A recent whitepaper co-authored by CIPS considers what the supply chain industry will look like in fifteen years – and how that will affect the role of procurement professionals

How do you imagine your role will look in fifteen years’ time? What about the procurement process within your organisation? Or the supply chain industry as a whole? Accurate predictions may not be possible but a recent whitepaper is starting this conversation.

‘The Future of Supply Management’ is a significant piece of academic research produced by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), the University of Liverpool and Aston University, Birmingham. It asks big questions about what the future has in store for the procurement profession – and suggests some answers.

In a 2018 article about the whitepaper entitled ‘What does the future supply chain look like?’, Interim Group Chief Executive of CIPS*, Gerry Walsh, introduces two scenarios outlined in the whitepaper: Titans and Networked.

In the Titans scenario, the supply chain landscape will polarise to two extremes, with a small number of large and powerful organisations alongside many small organisations. The widespread adoption of additive manufacturing (3D printing) and servitisation will transform supply chain. Commercial exchange will have an important role and decision-making will be blind to brand and sustainability unless algorithms explicitly account for such factors.

The Titans scenario has enormous economic and environmental implications, and data security will be a huge risk. In contrast, the Networked theory predicts that market power will be more evenly distributed among organisations, with network co-ordination and network strategising at the fore. Transparency, accountability and consultation with stakeholders will also be valued.
There are challenges and opportunities for procurement professionals in both scenarios.

Read the complete ‘What does the future supply chain look like?’ article

As originally seen in ‘The Future of Procurement’ published by Raconteur Media on 20th June 2018 in The Times.

*Group Chief Executive is now Malcolm Harrison