Procurement technology developments are accelerating in the sustainability arena, acting as a catalyst for improvements across the digital procurement solutions market.
Lance Younger talks to Oliver Hurrey from the Sustainable Procurement Pledge about sustainable procurement digitalisation.
What does sustainable procurement mean to you and where to get started?
Firstly, procurement has a huge and immediate opportunity to the shape the infamous triple bottom line of environment, economic and social impact (as championed by John Elkington). Few functions have this opportunity, few functions are at the centre of supply chains, value networks and supplier ecosystems as much as procurement.
Secondly, procurement leaders have the right mindset and ambition to be able to do this, we also have the right core processes to influence and deliver this. From specifying and sourcing the right products and services to protecting and assuring the supplier ecosystem through supplier management.
We have to act now with both speed and scale, and I believe that software, technology and data are fundamental to this.
What are the two to three recommendations for the use of technology in sustainable procurement?
Step back and create your strategy and plan. Then, decide which area you are going to lead in, compete in or just meet minimum / regulatory standards. This is incredibly important not only to differentiate you but also so that you are all in, in an area that truly matters to the business and you. It also helps to be clear what you are not going to do so that you can focus your time and resources.
Next, accelerate your digital procurement journey to achieve the maximum sustainable impact. Use core source to pay applications to drive the core procurement activities, improving them to incorporate sustainable procurement activities like lowering barriers of entry for SMEs, responsible terms and conditions.
Then use niche micro services and apps to go deeper within a category of spend or key capability where the Return on Investment and Impact is faster and more meaningful and more aligned to your sustainable procurement goals. Whether it is platforms of collective intelligence, the use of blockchain to track the origin of diamonds or the provenance of raw materials, the use of mobile phone for geo-spatial data, new business models to incentives through supply chain finance and payments to the use of AI or machine learning with huge new, dynamic data sets. The potential is huge to create digital procurement platforms that have true purpose.
It’s incredibly exciting that we can all think big, act fast and scale fast based on the technologies that exist now. This is key to achieving a sustainable step-change. Now is the time to for us altogether push further than we have all done before.
For more visit www.spp.earth and join the Sustainable Procurement Pledge as an ambassador.