How Current Trends Drive Tech Adoption and Better Ways of Working with Yash Rai
Table of Contents
In this episode of the Supplier Experience Live podcast, we spoke with Yash Rai, Vice President, Procurement and Supply Chain Solutions at The Smart Cube. Yash has over 14 years of experience working in the procurement domain. He loves the industry and is extremely passionate about technology and learning about best-of-breed solutions and capabilities.
In our conversation with Yash, we discussed the following:
- The top 3 trends in Procurement for Life Sciences in response to recent geopolitical risks
- How to benefit from best-of-breed technologies in Life Sciences Procurement
- New ways of working with enabling technologies and increased collaboration with suppliers
The top 3 trends in Procurement for Life Sciences in response to recent geopolitical risks
Our first topic of discussion was around some of the key trends in Procurement for Life Sciences that Yash has seen emerging in response to recent geopolitical risks. In our conversation, he explains what he sees as the top 3:
- Mitigating the impact of commodity price movements
- Supplier risk monitoring
- Increased agility, flexibility and agility in Life Sciences
Mitigating the impact of commodity price movements
Yash starts off by explaining that one of the hot topics right now for many of their customers at The Smart Cube is around how commodity price movements have impacted their clients’ spending constraints.
He says their clients need help in mapping spending for different commodities and forecasting future prices to lower the shock of price fluctuations. They are helping them to forecast, “what that spend in the future could look like by mapping relevant commodities and forecasting the prices and the impact.”
Supplier risk monitoring
The second biggest trend he sees right now is around supplier risk. This has been exacerbated by the new Supply Chain Due Diligence Act issued by the German government which requires companies to set up processes to identify, assess, prevent and remedy human rights and environmental risks both in their supply chains and within their own operations. Companies must also publish an annual report that outlines the steps they have taken to identify and address these risks.
Due to this, Yash says that they are getting a lot of requests to help with supplier risk monitoring. “Supplier risk monitoring is an everyday [topic] and getting a lot of traction,” he explains.
Increased agility, flexibility and agility in Life Sciences
Third, from the Life Sciences point of view, in the last few years, we have seen agility, flexibility and resilience that the whole industry needed to display in fighting the pandemic.
Yash explains, “Whether it’s doing R&D on the right treatment or vaccination for COVID, or getting those approved by different regulatory governments in a very short time period. Then commercializing the whole product and making sure you’ve got the right capacities, the right distribution partners, etc. And to then make sure that it gets to where it needs to be to fight the pandemic.”
He explains it was fascinating to see these developments, as it shows that, even though Life Sciences is a mature sector, it still has the ability to adapt and move fast when needed.
Yash continues, “To me it’s fascinating because it shows that Life Sciences has evolved and is taking care of new ways of working. For example, last week, there was a breakthrough with Alzheimer’s using MRA and therapies to fight cancer.”
“We have also seen how using virtual trials because of the pandemic has evolved, using artificial intelligence to look at analytical or clinical trial data.”
“So, I think those are some of the new trends that clearly show how Life Sciences as a sector is taking into account new ways of working, which has been great,” he concludes.
How to benefit from best-of-breed tech in Procurement within Life Sciences
Adopting the baseline of digitization
Yash points out that many companies have managed to adopt the baseline of digitization.
He explains, “They’ve all gone through what I call ‘baseline digitalization’ or ‘baseline tech adoption.’ Whether it’s Source to Pay (S2P), Procure to Pay (P2P), those kinds of technologies and tools.”
Phase two of digitization – leveraging best-of-breed technologies
He goes on to explain that with new trends of hyperinflation, and supply chain constraints, there is a focus on improving the current ways of working even further, “whether that’s delivering more savings, whether it’s improving productivity, improving user adoption or making sure that the user experience within the business is positive with Procurement.”
He continues, “I think this is where the opportunity for best-of-breed tools and technology comes into play. Because they focus on those specific needs. Whether it’s managing supplier risk, SRM (Supplier relationship management), focusing on procurement analytics, negotiation, or it’s just managing some of the tasks in a more automated fashion. That’s what, at least, I’m observing now within the Life Sciences sector.”
How to take advantage of technology in procurement
With the opportunity presented by new best-of-breed solutions in front of us, we asked Yash to give his thoughts on the next steps for companies to take advantage of this.
Procurement needs to become tech-ready
Yash explains that, firstly, Procurement needs to become tech-ready, which means they need to understand the role technology plays in the function.
Yash explains, “One thing that everybody in Procurement needs to understand is that, first of all, technology is an enabler. You need to have the right resources, the right vision and a road map dedicated to it.”
The challenge faced by many organizations is not building up the bandwidth alongside the day-to-day firefighting to be able to put enough attention on these areas.
Articulating the business case
Once you have the resources to really take advantage of these opportunities, the next challenge is articulating the business case around what to improve.
Yash says, “It boils down to how you implement the right solution. Reviewing what processes you want to change and what you want to automate. Then looking at how you articulate the business case. Because many companies struggle with that.”
Change management and scaling adoption
Finally, to fully take advantage of technology in Procurement you need people to use the solutions. This means focusing on change management, user adoption, having the right sponsorship throughout the company, and scaling.
Addressing the suppliers’ perspective in tech transformation
Next, we asked Yash about his thoughts on the importance of listening to suppliers’ perspectives when making these technological improvements.
As Yash explains, “If you look at, especially on the supplier relationship management (SRM) side, in the last few years, the level of investments that have gone into new companies, it shows that there is a very strong interest in this aspect.”
He talks to areas that are important to evaluate, “whether it’s looking at how you manage the relationship with the supplier better, how you onboard those suppliers in a fast, efficient manner, or how you manage the risk associated with those suppliers. There are multiple use cases within the whole supplier process management.”
New ways of working with enabling technologies and increased collaboration with suppliers
Concluding our conversation, Yash is excited about the future of Procurement. The current trends caused by the pandemic and recent geopolitical events have accelerated the move towards improving ways of working and leveraging technology.
Yash explains that the coming years appear just as daunting as the past few, “looking at all the macro events that could impact the current business as usual, such as with the Russia-Ukraine crisis, or how the China-Taiwan and all those geopolitical events turn out to be.”
To succeed you will need to ensure your procurement department is tech-ready. Have the right resources in place, understand your business needs and work with your suppliers to build solutions that drive value. Finally, focus on change management to ensure that the products will be adopted and used at scale.