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What will Procurement look like in 2050?

As the recession bites around the world, procurement is once again in the forefront providing savings. I will not elaborate here as to how savings are defined. That is a topic that warrants its own discussion. But have you ever wondered what procurement might look like in 2050? We are all busy working through Procurement strategies, Category Management, Outsourcing, Total Cost of Ownership … the list is endless. But what next? When all of this is complete and every permutation has been looked at, what will the procurement fraternity look at next? In China today, people are being served in a restaurant by robots. Can the same not take place in procurement? Oh, but the Category strategy has not been looked at…did I forget to tell you, this may be totally irrelevant in 2050? Technology will play a major role in procurement. Transactional people will not be required. Strategists and visionaries only please! The procurement arena will be a handful of highly skilled international deal makers and influencers. There will be fewer suppliers with strategic vision and collaboration who will work closely with procurement. The procurement function will have changed from a push system to a pull system. Communications will take place via satellites and robots. Agreements will be made by the push of a button. “We haven’t looked at the Terms & Conditions.” Sorry, no Lawyers required. Robots will have enough Artificial Intelligence to be able to work through these or there will an International set of agreed Terms & Conditions. Satellites will communicate with robots and vice versa. Robots will communicate with people where required. So what will happen to procurement as we know it today? It will have changed. More time for leisure playing golf or spending time with the family. The society will become one of have and have nots. Only those with an all-round high skill set will survive. Being a procurement professional will no longer provide you with the monetary benefits that you seek. You will need to be an I.T expert, a lawyer, an engineer, a skilled negotiator etc. similar to a robot. Are you ready for the change?

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