Season 1, Episode 24: Procurement & Supply Chain Excelleration – 5 Essential Digital Business Capabilities

Business Excelleration Podcast

Host Nathan Harris talks with Kurt Albertson, Principal in The Hackett Group’s Procurement Advisory Group and Josh Nelson, Principal in The Hackett Group’s Supply Chain and Operations Consulting Group about the impact of the pandemic on companies’ digital transformation initiatives in procurement and supply chain, and how companies with more mature digital transformation programs benefitted in terms of improved agility, efficiency, and insight.

Show Notes:

Welcome to the Business Excelleration podcast where we hear from top experts about the journey to world class performance. In this episode, the Hackett Group brings professionals to discuss the digital technologies that are creating better visibility across supply chains. The pandemic demanded either shock or supply disruptions within companies—how did technology help companies handle this?  Host Nathan Harris invites on today’s guests, Hackett’s own Kurt Albertson and Josh Nelson, to share their expertise in these areas.

The episode kicks off as Nathan asks Kurt about the specific actions that took place in procurement in terms of technology due to the pandemic, and what the future holds. Learn about the company wide scale scope policies with the increase in remote working, electronic invoicing, supplier interactions being pushed to automated solutions, and protecting suppliers with payment. He shares about how procurement is trying to guard their employees with privacy protection, supplier discovery, and risk management. While the digital transformation efforts did not pause during the pandemic, the focus on speed to value increased, and companies leveraged their initiatives strategically. Learn how to get better information and visibility. Kurt shares how there is greater agility because of the digital environment. He discusses the focuses on supply risk, better visibility to suppliers, 3rd party data sources, control on tail spend area, and AI based solutions. The digital transformation especially accelerated in terms of virtual work environments, supplier discovery, and collaboration tools.

The conversation turns to Josh as he talks about the broader supply chain and the strategic imperatives driving digital transformation. While the pandemic allowed companies to benefit from technologies employed, agility, responsiveness, speed, and efficiency became crucial. Josh chats about the enablement of business processes, technology investment, decision making, and the optimization of resources. Better insights and decisions are possible because of the increase in data availability.

Next, Kurt answers the question, to what extent will the thread of digital transformation change as time progresses? He says that there is still a lot of immaturity in the market in respect to the broad adoption of technologies, and still a lot of activity with emerging technologies. The 2021 Key Issues Study shows a high priority of digital transformation, and Kurt says this journey will be a front and center issue for the foreseeable future.

In turning to the broader supply chain, Josh shares what the expectations are for the post-pandemic world. Learn about the importance of the use of analytics, as the amount of data available is huge. Artificial intelligence capabilities present new opportunities. Josh says the progression is anchored around strategic agility, responsiveness, and efficiency. Kurt touches on the important role procurement plays in the broader enterprise. While the virtual model was forced, Kurt emphasizes tapping into the most strategic suppliers and smaller suppliers for more innovative ideas, and to align with the business objectives of the internal stakeholders. Procurement professionals require a new understanding of risk and IP protection from a contracting perspective and in terms of relationships being established. How are companies using data to improve business performance and deliver against their supply chain imperatives? Josh chats about the data both available internally and externally, along with the transition in analytics from rear-view looking, to predictive and prescriptive analytics.

In a war for talent in the procurement space, Kurt shares the need for talent development and how new roles surfacing. They are offering no re stakeholder influence training and teaching people got to engage them with more complex strategies. Digital transformation is both creating new roles and allowing companies to get closer in driving the strategic management with stakeholders. This episode ends as Nathan asks about innovative business planning to get at key imperatives that companies seek to achieve and what enables the agility for better alignment.