Pub Debate Result – So, Is Procurement Doomed or Saved?

pub signThanks to everyone who came to our Pub Debate on Tuesday night - This (Public) House Believes that Procurement is Doomed! - The digital revolution and other factors will make procurement functions a thing of the past by 2025.

We’ll be back next week with some of the arguments in more detail, but for now ... Stephen Allott and Jason Busch who proposed the motion argued that the digital revolution, whether it was Amazon Business or the UK government’s G-Cloud, is taking away the need for “expert” procurement people and allowing budget holders to deal directly with suppliers. There might be a role for procurement, but only if the profession changed significantly, and they were not convinced it would.

Garry Mansell, Managing Director of complex sourcing software provider Trade Extensions, opposed the motion, and argued that managing third-party spend is more important than ever (that was also emphasised by Peter Smith, arguing on the same side). However, Garry did suggest that procurement might morph into something more like “Supply Chain Management” and that an integrated view towards managing suppliers and supply chains (and indeed business operations) is the future of “procurement.”

Peter also made the argument that there are certain tasks, for example, cross organisational management of strategic suppliers, and driving the commercial capability for the whole organisation, that still need to be done even if some current procurement work gets devolved to users.

So, I hear you cry, who won? Well, by a majority of one, the Nayes had it!  Even closer than the recent general election ...  So the house decided, but only just, that procurement is NOT doomed.

More to come on this, and thanks to everyone who came along, and particularly to Stephen Allott for rushing back to the UK to speak, and to Garry Mansell, who not only spoke but sponsored the event.

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