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18 June 2014 | Gurjit Degun
Procurement is focusing on strategic projects rather than transactional tasks with the help of technology, but there are some challenges to overcome.
That was the consensus of a roundtable, ‘The Buying Game,’ held by e-procurement provider Wax Digital in Manchester this morning.
“We are at a point where we are moving away from procurement as a transactional piece and procurement is becoming so much more valued as part of the corporate jigsaw, which I think makes it a very exciting time to be in procurement,” said Daniel Ball, director at Wax Digital.
“I think it will be a different space going forward. It will be a much leaner and more strategic space. There will be fewer transactional vacancies but the upside of that is that those professionals should embrace technology and the changing face of procurement.”
Ryan Jones, group procurement director at NG Bailey, pointed to barriers in embracing technology. “We need to see a paradigm shift in culture,” he explained. “We are quite a traditional industry, there needs to be more of an open mind in embracing new technology.”
Jones added the people coming up with new technology need to remember it should be “reliable, efficient and simple”.
Gordon Willford, procurement information systems manager at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, agreed. “It’s about getting people on board, not just within our customer base, but also within procurement,” he said. “I think that will be one of our biggest challenges.
“If you can get something on board which means that somebody doesn’t need to phone the procurement help desk to find out how to place an order, that is a challenge to get right. Then you can start moving the buyers away from the transactional and into the strategic.”
Peter Kinder, chief technology officer at Wax Digital, pointed out procurement professionals must understand how to use technology effectively, if it is to help the business.