The digital revolution has largely overlooked procurement

Procurement Still Falls Behind in Digitized Supply Chains, Says Accenture

“The digital revolution has largely overlooked procurement,” says Accenture.

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor · November 7, 2017

“The Future of Digital Procurement,” a new report released by Accenture, maintains that many supply chain managers are seeking to modernize this function, but may not have the tools to get started.

“The digital revolution has largely overlooked procurement,” says Accenture.

In its report, analysts examine how artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics add to the equation, thereby expediting digital procurement to produce better informed buying decisions, open new channels for engaging suppliers, and drive new efficiencies through smart automation.

The recently concluded Armstrong “3PL Value Creation Summit” in Chicago addressed many of the same concerns. Art Nourot, vice president of Carrier Procurement, at UNYSON, noted that as the industry becomes increasingly “digitized,” new demands are being made on 3PLs in North America.

“More transparency leads to greater efficiencies,” he said. “But at the same time, we must all be building better firewalls and find ways to keep our data secure.”

Meanwhile, many companies are racing to embrace digital to transform other key areas of the businesses. These include customer-facing ones such as marketing, sales, and service – all important supply chain functions.

“To date, procurement hasn’t commanded the same kind of attention or investment,” says Accenture. “True, companies have enthusiastically embraced eProcurement systems and even cloud-based procurement tools. But it’s time to move beyond simply replicating the same tedious procurement processes with new software. Leading companies are taking the next step and create a true digital procurement organization.”

According to Accenture, a true digital procurement organization automates repeatable 
tasks to boost efficiency and potentially drive down costs. It equips stakeholders across the business with real-time access to insights
 and easy-to-use online tools. It deploys new and smarter ways to infuse data models to enrich day-to-day operations and decision making. And it transforms how buyers interact with suppliers and other third parties by serving as
 a platform for new levels and types of collaboration.

In essence, digital procurement enables the “Amazon-like” experience employees now want—but currently aren’t getting—in the workplace.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at

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