Dear reader,

Welcome to this year's issue of The Source, bringing expert insights and analysis into procurement and supply chain management directly to your inbox. 

Never has procurement been as prominent and vital as it has become over the last year … and as it stands today, looking to the future. At the onset of the pandemic, and in last year’s issue, we published our Survive then thrive: How to restart and rebuild stronger supply chains, post COVID-19 whitepaper to help answer the questions: “How do businesses and supply chains re-open the taps?” and “How do they adapt to the uncertainty and thrive?”  

A year later, we’ve seen many successful businesses further along the path to ‘thrive’ status, but our work to rebuild and mitigate risk is far from over. We fully believe that procurement is the single biggest lever to make change happen quickly in our current world, and that is why this issue covers more topics than ever before.

We also believe that where "Total Cost" was once the best practice approach in procurement, it is now "Total Value." Beyond Cost: Reset procurement strategy for new challenges explains that procurement needs to be much more than an evaluation based on price and service; it now needs to be multi-dimensional, covering supply chain security, value generation, and ESG considerations.

The phrase “desperate times call for desperate measures” originated from Hippocrates’ Amorphisms, in which he wrote: “For extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure, as to restriction, are most suitable.” COVID-19 certainly introduced extreme restrictions around the world, shuttering many businesses, and physically restricting traditional face-to-face communication in both our personal lives and the business world. Our Spotlight on Kantar CPO, Stephen Day article and video, Building a procurement team from scratch, is a fascinating insight into how Steve built a 40-person procurement team, from scratch, during a pandemic, without meeting anyone face-to-face, and accomplishing a gender-diverse team comprising 40% women.

Sustainability has become a global board-level topic, having reached a critical mass of demand and visibility – demand both from within the organisation and outside it; at the macro level, as well as for individuals. Staying power: How sustainability will define procurement explains why it is imperative for a business to view “Performance Sustainability” as synonymous with “ESG Sustainability,” in order to react to changing demands and the ever-growing set of commercial, environmental, and political challenges.

The relationship between CFOs and procurement is a topic we regularly cover – not only because it is always one of the most consumed, but because it is such an essential success factor. Seeing the savings: Why a stronger relationship between the CFO and procurement delivers better results explores ways in which procurement savings have a direct impact on businesses, and how finance and procurement teams should align to accurately reflect those savings in the bottom line. 

Thanks to a diverse and inclusive culture at Efficio comprising employees representing 40+ nationalities and speaking more than 30 languages, we bring a unique perspective to identify, deliver, and sustain diversity and inclusion opportunities in procurement and supply chains. Charting a course for success: How effective D&I targets can help you win more business explains how to embed D&I throughout the procurement process to determine credentials and set realistic, transparent, and achievable goals. 

The last year has demonstrated countless examples that global supply chains have generally become less resilient, more complex, and more vulnerable to events than previously thought. Ensuring the same levels of quality and service requires more management, more communication, and more processes in place, and The changing face of global procurement: How to build resilience in international supply chains and reap maximum benefits takes a closer look at the factors impacting supply chains and how organisations can respond to gain competitive advantage. 

The public and private sectors have come together to face and solve massive and complex procurement challenges since the onset of the pandemic – all under the scrutiny of an anxious public, politicians, and world leaders desperate for solutions. Beyond the headlines: Key lessons from the public sector's COVID-19 response describes how three different public sectors stepped up to the challenge and implemented solutions across the UK.

Can you articulate Industry 4.0’s impact and influence on businesses and the future of procurement? Behind the buzzword: Why Industry 4.0 should be at the forefront of procurement unpacks the puzzle of this suite of emerging technology to show how collaboration can be flexed to embrace innovation and Industry 4.0 solutions.

We’re also proud to share our best thinking on technology with a new excerpt from PROFIT FROM PROCUREMENT, which was written by three Efficio leaders and published in April 2021 by US publisher, Wiley. Chapter 10: TECHNOLOGY: Investing In and Adopting the Right Tools explains three key ways we see that technology can support a better operating model in the future, as well as how to visualise your data and manage your knowledge. (You can also read Chapter 1: WHY PROCUREMENT AND WHY NOW? and get information about how to order a copy of the book.)

We see an extraordinary and highly prominent future for procurement, as it sits firmly in the hotseat to drive solutions for global organisations and governments.

We welcome discussions about your procurement and supply chain challenges, so please don’t hesitate to contact any of us to see how our expertise, insights, knowledge, and technology solutions can help your business thrive. 

Yours truly

Jens Pedersen, CEO