An Interview on How Far Procurement Has Come Due to Technological Advancements with Canda Rozier
In this episode of Supplier Experience Live Podcast from HICX, we welcomed Canda Rozier, a Procurement Evangelist and Consultant. Canda gained her Procurement knowledge and expertise as a former CPO of several global organizations, before founding her own consulting company, Collabra Consulting, which is focused on procurement transformation, sourcing excellence, and cost improvement.
She also often contributes to sourcing industry publications, speaks at procurement conferences and events globally and is winner of the 2019 Sourcing Star Award of the SIG Future of Sourcing Award.
We had the pleasure of talking to her about:
- Trends she is seeing that are impacting Procurement today
- Challenges procurement leaders are facing and her approach to digital transformation
- The importance of data and the technological revolution
Procurement trends of today
Canda starts the discussion by highlighting the two types of trends impacting Procurement today:
- Macro trends: including COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruption, geopolitical instability, inflation and the rising cost of living
- Micro trends: such as ESG, sustainability, diversity and Procurement creating value for the organization other than cost savings
“So, there are all of those trends – and then there are the trends that I think many of us in the Procurement space are seeing increasingly as being part of those things that Procurement needs to focus on as a way to broaden the value proposition and to bring sustainable recurring value to their companies,” she adds.
Modern problems require modern solutions as Canda points out how today’s challenges could simply never be solved as they were in the past when companies primarily used spreadsheets, emails, and memos to manage their supplier relationships.
“I think that procuretech has absolutely become an important, if not critical enabler of success for procurement organizations today,” she says.
Procurement challenges and how to approach digital transformation
On the topic of the challenges that Procurement leaders are most faced with today, Canda highlights the importance of starting with the processes as they reveal further gaps. She claims it is important to take a step back and ask the following five questions:
- What are we trying to achieve?
- Where do we want to go?
- What does ‘good’ look like?
- Where are we now?
- What are our gaps?
It is only after those questions have been answered that organizations should tackle their challenges. They will almost always involve technological solutions, Canda maintains.
“There’s another challenge that often catches people by surprise which is how many technology solutions are available in the market today. […] It’s overwhelming because it’s easy to say, ‘Oh, I want all of it’. And again, it goes back to figuring out where you are and where you want to go. In reality, nobody needs all 400 (or whatever there are) solutions on those maps,” she states.
The next challenge procurement leaders must tackle is how to attract and retain talent with the right skill sets and attitudes, who understand the procurement landscape, and who are able to embrace change and disruption – and adopt it to thrive on the market.
As Canda explains, “It started as The Great Resignation and now it’s called The Great Shift, or some other clever name for that, where people are moving employers or are able to move rapidly from one company to another, and they’re not hesitating to do that.”
The final big challenge is that of digital transformation. Although it may sound contradictory, Canda says that the most successful transformations that she’s been a part of were the ones which started by the company recognizing that it is a broad transformation journey, rather than just Procurement, and that, to maximize success, they must involve at the very least the primary stakeholders – but ideally all of them.
“One of the challenges that I’ve seen in my career that sometimes gets overlooked is that, when you start this process, you have to make sure you include all of the stakeholders. I know that sounds sometimes impractical or daunting but a digital transformation journey for Procurement is not really about Procurement,” she states.
The importance of data and the technological revolution
Canda explains that the emergence of many new software solutions on the market which focus on data and that are able to combine challenges makes them able to tackle them, which was simply not possible in the past when processes were completed manually.
“It gets difficult to imagine how you would track all of those aspects of suppliers’ makeup and their lifecycle management, how you would manage that without robust solutions? Because, back in the day, when we were managing those things manually, we weren’t tracking much at all.”
The complexity of the Procurement ecosystem and supply chains has naturally increased due to both internal factors, such as organizations growing and operating globally; and external factors, such as the introduction of new regulations and laws, which only adds to the need for robust and modern solutions.
“For me, it’s trying to think about how you would manage this list of criteria about suppliers, both vetting them before you onboard them during the onboarding process, and then the ongoing lifecycle management, and sometimes off-boarding. If you didn’t have good solutions, I think it would be chaos,” Canda explains.
Finally, Canda is positive about the future of Procurement, as it shifts to being more of a strategic function, which she believes will only continue, with the focus on becoming a value partner for the company.
“I think that procurement has evolved significantly over the last five to ten years and that that transformation is absolutely going to continue. I think, in fact, it will probably accelerate. […] Procurement has moved further along the spectrum from being seen as just a tactical, purchasing function,” she concludes.