The Future of Procurement – Our Hot Topic For A Hot Summer

Our pub debate last week was my last “event” of the pre-summer season. No more webinars, conferences speeches, workshops or the like until September now.

The amount of news stories with procurement connotations also declines over the summer, as does the likelihood of software firms making big new announcements. So to be honest, it is a bit more of a struggle to find exciting stories to write about day after day through the long hot summer.

We will therefore over the next six weeks or so have a look back at some articles from the Spend Matters archives – only those that still have applicability and are useful or interesting today, of course. But in addition, to keep everyone’s brains stimulated, we want to look ahead as well. So we will be having a series of articles all around a key theme – “the Future of Procurement”.

That’s not a new pre-occupation of course, no doubt back in Queen Victoria’s reign there was discussion about how the coming of the horseless carriage might affect the supply chain for crinolines and oil lamps. But it does feel like the subject has got new urgency in the last year or so as we begin to understand better the likely impact of digitisation on the procurement world – what will it do to our processes, jobs, people and strategies. We also saw the recent report from CIPS on that topic, and we will start with our views on that next week too.

As automation does more, what tasks and priorities will “procurement” have to focus on? Will we still have distinct “procurement” functions at all? If we do, what sort of people with what skills and knowledge will be needed to be effective? And what impact might issues outside technology, such as perhaps the possibility of a global trade war, have on procurement?

So we already have some excellent articles from guest commentators lined up. But we’d very much like to invite contributions from our readers. You can do that by commenting on the articles, or write something of your own. We’d love to get views from practitioners, solution providers, academics, consultants and perhaps most of all it would be excellent to have some contribution from people under the age of … 50? 40? Maybe 30 even?

Anything from 300-800 words is fine, we can help with editing and polishing (if your work needs it, of course, which it may not), so don’t be shy. Send your contributions to psmith (at)


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