mitigate risks, and build stronger supplier partnerships from anywhere in the world.

Cybersecurity and Risk Management:

The risk of cyber threats and data breaches is a big issue for procurement. They need to be well-versed in cybersecurity practices and risk management strategies to safeguard sensitive information and protect their organizations from potential disruptions and risk. Knowledge of data privacy regulations, secure communication channels, and risk assessment methodologies is essential for procurement teams to mitigate cybersecurity risks effectively. Any skills development or upskilling plan should always include this.

Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) Tools:

Effective supplier management is a core value add for procurement, and leveraging SRM tools can enable them to deliver maximum value through strong supplier relationships.

Proficiency in SRM platforms and software allows procurement managers to streamline communications, track performance metrics, and manage relationships with suppliers more efficiently. Not only does this lead to stronger partnerships and stronger supply chain management, but it also helps procurement mitigate risks and drive better supplier collaboration and innovation – critical contributions to any organization.

Artificial Intelligence and Automation:

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation is transforming business, and procurement is no exception. making it imperative for professionals to understand and leverage these technologies. Familiarity with AI-powered tools like chatbots, robotic process automation (RPA), and machine learning algorithms enable procurement professionals to automate repetitive tasks, improve spend analysis, enhance demand forecasting, and optimize supplier selection. Proficiency in AI technologies and automation not only drives efficiency but also frees up time for professionals to focus on strategic activities.

By developing these digital skills, procurement can drive innovation, streamline processes, mitigate risks, and contribute significantly to organizational success. Continuous skills development in these areas will empower procurement professionals to leverage the latest technology that will bring the most value to their team and organization.

As the procurement function evolves, the value of tech skills will only continue to grow. Procurement professionals who invest in their digital expertise and stay curious about technology will be sought after for their ability to optimize supply chains, uncover valuable insights from data, build strong supplier relationships, and drive innovation.

Click here to listen to the full podcast episode “Investing in Next Generation Digital Literacy for Procurement” featuring Andrew Daley, Managing Director, Digital Procurement and Supply Chain at Edbury Daley.

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