Business Strategy

Planning for the future with digital procurement

November 24, 2020 | Suhina Lal

“What will the future look like?” has become the question of 2020. At this year’s OESA Automotive Supplier Conference, industry experts and senior automotive executives joined virtually to discuss how the industry will continue as it settles into a new norm and focuses on the future once again. Following the event’s theme of “Journey Back to the Future,” the 3-day conference consisted of a variety of conversations that included the industry impact of the coronavirus, the industry outlook, and the advantages of digital procurement.

You’re only as strategic as your people, processes, and technology

One of the sessions that stuck with us was led by Elaine Coffman, the president of Lockton Michigan, who talked about the strategic considerations for benefits, absence, and risk management. She discussed why it’s important for organizations to focus on how to finance and find the best strategies for saving.

Related: Managing MRO spend: overcome challenges, strategize data, and be a step ahead with next-generation technology

She went on to explain that “You really want to look for who’s got vetted end-to-end solutions pre-built for savings and you want to drive technology integration. Most of the savings are going to come from many different things and it starts to all add up.”

There are benefits of having a full suite of spend management solutions. Especially when it comes to indirect spend, it can be difficult to navigate all the sectors of an organization that are impacting a company’s costs. That’s why it’s vital to use a spend analytics solution to increase visibility, control, and savings opportunities. Once the right processes and technology are put into place, an organization will be able to be more strategic with its spending and savings decisions. With an end-to-end integrated solution, you can drive cost savings, visibility, and efficiency gains throughout the procurement process.

It’s time to transition towards a more automated and efficient process

In another session, Wolf-Henning Scheider, CEO at ZF Friedrichshafen, discussed digital transformation and how it’s been impacted by the recent pandemic.

“Due to COVID-19, companies realize that they need new digital tools. Technology is speeding up,” Scheider explained. “We are transitioning our systems and tools to create a more automated and efficient process for our organizations. It is important to start thinking about what manual processes we have to get rid of in order to save money.”

The transition to an automated process allows procurement teams to spend less time on tedious and tactical activities and leaves more time to drive strategic value.

When looking at procurement organizations, emerging technology, especially AI, impacts all parts of the source-to-pay process. For sourcing, data-driven analysis can help identify optimal suppliers and reduce time to contract. For buyers, AI improves the procurement workflow, making it more efficient and giving them better insights. Finally, AI-powered spend analytics can surface savings opportunities to help you make more informed decisions.

When it comes to digital procurement, the automation and integration of new technologies are changing the game. As we look to the future, it’s clear that a transformation has to take place. Now is the time to choose the right end-to-end solutions, simplify your procurement processes, and create strategic value for your business.

Want to learn more about setting your organization up for spend management success in the future? Watch our on-demand webinar to hear American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM), a leading automotive manufacturer, discuss its journey to visibility and savings.