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Transforming Procurement with Technology for Value Addition

Transforming Procurement with Technology for Value Addition
The aftershocks of the Covid-19 pandemic left the supply chains around the world grappling to survive. Gaping loopholes in the traditional methods of operating the procurements arm of business activities have come to light. 
In this context, SAP and CNBC TV18 came together in a technological conclave to explore the possibilities that procurement can look at and leverage to emerge unshaken from the aftermath of the pandemic. 
The esteemed panel on this conclave discussed a few crucial questions that can unlock procurement's true potential - all through technology. 

Value Addition in Procurement 

Traditionally, procurement was looked at as just another arm of the business that assembled the resources needed for a business to function. However, the pandemic has forced the industries to reimagine the role of this function and convert it into an active enabler of business. Mr Rajesh Uppal, CIO- Maruti Udyog Ltd aptly said that transformation was happening in procurement both on the buyer and seller sides. 

Trends in Procurement Impacted by Contemporary Technology 

The disruptions that happened in the supply chains across the globe forced all industries alike to embrace new technologies in an accelerated manner. Data mining, analytics and reporting are just a few tools of technology used today in procurements to enhance efficiencies. Mr Navin Ahlawat of JSPL highlighted that for a traditional industry like steel, deploying technology for predictive maintenance and performance analytics of steel plants can prove to be invaluable for improving operational efficiencies. 

The New Normal for Procurement: Role of Technology 

Mr Ashwani Narang, VP, Intelligent Spend Group- SAP highlighted a report by the World Bank WEF, which established that while the physical economy of Asia is predicted to grow by 8% in the next few years, the digital economy is expected to grow by 20-25%. These figures make it clear enough: procurement will have ample access to technological solutions; the challenge lies now in adopting them effectively. 
He also highlighted how SAP's technological solutions could be leveraged for troubleshooting in the supply chain by creating an interconnected network with high visibility into mobilised resources and their traceability. 

Role of Procurement in the New Normal: How Procurement can be Future Ready 

The key lies in keeping alternative solutions ready and handy for procurement to truly be agile, said Mr Sharad Gargia, Group Chief Commercial Officer - Vedanta Ltd. Always having a multiplicity of options in hand empowers a business to be resilient. Additionally, he highlighted the importance of downstream integrations with associates and partners to streamline procurement operations. 
Testing out the robustness of old and new systems, tweaking them and then innovating during times of difficulty is the way out. 
Mr Navin Ahlawat added to the topic by highlighting the importance of automation in the procurement ecosystem. By automating mundane tasks, a lot of operational labour can be redirected into critical-thinking operations, iterated Mr Ashwani Narang. 

Addressing Data Accessibility and Other Roadblocks 

Mr Mansoor Akhtar, Head, Indirect Procurement, South Asia- Reckitt Benckiser stated that while data is accessible today to procurers through agencies and researchers that conduct periodic studies, surveys and programs, their credibility needs to be verified before tying up with them. Quality data is essential to making the right decisions. 
He also emphasised how digitalisation plays an important role in data accessibility. Mr Navin Ahlawat added to the discussion by emphasising customer-centric procurements through managing orders and inventory readiness in tandem with consumer demand. 
Today, there is a high potential of transforming the efficiency of the entire business by managing procurements smartly. Enabling procurement to catalyse the cascading operations through planning dynamically and deploying technological tools will help companies to manage unprecedented difficulties in the ecosystem better and deliver value to the consumers com what may. 
Discover SAP’s intelligent business solutions to transform your procurement function. You can also check out the recently released Whitepaper by the Indian Institute of Materials Management on the Future of Procurement Transformation in India 
 This is a partnered post. 
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