Businesses in the Middle East can become among the most competitive in the world by taking a bold approach to their procurement and supply chain strategies, according to industry leaders at today’s Procurement and Supply Chain MENA Forum.
The event, which took place today (Wednesday 30 October) at the Address, Dubai Marina, brought together more than 250 experts from across the region to discuss key issues and opportunities affecting the industry.
The squeeze on business profits because of increasing competitiveness provided an important backdrop to the event, but according to Sam Achampong, Head of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) MENA, forward-thinking companies should look to their procurement and supply chain strategies as a key differentiator.
In his keynote address on the topic, What Future Procurement Leaders Look Like, he said: “The application of comprehensive procurement and supply chain strategies has the ability to add real value to all aspects of a business including profitability, accountability, reputation, sustainability and corporate governance.
“Increasingly organisations in the region are embarking upon procurement transformation exercises which, upon maturity, will stand them in good stead to become more competitive not just regionally, but globally.”
Achampong’s belief in the potential of procurement strategy to support business transformation and competitiveness was echoed by fellow speaker Maha Bouzeid, VP Head of Sourcing in the MEA region for Ericsson.
She said: “Organizations are on a constant search to find even more efficiencies and increase their top line growth. Procurement has an important role to play in both cases by securing the right cost base and by building the partner ecosystem to deliver on new solutions in the Industry 4.0 era. We need the know-how of all the different players in the industry to enable innovation, create new use cases to fulfil rising customer demands and monetize these for the benefit of all.”
Achampong and Bouzeid also agreed that the procurement sector needs to invest in skills development in order to achieve its potential and be a driver for business change.
“Traditional skills, such as negotiation, and administrative skills, such as planning and coordination, are being replaced by the need for critical thinking skills and complex problem solving, aligned with emotional intelligence centred around stakeholder management and influencing skills,” said Achampong.
“For procurementleaders to be effective they need to be able to convince their key C-Level stakeholders to adopt recommended strategies aimed at aiding business growth and increasing value for the organisation. Those unable to align with their stakeholders will not be able to lead the transformation of their functions from a transactional cost centre to a strategic net contributor to an organisations overall value.”
Bouzeid added: “Competence is key – procurement needs to attract the best talents in the industry with a solid understanding of the procured solution and the cost drivers for these. Businesses need people who are strong influencers, who can guide stakeholders through the decision-making process and who can be efficient negotiators.
“We need to lead the way in terms of digital transformation – we can work heavily on automation to reduce manual tactical tasks. If we can do this transformation in an effective way, the added value we provide will be significant.”
Procurement & Supply Chain MENA, in partnership with CIPS MENA, gathered heads of procurement & supply chain to share big picture, business-led strategies on how not only to guarantee supply during industry flux, but become a key value driver, innovator and business partner for any organisation. With over 200+ senior delegates, 50+ superstar speakers and five topic tracks, the event provided a day of real-life experiences and actionable use-cases for any budget.