Shapeshifter: How Technology is shaping the Profile of Procurement and Supply Chain Talent

Technology and supply chains are more fundamentally linked than ever before. Clients are increasingly diversifying their investment strategy to keep up with this change, investing in everything from large data storage platforms and related analytics, to e-sourcing, e-purchasing, and AI.

However, with heavy investment in technology also come new risks. In this bright new world, the risks are not always well identified or mitigated, and cyber security has become a major focus for clients considering their own technology needs and the needs of suppliers and vendors. But cyber security extends beyond concerns about system breaches. More fundamentally, it is about the interconnectivity between people, process, and technology. As a result, clients are increasingly monitoring all aspects of end-to-end process, as it is recognised that the biggest threat is not from within, but outside.

Such trends have made clients look carefully at the skills and experience across the end-to-end procurement and supply chain. Their scrutiny has revealed talent gaps in this new world of technology. When working across this talent landscape, one of the ways searches often begin for VPs and Senior Directors, is helping clients re-write Job Specifications, and redefining the skills and experience required for the role. Identifying the new technology savvy professional who understands the commerciality and connectivity of the changing landscape, and the risk framework that comes with it, requires an experienced partner.

With around 160 days until Brexit, a volatile currency landscape has also impacted clients with an international Procurement and Supply Chain as they try and plan for the unknown. Whilst this continues to be a driver, clients have also taken the opportunity to look at suppliers and vendors, warehousing operations and locations, and improvements on fulfilment. This is especially important in light of the ever increasing consumer demand for speed of access. As many companies are weighing whether to move their supply chains out of the UK, labour markets are likely to be impacted, and concerns are growing within organisations that procurement professionals will have a tough time making adjustments.

It seems only fitting to end the article with one of the biggest shapers of the relationship between technology, procurement, and supply chain … that is the consumer’s increasing desire for transparency. The consumer’s desire to know where a product originates from is continually increasing.  Issues such as environmental impact, the treatment of workers, ingredients and components, quality, ethics, and safety, all need to be transparent as consumers become more demanding.

The technologies associated with this demand are not fundamentally new, but they are being refined and used more frequently. Product labelling has been transformed by microscopic electronic devices, genetic markers for agricultural products have been developed, and a new generation of bar codes that can be read with standard mobile phones have made an appearance. Combined with the internet and transformation in data storage, tracking the origination and content of components is becoming more sophisticated and will keep improving over time.

This year, the growth for senior Procurement and Supply Chain professionals has grown (up 67% in 2017). Norman Broadbent have responded to increasing client demands with a dedicated Practice and a unique integrated solution allowing clients to access Insight into the market, as well as a range of talent solutions across permanent and Interim leadership appointments

If you would like to discuss this topic in greater detail or find out more about how we can help you, please do not hesitate to contact us for an initial and confidential conversation. For more details contact James Peskett  on +44 (0) 20  7355 6936 or