The last year stood out for the return of face-to-face meetings and key events.

The new work modes, both remote and hybrid, proved to be an alternative in the crisis, and are still a strategic path for many businesses.

And year after year, the procurement area attains new meanings and roles. Due to its relevance in business, such area has gained prominence in their respective organizations.

Therefore, to help procurement professionals in their way to success, we’ve selected the top trends for 2023, based on input from renowned experts who participated in the ME B2B Summit 2022.

  1. Be less operational and more strategic

Not too long ago, procurement professionals were simply those guys called to ‘take orders’ or ‘put out fires’.

But to face the competition and the numerous challenges of the sector, buyers must be released from the operational routine – which demands a lot of effort and little focus on activities that generate value and results for the business.

In such scenario, technology becomes a true ally in the daily chores of procurement, with automation of manual processes and the availability of data and information to make the best decisions.

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and robotic process automation (RPA) solutions are already a reality in the procurement world, and can make the team’s work even more intelligent, agile and productive.

  1. People first, and only then technology

Adopting the most modern technologies to advance isn’t enough. As important as starting the digital transformation is the team’s mindset, to promote the automation of operational processes and innovate.

Therefore, cultural issues and good people management should be prioritized. Businesses and leaders should encourage professionals to seek the new, to take risks without fear and to promote changes for evolution.

Digitization can start on a gradual basis and, in procurement, it’s important to involve suppliers in this journey. First of all, however, businesses must map their processes, to have a clear view about what can be improved.

The dynamism of the B2B market requires people who are more flexible and adaptable to the countless challenges and constant changes in the procurement area.

  1. Sustainability on the agenda of businesses and CPOs

It has been more and more discussed, inside and outside organizations, that sustainability and profitability can go hand in hand.

In the procurement approach, what used to be voluntary has now become strategic. ESG initiatives showed to be competitive, even with long-term results.

Sustainable procurement has never been so important on CPOs’ agendas. This is because consumers are looking for a responsible attitude, including with the choice of suppliers.

The growth of social bias, such as inclusion, diversity and human rights, shows that procurement must go beyond legal issues and impact society significantly.

The embodiment of a culture of corporate governance and business transparency is also more and more present now in the procurement area, as a matter of survival, and technology can be a great partner in this achievement.

  1. Digitization of operational processes

The supply chain is now part of the most significant disruption in decades. This historic transformation has been mainly driven by technological changes.

The different scenarios of B2B business show that resilience and adaptability to changes are vital to face the current challenges and those still to come.

Technological advances have driven the several current regulations and, throughout history, organizations have rushed to adapt their processes.

Today, advances in the procurement area resulted from of the accelerated pace of transformations, a long process of maturation of such department and crises faced by businesses.

According to Deloitte’s “Global CPO Survey”, leaders 4.0 are taking advantage of advanced analytics, such as AI, to predict and anticipate demands, identify opportunities and mitigate risks.

Currently, the provision of insights – which can be obtained through business intelligence (BI) – promotes an easier planning journey and faster decision making processes.

  1. Behavioral skills are now indispensable

The buyer’s profile has changed and is more challenging than ever. Nowadays, technical skills are no longer solely responsible for the good performance of a professional.

Behavioral skills, such as negotiation with suppliers, communication and decision-making, among others, are more and more crucial to achieve results.

The big changes and disruptions in the job market have also impacted the way of being a leader in businesses.

Traditional leadership, which focuses decisions on a single voice, has given way to collaborative leadership, in which decision-making is conducted with the participation of the team.

In this post of ME’s blog, you can learn the 10 behavioral skills required to be a good leader in B2B procurement.

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