Procurement teams must ensure they are equipped with the correct skillset for an increasingly automated function, according to consultants McKinsey & Company.
Half of today’s tasks will become automated by 2055 and procurement teams must “urgently” reskill and upskill workers to keep up, said McKinsey.
The research company found only 6% of 71 companies responding to a survey had a formal understanding of their organisations’ strategically important skills.
While most of these organisations said they had a corporate capability-building programme, only one in 20 believed those programmes effectively build the skills needed to deliver on strategic aspirations.
“Without a clear roadmap of either their current capabilities or their future skills needs, supply chain organisations are working in the dark,” McKinsey said.
“The business case is there: organisations that invest in developing their people while launching a transformational change programme see a higher success rate than those that do not— by a factor of up to four-fold.”
McKinsey said in order to establish an effective skills training initiative, procurement teams must focus on the specific skills that matter to their organisation. They should use diverse and effective learning methods, incentivise participation and engagement, set up the programme to scale beyond the initial pilot, and drive for impact on the company’s overall performance.
Companies should continually monitor the skillset required to keep up with the changing role of procurement in modern workforces.
McKinsey said: “Organisations will want to continuously monitor the alignment between their capabilities and their strategic goals, together with the operating performance of the organisation. When new gaps become apparent, this continual awareness makes it easier to move rapidly to close them.
“The most successful supply chains of the future will likely be those that build accelerated capability building into their DNA. These organisations will use mechanisms such as communities of practitioners and in-house supply chain academies to share emerging best practices and deliver training at scale.
“They will set up their staff incentive systems to encourage continuous personal development and the message will be reinforced by the involvement of senior leaders, who will act both as programme sponsors and role models for the new learning culture.”
Almost all (99%) respondents said they needed more in-house digital supply chain talent to support current and planned digitisation efforts, a ten-fold increase on the previous year.
More than half (56%) said they planned on reskilling their current workforce to meet these needs, while 52% said they would hire new talent, 30% said they would redeploy their existing workforce internally, and 21% said they would hire external talent temporarily to fill in talent gaps.
The research found the highest application of applied digital and analytics skills lay with senior executives, followed by mid-level leaders.
This hierarchy also existed for traditional supply chain topics. McKinsey explained: “Although more junior employees may have the technical understanding and educational background for digital, they may lack a broad perspective on value creation from applying data science methods and advanced technologies to business problems.”
The report said the skillset of workers was changing. In 2017 almost 60% of supply chain professionals felt they had an expertise spike only in one area, but today that figure is 30%. Meanwhile, 28% of procurement professionals felt they had mastered skills in 2-5 areas.