One year ago, nobody could have predicted just how much of a tumultuous year 2020 would become. But procurement rose to the challenge, keeping supply chains moving and suppliers afloat while continuing to pursue projects spanning everything from digitalisation to supplier diversity and sustainability.
The innovation, collaboration and value creation achieved in this relatively short period has inspired and motivated the community along the way. To celebrate that success, we’ve rounded up 10 of the most notable member stories of successful procurement initiatives from network this year:
1) IBM: Leveraging technology to map the supply chain and manage risk
As it disrupted shipments and production, spreading from East Asia across the whole of the world, the coronavirus outbreak brought home the importance of having strong visibility of the supply chain across multiple tiers. Thanks to its leading supply chain mapping and risk management approach, supported by tools from Resilinc, IBM was able to stay on top of the disruption and keep its components moving throughout the crisis.
2) The community’s approach to addressing supplier diversity
In a year that was dominated by headlines around racial injustice and diversity, many functions looked at whether their supplier diversity programmes were delivering. The community as a whole has made some big strides forward, but there are key lessons to learn and drive progress.
3) Enel: Introducing innovative digital remote supplier inspections using smart glasses
Responding to the pandemic has forced businesses all over the world to think on their feet as they deal with the disruption. When travel bans stopped it from carrying out vital inspections of supplier facilities, Italian energy supplier Enel took the innovative approach of conducting the visits remotely with the aim of smart glasses.
4) The community’s approach to communicating in a crisis
During a crisis, communication is key. This is especially true for procurement, which looks after so many different moving parts in the supply chain. The Covid-19 pandemic saw the function form a central pillar of internal communications efforts, ensuring that critical information was shared at critical times, with the right people.
5) UCB: Transforming the function for future success
The procurement team at UCB moved ahead of the transformation curve in 2020, re-shaping the function from top-to-bottom and removing any processes or structures that were slowing it down. This has positioned them close to the business, which is enabling the function to focus on value delivery.
6) Fidelidade: Monitoring supplier financial risk without making a significant investment
Supplier financial risk monitoring will be a significant activity for the vast majority of functions in 2021. While the funds might not be there to invest in tools, Fidelidade, the Portuguese life and non-life insurance business showed that you can do a lot regardless and truly protect the business.
7) MOL Group: Setting functional targets to align with the c-suite
Procurement is under constant pressure to demonstrate its value to the wider enterprise and 2020 has been no different. The Hungarian oil and gas company MOL Group’s procurement function shared how it regularly updates its targets to keep them in alignment with the company’s broader strategic aims to demonstrate a shared commitment to success.
8) Roche: Building a hackathon to drive digitalisation
The Roche procurement team wanted to rapidly move the needle on digitalisation, but rather than move down a traditional top-down route, they decided they needed to take a different approach. They developed a new initiative – the hackathon – built around agile principles that saw ideas developed from within the business, which are already embedding new digital solutions into the business.
9) Philips: Segmenting suppliers to target sustainability efforts
Even in the face of massive disruption, sustainability has remained high on the agenda as boards, customers and investors have continued to push the importance of social responsibility. Wanting to spur its suppliers to engage more in its sustainability initiatives, instead of seeing them as a series of hoops to jump through, Philips devised a unique method for segmenting suppliers and targeting its efforts where they would be most effective.
10) Sainsbury’s: working with functional leaders to strategically cut costs
Procurement has long been relied upon to seek out new sources of savings but there comes a point in the cost-cutting journey when the “easy wins” have been exhausted and the function needs to think more creatively. That was the case for Sainsbury’s, which devised two new exercises to help the leaders of its divisions think differently about what spending is truly necessary and what else could be eliminated.
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