The challenges you face and the skills that you need while improving your procurement function

Part one of our interview with experts on Middle East procurement.

 

 

The next-generation procurement professionals are building their procurement proficiency to handle the dynamic and volatile market. They are now taking data-driven decisions and are building sustainable business models engaging in deeper collaboration with suppliers with the help of technology, making these collaborations profitable to both the organization and its suppliers. The 6th Procurement Strategy Summit is the annual gathering of leading procurement professionals in the GCC to discuss next-gen methodologies and innovations in procurement.

 

The 6th Procurement Strategy Summit |10.-11. October 2018 |Dubai, UAE

 

The Fleming team sits down with Khalid Mohamed Abdelwahab (Executive Director – Strategic Sourcing and Supply | Savola, Saudi Arabia), Fatima Balfaqeeh (Procurement expert and independent arbitrator | UAE) and Samer Abdulraheem (Procurement Director | Novo Cinemas, UAE) to discuss:
1> What are the 3 main challenges faced while digitally transforming the procurement function?
2> What are the top 3 skills that a next-generation procurement professional needs?
3> How can the importance of the procurement function be improved as a critical part of a business plan?

  • Khalid Mohamed Abdelwahab
  • Executive Director – Strategic Sourcing and Supply
  • Savola, Saudi Arabia

What are the 3 main challenges faced while digitally transforming the procurement function?

While we all agree that the procurement as a function has changed tremendously in the last 10 years, yet we are still facing huge challenges in adapting with those fast paced changes. What is even scarier, is that the next 5 years will witness bigger changes than ever. The number one challenge I see is the lack of skills and resources. Most of our organizations – in the Middle East – are led by unskilled personal, and most of them are still using old and outdated software – if any – in their procurement. Cost of transformation is the second biggest challenge as in most organizations, procurement department budget is not growing to the level that will allow them to embrace and adopt technology. The third challenge – again in the Middle East – is related to the available local technology providers; most of them are not equipped with the skills to understand the different needs of the different organizations and they are working on a one-size-fits-all model. I must admit  that they are also faced with the fact that most of these organizations are not able to provide clean data that will help them customize their solutions to fit with the different requirements of the different organizations.

What are the top 3 skills that a next-generation procurement professional needs?

Of course PEOPLE are the most critical element in any transformation effort. Transformation is led by people and impacts people. So the success of any transformation effort will depend greatly on skills of people who are leading it and who are impacted by it. Assuming that procurement people have already acquired all the “Basic Procurement Skills”, the new age will call for new skills such as Entrepreneurial Skills with a digital mind set; Social Media and networking skills, and the skill of Data Mining, analysis and modeling. I believe those are the 3 most sought after skills nowadays when organization are recruiting for their digital transformation journey.

How can the importance of the procurement function be improved as a critical part of a business plan?

Business has always been looking at procurement as a supporting clerical function that takes orders from various other departments and executes them. We are now starting to see many big national & multinational companies changing this perception to a more of a Strategic Role. Many procurement leaders are now making a real difference in their organization by turning their departments from a reactive role to a proactive role which is making real difference in the way organizations are looking at procurement. Playing a Strategic Role in the organization, and being part of and involved in the organization overall strategy development is key to improve the importance of procurement as a function. Another important and critical action is the ability of the procurement teams to show their contribution to the business by providing Value, Availability and Technology (VAT) to their organizations.

  • Fatima Balfaqeeh
  • Procurement Expert and independent arbitrator
  • UAE

What are the 3 main challenges faced while digitally transforming the procurement function?

• Breaking old habits
• Automating indirect sourcing, especially if the organization deals with bespoke services or projects
• Getting the right technological tool that will best serve the organization, not all solutions will fit all the organizations

Identifying the right tool requires a strategic outlook on procurement's role in the organization and the mandate to be achieved.

What are the top 3 skills that a next-generation procurement professional needs?

• Adaptability
• Strategic thinking
• Financial awareness/knowledge

> How can the importance of the procurement function be improved as a critical part of a business plan?

Procurement must map themselves as trusted consultants to the organization to be able to advise on the business plan rather than being informed about it at a later stage. Procurement must create enough success stories in partnership with different end users in the organization in order to be able to positively collaborate in all key future strategic projects.

  • Samer Abdulraheem
  • Procurement Director
  • NOVO Cinemas, UAE

What are the 3 main challenges faced while digitally transforming the procurement function?

• Lack of overall corporate digitization strategy
• Procurement leadership / staff capabilities
• Staff resistance

What are the top 3 skills that a next-generation procurement professional needs?

• Relationship management
• Influencing others
• Creative thinking

How can the importance of the procurement function be improved as a critical part of a business plan?

The key question that procurement leaders should ask themselves: Is our procurement function aligned with the overall corporate strategy and business plans? If not then you are not a critical part of the organization. To be a critical part of the business you have to contribute to the vision and success of your organization. Procurement becomes a critical part of the organization when it becomes an added-value function; value add is not just about savings and cutting cost-procurement value add is a complete service offering that improves the business and influences stakeholders.

Join us at 6th Procurement Strategy Summit and use special promo code PROCURE200 and get more insights from professionals. *

* Promo code is valid until 28.9.2018