The Catch-22 of Qualified Procurement Talent

Your supply chain is a fickle beast—it requires an administrator who understands the subtle and not-so-subtle quirks and complexities than can exhibit from day to day. However, the demand for these talented professionals far outweighs the supply, and, with each passing year, qualified procurement specialists are becoming a rarer find.

The Talent Candle Burns at Both Ends

One of the major crises facing the procurement industry at the moment is the shocking lack of qualified specialists. We’re all familiar with the popular anecdote of the entry-level job requiring years of experience—and that happens to be the actual situation many supply chains now find themselves stuck in.

This talent shortage is now striking at businesses from multiple fronts. As a result, the ability of companies to find and keep qualified supply-chain personnel is suffering.

Much of the existing qualified talent is slowly aging out of the position, requiring younger successors to take over. This problem stems from these same companies failing to take proper pre-emptive action to train from within. This would ensure that they are creating individuals with the needed skills. In lieu of this, however, they are instead seeking to hire new talent from an ever-diminishing pool of outside candidates.

On the other side of the issue, there have been massive changes in procurement and supply chain processes spurred on by the technological progress of the past two decades. The constantly evolving procurement procedures require talent with knowledge of this new technology and how to best utilize it. With fewer qualified individuals entering the field or being properly trained on this technology from within, there are now not enough procurement specialists to meet demand.

Employers Are Unwilling to Train or Implement New Technologies

To further compound this Catch-22, not only are employers facing a lack of talent with the desired knowledge and skills to utilize new industry-changing tech, they are unwilling to implement said technology due to their employees not knowing how to use it.

In 2018, Deloitte conducted their annual procurement survey and drew some surprising conclusions regarding upgrading technology. The report cited very low implementation of modern technologies into the procurement process, resulting in only 33% of procurement leadership respondents saying they believe their current strategies in digital procurement are having any meaningful impact on their overall objectives.

In their results, only one-third of procurement professionals were making use of beneficial developments like collaboration networks and predictive analytics. The report also observed this trend branching into other parts of the business. It cited technologies such as blockchain, AI, and robotics were being held off due to management’s concerns that such investments would not be properly utilized.

These advancements in the procurement process have an undeniable potential to improve efficiency while significantly reducing cost. Those businesses that are able to swiftly and effectively solve these talent problems and implement the necessary new technologies will undoubtedly gain a vast lead over their competition.

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