7 business procurement trends you need to know

The 7 trends that will impact the future of procurement for business

COVID has thrown a bright light on procurement, with global accessibility issues affecting supply chains and lockdowns changing workplaces. At the same time, new opportunities are arising – as digitisation and work from home fuel even more workplace innovation. Amid this change, it’s never been more important for procurement professionals to understand how the evolving landscape will impact their roles, their businesses and their teams.

There will be opportunities to shine in talent recruitment

There are great career opportunities ahead for talented procurement professionals as workplaces look to overcome labour shortages. According to specialist recruiter Robert Half, 54 per cent of Australian business leaders think it will be more challenging to find qualified employees in 2022 compared to pre-pandemic conditions, and 47 per cent believe the pandemic has increased the skills shortage in Australia.

“Even with the gradual return of international migration this year, the shortfall of skilled talent entering the market over the past two years will take at least the same amount of time to recover, if not more,” says Nicole Gorton, Director, Robert Half. “This reaffirms the need for Australian businesses to shore up their attraction and retention strategies to strengthen their domestic talent supply, as well as investing in skills development to address skills gaps over the long-term.”

Against this backdrop, companies with strong value propositions will be better positioned to find the best talent. It will be more important than ever for every organisation to create robust strategies for employee wellbeing. An important part of that is bringing your talent together around food and events, and ensuring you have top-notch tools and resources to support staff.

Digital will shape the future

In a world where most purchasing experiences are available with a click, customers and employees alike are searching for ever better systems and processes for faster purchasing. Notes KPMG: “The procurement organisation of tomorrow will likely need to evolve from purchasing and sourcing to enabling a seamless digital experience.”

To compete in this new world, suppliers, customers and organisations will need to seamlessly integrate and be empowered through digital platforms, analytics, leading workforce capabilities and an agile working model.

KPMG, The Future of Procurement

Demand for ‘Australian made’ will skyrocket

Issues with overseas supply chains will see demand for Australian-made goods increase during 2022 and beyond, says corporate educator Helen Sabell. And with 52% of Australians showing a preference for Australian-made goods and 89% believing that more goods should be produced here1, there are significant opportunities for supply chain professionals in 2022. If there is a pivot to an Australian manufacturing process, career opportunities for Australian professionals in the supply chain industry will also be boosted.

1 Roy Morgan, 2019

Helen Sabell, The Importance of Australian Made

The ‘return to work’ will drive the reimagination of procurement

As workplaces navigate a return to work and a shift to full-time ‘work from home’ or hybrid models, procurement and accounts payable teams will need to think multi-dimensionally about the challenges ahead. Seamless digital management of all suppliers – where multiple team members can access the same system and data – will be more important than ever. For those returning to physical office spaces, ramping up business shopping in the simplest and most cost-effective way will be crucial, particularly given the central role food often plays in employee wellbeing.

“Food plays a crucial role in bringing people together in the workplace – whether it’s providing snacks for meetings or nutritionally balanced lunches to encourage teams to get together and connect after a long time working apart”

Felicity Curtain

There will be a big shift to third party-centric procurement

Today’s supplier interactions are largely tactical and lack any real insight or platform integration, notes KPMG. “That’s why the future of procurement is dependent on creating a new operating model to support third-party centricity; one which drives supplier and third-party performance and relationships to a new level while fostering innovation and mitigating risk.”

“That’s why the future of procurement is dependent on creating a new operating model to support third-party centricity” 


Some key questions to ask include: Are your suppliers in tune with your business objectives? Are you getting what you paid for?

States KPMG: “Analytics and data play a role here to help measure performance, identify opportunities, mitigate risk and help move your organisation from being reactive to one that is proactively engaged with both the business and its suppliers.”

KPMG, The Future of Procurement

Procurement professionals will have opportunities to grow

Due to the 2020 import bans into China, demand for manufacturing will shift to either Australian manufacturers or other countries in Asia or Europe, says corporate educator Helen Sabell. “Procurement professionals will need to adapt, refocusing on sourcing new suppliers, liaising with legal or government bodies and updating areas of the supply chain such as logistics and contracts with new suppliers. All this is likely to have flow-on effects in terms of the costs and timeliness of sourcing goods.”

Helen Sabell, The Importance of Australian Made

Ethical procurement will be a ‘must have’ not a ‘nice to have’

For the first time, sustainable procurement has become a top 10 priority, according to The Hackett Group’s flagship Key Issues Study. “In the past, sustainability meant little more than complying with regulations. Today, it generates business value through reduced costs, risk management and improved brand value … many companies have disclosed aggressive targets that need to be fulfilled.”

As a consequence, working with partners that can help you meet your ESG goals will become increasingly important, particularly for large, listed companies where activist shareholders are closely scrutinising supply chains and the ethics of third-party suppliers.

Source: The Hackett Group