Cutting edge

So often the benefits of automation are described in terms of headcount reduction. I’ve worked on enough projects to know that any cost savings achieved by cutting heads is dwarfed by a well executed procurement driven cost reduction programme. The starting number is bigger, the regulations around it are much lower so the speed and value of delivery are much greater.

A recent article by Harvard Business Review links automation to other benefits such as better data accuracy, improved compliance, reduced risk and, most interestingly, greater insight. By releasing people from mundane and repetitive tasks while arming them with data that their stakeholders really value, it claims that procurement can become a strategic function.

But what does “strategic function” actually mean? For me, it means that procurement are invited to shape the agenda, their views determine the outcome and ultimately are considered an essential to creating an organisation’s competitive advantage. Now wouldn’t that be nice!

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