Procurement leaders should invest more in soft skills and analytics training for their teams, according to Lance Younger, EMEA head of sourcing and procurement and partner at Deloitte.
Younger was speaking about the findings of the latest Deloitte Global Chief Procurement Survey 2018 at a breakfast event hosted at executive search consultants Odgers Berndtson.
He said the survey had found that while training budgets were low across the board (less than 2% of their budgets in most companies), high performing organisations are more likely to spend more.
Some 14% of high performing organisations, compared to 8% of average performers, said they spent more than 4% of their budgets on training.
Most training spend goes towards “traditional training”, Younger said, but he urged the CPOs in the room to think about diverting it towards “EQ and relationship management” and analytical skills.
“I would encourage people, if you have a small amount of budget [for training], spend it on analytics and relationship management training,” he said. “Maybe skip the negotiation training for a year and think about building core capability in analytics.”
Deloitte’s survey also found that while there exists much hype and noise around digital tools, professionals are not using them in practice. “Lots of people are talking about things like AI, automation and AR/VR, but [procurement professionals] are not deploying them,” he said. “They are looking at the pilot stage but not beyond that.”
The exception was analytics, which 34% of organisations are piloting, scaling or have fully deployed. Younger said many procurement professionals were building their own tools: “It’s: ‘I can’t get solutions I need from a provider, so I’m going to build it myself.’”
Lucy Harding, leader of Odgers Berndtson's procurement and supply chain practice, said CPOs needed to think about how technology enables strategy, rather than using tools for the sake of it.
“It’s about leadership,” she said. “What does this [tool] do for the business and how does it enable the business strategy I’m supporting? If the only benefit of the technology is for the procurement function, the business won’t be interested.”