An Interview on What Darwin’s Theory Can Tell Us About Procurement and Supply Chains with David Loseby
For this episode of the Supplier Experience Live podcast from HICX, we welcomed David Loseby. David is an advisor, author, speaker, and visiting scholar at the University of East Anglia. David describes himself as a ‘pracademic,’ or practitioner academic, having held various global CPO roles across a number of industries, including retail, FMCG, pharmaceuticals, aerospace and defense, manufacturing, and banking. His focus is on delivering change and transformation within organizations.
With David we discussed:
- An alternative approach to digital transformation
- Digital Darwinism and evolution within supply chains
- Adoption challenges and future of Procurement
An alternative approach to digital transformation
David starts the interview by reasserting the importance of definitions – ‘transformation’ is a term that often has different meanings for different people. It is essential, therefore, for an organization to become very familiar with its current state of affairs before embarking on any kind of transformation, as it will require a tailored approach.
“The reality is, you have to construct an approach that’s appropriate because some of that might very well be light touch,” he adds.
David explains how critical it is to listen and consider the opinions of all stakeholders, as they will not only be involved during the transformation process, but they will also have firsthand knowledge of the changes that are going to be most beneficial.
He has seen and experienced “many transformation programs launched before they’ve even listened to the organization, or the people impacted, and I think that’s probably a surefire way of disengaging or disenfranchising parties that are to be involved in a transformation,” he says.
David’s advice is to be as transparent as possible and explain what specific parts of the transformation will mean for each stakeholder individually.
“There are so many times where I’ve seen, particularly with large transformations, how the transformation is launched, yet many individuals who are impacted by it don’t fully understand what it means for them. I think that is a fundamental flaw in lots of change,” he warns.
Digital Darwinism and evolution within supply chains
In the podcast, David makes a comparison between Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and the digital evolution of supply chains. He explains that, by 2026, the digital economy and its systems are forecast to be worth over $3 trillion, up from $1.5 trillion today.
David advises organizations to be prepared and make changes now, rather than wait and be forced to adapt later on. He claims companies and their requirements are highly individual, as are the systems which are going to solve their problems.
“The whole concept of digital Darwinism is really predicated around the fact that this is going to happen over a very short space of time and certainly by the end of the decade. I think it’s almost like evolution on speed,” he says.
Adoption challenges and future of Procurement
One of the oft cited challenges to adoption of new technologies is that the people aspect is frequently disregarded.
David feels passionately about this and adds, “I think it’s interesting because when people say ‘we’re doing a digital transformation,’ their thoughts race to the idea that this is about IT, technology systems and so on, yet the biggest reason why organizations don’t get successful adoption within their organizations is the people factor.”
“The last big digital system that I put in with a 95%+ adoption rate was, I think, down to the fact that we really truly understood the individuals. We put in place a very ethical plan.”
On the future of Procurement, David believes the industry will be shaped by industry professionals with deep expertise, leading to the creation of centers of excellence in which they will be driving value and competitive advantage for their organizations.
“The reality is, I think we’ll end up with centers of excellence based around operational excellence and expertise. We’ll end up with a bunch of other people but we will be more predisposed to relationship management, strategic thinking and critical thinking,” he concludes.