© ibreakstock | Dreamstime
Supply Chain Professionals Facing Workplace Challenges

Supply Chain Professionals Facing Workplace Challenges

Jan. 27, 2023
Automation and artificial intelligence will be key drivers for procurement teams in 2023 says new study.

The pressure of inflation is showing up in supply chain management as research, 2023 Voices of Sourcing, by Keelvar, found that 91% of supply chains are feeling its impact in the form of increased pressure on procurement teams to cut costs.

“Global volatility and inflation have placed procurement teams in the center of volatility,” said Alan Holland, founder and CEO of Keelvar, in a statement. “Something needs to give -- organizations can’t keep cutting headcount and resources and expect their supply chains and bottom lines to remain intact. Instead of cutting back, leading organizations are investing in AI, workflow automation and other emerging technologies to enable existing teams to navigate the unexpected and be more productive.”

One way to address the inflation-fueled drive to control spending is through technology. Automation and artificial intelligence will be key drivers for procurement teams in 2023, given many organizations are operating with reduced manpower, the report finds.

Research on the workforce found that:

  • 86% of procurement and sourcing teams saw an increase in their workload last year despite headcount remaining mostly stagnant.
  • 72% said overcoming a declining or flat workforce remains a top priority.
  • 55% reported higher levels of stress and/or burnout from doing more with less.
  • 89% are banking on automation to reduce time spent on manual tasks.

The combination of heavy workloads and fewer resources is leading to an increase in risky behavior: 24% of procurement teams are cutting corners to ensure supply, and 22% are purchasing outside of approved supplier lists.

“Procurement and sourcing teams were short-staffed before the market chaos. Leaders must invest in their people and equip their teams with technology to automate tasks and drive better outcomes,” said Holland. “The future of work will be enabled by automation and driven by investment in people, and organizations that can’t see this will lose talent and get hit hard when the market abruptly changes.”

Additional highlights from Keelvar’s s research include:

  • Implementing solutions to manage rogue spend will be critical to combat rising costs. Almost half of all respondents saw their supplier costs increase by 10% or more, and over 62% are putting pressure on suppliers to reduce costs. Forty percent cite automation as key to eliminating rogue spend and getting costs under control.
  • Automation remains central to navigating today’s market. Procurement and sourcing professionals say automation reduces time spent on manual tasks (88%), creates extra time for more strategic initiatives (86%), removes the risk of human error in sourcing events (72%), and improves visibility for better market insights (70%).
  • Geopolitical and worldly challenges are spiking disruption. Over 65% felt financial and operational impacts from China’s COVID-19 lockdowns, while over 40% felt a financial and operational impact from the Russia-Ukraine war. Over 71% of respondents listed managing geopolitical risk as an important priority.

Latest from Labor Management

#171785560 © Mark Gomez | Dreamstime
DOL Announces New Actions  to ProtectH-2B Workers
# 170547495 © VectorMine| Dreamstime
Labor Skills Needed for the Future