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

12/23/2021 By

Another voice in our series of New Year wishes (rather than ‘predictions’) for the procurement, supply and services market for the year ahead (read more about it here) comes from Sarah Clarke, CMO at supplier collaboration and innovation platform Vizibl, one of Spend Matters 50ToWatch.

Our series runs from mid-December to early January; wishes come from expert tech and service providers in the market and at the end of the series our analyst Bertrand Maltaverne will wrap up with his own take on the key themes that emerge. Wishes are published in no other order than when they fall onto our digital doorstep.

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

My three wishes:

In my roughly 20 years spent serving the procurement and supply chain profession, never have I witnessed organizations being faced with so many challenges, on so many fronts. From mounting investor pressure and changing consumer demands, to global supply chain crises, rampant Scope 3 carbon emissions, and even a pandemic, recent years have seen the challenges to enterprise businesses grow and multiply exponentially.

If I could be granted three wishes – or rather realize three hopes – in 2022, we must all strive to do more, together:

1. We must be stronger together

Recent years have demonstrated just how sensitive to disruption businesses can be. Widespread supply chain crises – exacerbated by volatile geopolitical developments, lean just-in-time supply chains, and the Covid-19 pandemic – have wreaked havoc for businesses looking to ensure supply and safeguard their continuity of operations.

These challenges are not going away soon. With the emergence of the Omicron variant, we find ourselves facing yet more disruption, and a very stark reminder that we are still firmly mired in the Covid-19 pandemic. Alongside coronavirus, we face another existential threat to people, planet and business: the escalating climate crisis. Expanding natural resource shortages, intensifying regulatory pressure and escalating competition for scarce sustainable materials & logistics will present yet more hurdles for burdened businesses and stretched supply chains to overcome.

To weather the storm we must find opportunities to become more resilient. In these times of disruption and shortage of supply, it has never been more important to forge deep, secure relationships with key suppliers to become their customer of choice. Customer of choice status puts procurement in a privileged position with a given supplier, offering priority access to new innovation and existing IP along with preferential pricing, and encourages better co-operation and collaboration on supply chain sustainability initiatives.

2. We can go faster together

But increasing resilience alone won’t suffice. Businesses are also under pressure to find novel solutions to grow more rapidly, eliminating inefficiencies and waste along the way. In this situation, we must turn to innovation, science and technology to pave the way and save the day.

While it may be small comfort, the past 18 months have shown us how much we can accomplish – and at breakneck pace – if we collaborate to find solutions. When the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic on the 11th March 2020, very little was known about the virus – how to treat it, its long-term side effects for individuals, or the utter devastation it would wreak on fragile economies and global public health. Yet within 24 hours of the coronavirus genome being made publicly available, a vaccine development team at Oxford, England, led by Dame Sarah Gilbert and Dr Catherine Green, had designed a vaccine that would protect against its worst effects.

But their work wasn’t the end. We must also thank the scientists who conducted large-scale clinical trials, the regulators who found innovative ways to remove inefficiencies from complex approvals processes, and every actor in the supply chain required for its complex manufacturing, production and eventual deployment by AstraZeneca. That enormous collaboration is now saving millions of lives around the world, at cost.

The problem was gargantuan, and it needed to be remedied as rapidly as possible. Collaborative innovations in science and technology came to our rescue. In 2022 I hope businesses seek to apply this ‘many heads are better than one’ logic by collaborating with suppliers and partners to stamp out inefficiencies and find innovative solutions to their most challenging problems.

We need to do better together

Being stronger and going faster have always been mainstay ambitions of organizations. But now we must grow and accelerate in a way that is sustainable.

We are facing a very real, very fierce fight to protect people and planet. We are projected to overshoot the Paris Agreement’s target to limit global warming to 1.5C, and with the vast majority of corporate emissions originating in the supply chain, we stand no chance of meeting this goal unless we work together.

But emissions aren’t the only area in which we need to drive vast improvement: sustainability encompasses the entire ESG agenda. In addition to emissions we need to turn our attention to other impacts we have on the world around us. This includes stamping out any chance of child labor or modern slavery in our supply chains, striving for a global fair living wage, ceasing to rely on unsustainable, finite resources, minimizing and handling our waste better, and moving from a linear to a circular economy. These goals cannot be achieved in a vacuum, and they will not solve themselves without action.

The procrastinating needs to stop, and the balance must shift away from spending most of our time running the numbers over again and not actually doing anything. This change must be driven hard by all of us – not only as business professionals, but as individuals – citizens and consumers.

As we look to navigate increasingly turbulent times and captain our organizations through these challenges, collaboration will be king as we head into 2022 and beyond.

Thanks to Vizibl, and look out for more solution and services provider 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.

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.