Digital transformation - is there hesitancy in procurement?

Digitisation is the talk of the town. For more than 6 months now businesses have had to adapt to a scattered, remote workforce with company crisis contingencies being tested almost across the board.

Yet in our world, we’re seeing analogue working practices still commonplace in many procurement teams. So why the delay in adopting digital transformation?

“Two years of digital transformation in two months”

For many, the past months have been the acid test of a new system, or simply expedited a planned digital transformation project - but for those caught short, 2020 has brought the need for digitally connected teams and practices into sharp focus.

In our last blog (finding the balance of working from home), we quoted Microsoft’s Chief Exec who said right back in April that they’d seen “two years of digital transformation in two months.”

Yet, in line with our own experience in the industry, Gartner research shows that more than 50% of organisations have not yet actively started a roadmap for supply chain digitisation.

So why are some companies so reluctant to adopt? Are there benefits to staying analogue or paper-based? Or is it just that the benefits of adoption haven't yet been taken into account?

Finding the value in “non-cashables”

The bottom line is that a good digital process helps companies maintain and even increase productivity and efficiency. This is valuable even in fair weather times, but invaluable during a crisis as we’ve seen this year - the ultimate test.

So the merit of digitisation is time-based. Let’s face it, there’s only so much margin for profit to be squeezed out of physical commodities so the answer to monetising digital is in finding value in “non-cashables” such as time.

Being able to do more in less time is profitable in itself. It’s the ultimate non-cashable commodity which can be truly realised across all industries and using digital processes enables businesses to leverage as much as possible from every transaction.

The truth is, it’s the only way to continue to sustainably make savings across sourcing and delivery of a service or product.

Yet going digital doesn’t have to be costly or complex. Perhaps these misconceptions are the barrier to widespread adoption - but there is an array of procurement technology at all spend levels to help businesses reach digital maturity. What’s more, much of it exists in a modular format meaning companies can buy in at an entry-level and scale up at their own pace.

Digital transformation needs to pay for itself. So it’s key to remember the concept of “non-cashables” and look at how to create value from the time your team spends at work. At the very least, something like digitising quote requests is a low-cost, easy entry point which leads to significant increases in productivity. After all, sending/receiving requests for quotes manually is a time-consuming process and the cost of labour is high. Automating quote requests can be set up in less than an hour.

A business partner of the future?

Perhaps the most exciting angle of digitisation in procurement is when the technology is used further afield than simply contributing to the bottom line. Sophisticated digital tools can not only help to automate regular processes and optimise productivity, but also provide wide reaching data analysis. Use this wisely and you have a powerful strategic business partner on your side.

Technology which improves efficiency of service and creates time within your teams will pay dividends. Utilising the strategic insight provided by these tools will allow you to find your competitive edge.

The biggest difference this can make is in ensuring your business remains growth-orientated, even in such tough economic times. Using digital to streamline processes and provide business insights allows your company to become scalable in a way which is hard to replicate manually.

The lessons of this year are clear: companies need to be agile, mobile and resilient to survive - and the secret to success is digital.

To find out how Maistro is helping businesses transform their service spend using digital, book a call with one of our team.

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