Consume the global news on any given day and you tumble down a dark rabbit hole of uncertainty and risk for businesses. But, amid the doom and gloom, we think there is abundant opportunity in the global marketplace for those bold enough to seize it.

After 40 years of relative geopolitical stability, we’ve just experienced three years of a global pandemic and a year struggling with the ramifications of Russia’s war on Ukraine — all of which have disrupted economies and supply chains in ways we could never have predicted — forcing us to rethink both how we run our businesses and with whom we do business.

Therefore, instead of attempting to make predictions in such uncertain times, we think it’s more useful to talk about the opportunity all this change represents; how there has never been a better opportunity for procurement and supply chain to give their businesses a competitive advantage, and all solutions point to agility.

In stable times, we conduct business as usual, repeating aspects that have worked well and aim to make incremental gains. Major disruptions stop the BAU cycle and force us to explore ways to do things differently. It’s the procurement and supply chain functions that can pivot quickly in response to unpredictable global events that will be able to seize resulting market innovations and new solutions to make big leaps forward while laggers languish.

But how do you ensure this type of agility that can pivot when needed? As boring as it may sound, one key factor is getting the basics right. The industry has been talking for several years about the importance of accurate data on spend, contracts, supplier performance, forecasts and more, but how many procurement and supply chain functions have really managed this? Only the ones that had were able to get stronger during the recent shocks.

What about skills? With events so uncertain and the demands of procurement and supply chain teams unknown, how many of those functions are constrained by the fixed capacity and capability of their teams? We believe that those procurement and supply chain functions that can call on a range of different skills and resources from partner companies will be able to flex quickly to the needs of their businesses in these uncertain times — enabling them to get ahead.

So, we’re optimistic for the coming year — excited, even.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the new unpredictable era we are in, we believe this year represents a huge opportunity for procurement and supply chain to enable their organizations to get ahead.