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Top 4 Procurement and Supply Chain Trends in 2021

Increasing diversity, transparency, and technology are just a few of the most important procurement and supply chain trends in 2021. And, while we have come a long way since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we still continue to face supply chain disruptions. Having an understanding of these trends will give your company an edge when it comes to navigating any potential challenges for the year.

The supply chain and procurement industry is constantly changing. This can make it a rather difficult task to implement trends, however, it’s not impossible. SpotSource is helping customers make headway to achieve a number of rising trends in the supply chain and procurement industry.

Trend 1 – Continued Disruption from COVID-19

In 2020, COVID-19 disrupted supply chains around the world. The pandemic exposed the fragile nature of international supply chains. And, the impacts of the pandemic will continue to be felt throughout 2021 as companies’ supply chains continue to recover.

supply chain trends - covid-19 disruption
Source: Accenture

We’ve seen firsthand how SpotSource can help reduce supply chain disruptions and help build a resilient supply chain operation. At the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our platform helped a global FCMG company quickly identify external manufacturers that could produce a critical antibacterial product.

Prior to working with SpotSource, this company didn’t have that capability. They were able to use our tool to identify partners around the world to expand capacity for critical products that had a dramatic increase in demand.

Strategies for a more resilient supply chain:

  • Build additional buffers of inventory
  • Develop multisourcing strategy
  • Diversify your manufacturing network
  • Be able to navigate your manufacturing partners

Trend 2 – Increasing Diversity Among Suppliers

Supplier diversity is more important than ever before. The Black Lives Matter movement has created an awakening and a demand for change. Fortune 500 leaders are under pressure to accelerate their diversity and inclusion efforts not only amongst their own employees, but also with their suppliers.

The goal to increase diversity on all fronts has the senior backing of many companies like Nike and HP leadership. They have put out a number of D&I goals.

The opportunity around this trend is to go beyond just ownership diversity and to look at other parts of diversity within your company. It’s important to have tools in place that help people make decisions with diversity in mind. SpotSource is doing just that by giving companies the ability to manage their partner roster and by helping others in service areas better understand the nuances of their decision.

It’s important to understand that this trend is here to stay. It’s crucial that your company finds a way to develop impactful supplier diversity initiatives.

See how SpotSource is helping to implement Nike and HP’s diversity and inclusion initiatives by keeping track of supplier data across areas such as: 

  • Ownership diversity along with certifications
  • Supplier staff diversity breakdowns
  • Commitment to pay and compensation equity
  • Practices and policies to support diversity 
  • Dashboard reporting, and so much more

Trend 3 – Better Transparency 

Decision makers across your company need transparency to compete in the future. The truth of the matter is if you don’t act quick to implement this trend you will be behind. An easy way to do this is by empowering your employees. Give them the necessary tools to make the best data-driven decisions.

One of the things we’ve seen over and over again is Fortune 500 companies allowing their employee’s to make decisions based off of very little information. Every company we speak to seems to be using spreadsheets to manage hundreds or thousands of suppliers. These spreadsheets are overwhelming. And, they lack the contextual data preventing you from making the best decision possible.

SpotSource is digitalizing partners and adding crucial information to drive transparency around those service providers to help people make better decisions faster. In three months, our platform can revolutionize the way you find your partners. SpotSource brings your spreadsheet to life, giving you the ability to easily find the best fit approved partner, at the best price, and with the right quality.

Trend 4 – Utilizing Technology

supply chain trends - technology

In the past few years, there has been major progress in the fields of advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, drones, and so much more.¹ Layering these technologies into your supply chain will only allow you to build a stronger and more resilient network.

Here are a few specific technology trends on the rise that your company should consider implementing.

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Data analytics
  • Predictive analytics
  • Block chain
  • Robotics

These technological innovations are making a huge impact on the supply chain and logistics industry. While all of these technologies should be on your radar, it’s important to get a grasp on what technology will provide you value in the short term.

Questions you should ask when researching potential partnerships:

  • What technology or software solutions have the ability to help you today?
  • Are they aligned with your priorities in terms of technology?
  • Will the technology help you make better decisions?

SpotSource – Transform Your Service Supplier Management

SpotSource is an enterprise cloud platform that digitizes internal service supplier data and processes, validates supplier service offerings, and collects internal ratings, all of which help transform decision making and improve supplier management.

SpotSource uses AI, data analytics, and predictive analytics to bring service procurement into the 21st century.

Learn more about SpotSource here.

Final Thoughts

There is no denying that technology is the future of the supply chain and procurement industry. It is through technology that you will be able to implement all the trends mentioned in this article and build your most resilient supply chain yet.