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Ivalua’s New Year wishes for the procurement solutions and services marketplace 2022

12/13/2021 By

For several years now, Spend Matters has been collecting and publishing a series of predictions about procurement, supply and services trends for the year ahead from expert tech and service providers in the market. This year, given the unpredictability of events throughout 2020/21, we have been asking solution and services providers about their ‘wishes’ for the year ahead instead.

We’ve framed the ‘wishes’ around how they’d like to see their markets evolve, whether that be in terms of software or service, workforce or talent, suites vs best of breed or even the evolution of partnerships and ecosystems. Themes this year tend to be about sustainable procurement (thinking about COP26 and ESG — see our series on ESG here), antifragility versus the resilience we heard a lot about last year, and optimizing decisions with supply chain analytics and scenario modeling software. However, as you’ll see from some of the answers, we still can’t get away from the urge to form predictions, which is understandable given that many firms are busy aligning next year’s activities with what they forecast!

Our series of wishes will run from mid-December to early January, then our analyst Bertrand Maltaverne will wrap up with his own take on the key themes that emerge.

In no order of preference, other than by the date they dropped into our digital letterbox, today let’s hear the three wishes/predictions for 2022 from:

Ian Thompson, UK General Manager at Ivalua, unified source-to-pay suite provider and one of Spend Matters 50 To Know:

1. Shortages could mean a move away from just-in-time culture

Ripples from the pandemic, energy price surges and a lack of HGV drivers will continue to drive shortages in 2022. Organizations and consumers must be prepared to face more limited choices. For example, there may be 4 options for olive oil instead of 20 in the supermarket, all sold at a marginally higher price. But, having fewer choices could present a more sustainable way for 7 billion people across the world to live together.

With less saturation and competition driving down costs beyond what’s reasonable, organizations and suppliers can move away from ‘just-in-time’ supply chain models that reward squeezing suppliers on productivity and cost. Instead, this is a golden opportunity to focus on long-term ways to add value such as improving sustainability, confirming responsible labor practices and collaborating on higher-quality products.

2. We’ll see more supply chain flexibility in the wake of “grey swan” events

It’s been a dramatic start to the decade. Organizations have faced multiple ‘black swan’ events. But, moving forwards we’re likely to see smaller, more frequent disruptions caused by shortages, geopolitical events and ripples from ongoing crises, such as the pandemic. Organizations should take their learnings from recent disruptions and ensure they are arming themselves with the technology, people, and mindset needed to ensure their supply chains are flexible enough to react.

This means improving visibility into suppliers and their capabilities to enable collaboration, and thinking outside the box to meet demand and create innovative new products. We’ve already seen this during the pandemic as L’Oréal pivoted to produce hand sanitiser for hospitals and care homes, and decathlon utilized 3D printing technology to convert scuba masks into ventilators. On the latter, we’ll see more suppliers utilize 3D printing to broaden their capabilities and work with firms to create innovative products that solve problems as they arise.

3. Organizations will be held to account for greenwashing or poor labor practices

In 2022 greenwashers will be held to account, as the green claims code will check environmental claims and ensure organizations comply with existing laws on unfair commercial practices and don’t mislead consumers. This is part of a shift where companies don’t just have to be seen doing the right thing, they have to substantiate it – particularly as the public and government apply pressure on companies to reduce carbon emissions.

The Modern Slavery Act in the UK is also set to begin imposing millions in fines, and even prison sentences in some cases, for poor practices in supply chains. As such, organizations must bolster their ESG strategies to drive meaningful change and reduce the risk of non-compliance. To make this a reality, procurement must get smarter. Crucially, organizations must have adequate data to identify and avoid partners with unethical labour practices. They require 360-degree visibility of their immediate suppliers, sub-tier suppliers and subcontractors. To do this, organizations must have the right tools in place to ensure the reliability of data, and facilitate timely and effective decision-making. Otherwise, instances of poor labour standards can easily slip through the net and put organizations at risk of collapse.

Thanks to Ivalua, and look out for more solution and services providers wishes/predictions over the next few weeks, with an overall take on the series from our analysts at the end. See more vendor predictions and wishes here with our analyst commentary from last year.

If you are looking for procurement technology to help with your wishes for 2022, try out Spend Matters TechMatchSM to benchmark and shortlist providers 

And if you are looking for procurement services providers to help you with your 2022 decisions, look no further than our Procurement Services Market Landscape Directory.