65% say pandemic has increased the importance of supply chain agility

Almost two-thirds - 65 per cent - of finance, procurement and supply chain professionals said the pandemic has increased the importance of supply chain agility, according to research commissioned by Ivalua.

Ivalua are a California-based provider of cloud-based spend management solutions.

The research conducted by analyst firm Forrester, surveyed 454 professionals throughout North America, Europe, and APAC.

The survey also found that 85 per cent of respondents said their organisation’s executive leadership recognises procurement’s role in revenue growth.

Half of organisations are increasing investment in procurement due to COVID-19, with only 23 per cent decreasing it according to the survey.

Ivalua’s findings also said 72 per cent of respondents believe that overly dispersed data is limiting the overall value gained from technology solutions, while 70 per cent blamed embedded best practices, and same percentage blamed unactionable data.

Three-quarters – 75 per cent – of respondents said topline growth is being limited by procurement systems that are too rigid to support new ideas, while 71 per cent blamed processes and systems that do not enable effective supplier collaboration, and the same percentage blamed a lack of integration among source-to-pay systems.

The study also covered how procurement tools and data quality have affected inventories during the pandemic.

Almost half - 47 per cent - of organisations experienced cancelled or lost orders because of inflexible procurement tools and low data quality, while 45 per cent faced reduced revenue, and 44 per cent faced reduced profit margins.

The survey also found that almost 49 per cent of organisations said they were penalised by a third-party marketplace for missing service level agreements (SLAs) at least once a month, while 47 per cent experienced overstock at a particular location monthly, potentially adding to storage fees and incurring additional costs.

As part of their attempts to restore revenue growth, 45 per cent of organisations surveyed said they are aiming to improve supply chain responsiveness and reliability, while 42 per cent aim to reduce product costs, and 40 per cent aim to accelerate time to market for new products.

The survey also found almost half - 49 per cent - of procurement organisations are implementing technology aimed at improving information sharing and communication, while 48 per cent are using technology aimed at providing better visibility into the timeliness of payments.

“For many organisations, procurement was crucial to keeping supplies flowing during the pandemic and minimising the impact on profitability,” said David Khuat-Duy, corporate chief executive at Ivalua. “But at many, COVID-19 exposed weaknesses in outdated procurement processes, tools, and data that limited agility and impacted decision-making.”

“Now is the time to digitalise procurement and use it as a growth driver. This means using data to find new revenue streams and unlock supplier-led innovation.”

He added: “If procurement leaders don’t overcome technology challenges now, they risk missing growth opportunities and ensuring resilience for the future.”

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