You could be forgiven for thinking that, with recent political and economic upheavals, environmental disasters and the rapid spread of Covid-19 threatening our health and supply chains, we are operating in an age of extremes. In the World Economic Forum 2020 report on risk, an important source of information for risk mitigation for leaders, the top three risks listed as “likely” were extreme weather, climate action failure and natural disasters. However, the impacts on particular businesses are more difficult to predict.
Strong leaders in procurement and supply management can drive significant change in their organisations, but they are working in a landscape that is increasingly difficult to understand and to forecast. The speed of change in business has introduced more volatility, turning old ways of working upside down. When I started in procurement, there were only two goals for a leader in procurement and supply management – continuity of supply and delivering value across the supply chain. Now it is about managing risks, corporate reputation, being the best customer and being open to investment opportunities. Value will always include business growth, increased innovation, digitalisation, sustainable supply chains, the development of new supply markets and increased social value – all challenging the skills, experience and abilities of professionals to their limit.
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