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COVID-19: driving UK procurement digitalisation

Recent research conducted by Ivalua highlights that the impact of COVID-19 has increased the need for digitalisation in the UK’s procurement industry.

|Jun 5|magazine7 min read

As the UK begins to slowly lift its lockdown measures, the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of digital transformation across many organisations and industries. 

Ivalua reports that in particular the procurement and supply chain management sectors have felt this importance reinforced within their businesses. “The global COVID-19 pandemic will be the catalyst for accelerated digital transformation in procurement,” explains Alex Saric, Smart Procurement Expert at Ivalua.

According to a new study from Ivalua - a leading provider of global spend management cloud solutions - 70% of organisations in the UK say that COVID-19 has increased the need for digital transformation in procurement.

“The supply chain disruption caused by COVID-19 is completely unprecedented. Procurement is on the front line mitigating its impact, but the dearth of digital technology and skills in hindering its effectiveness. Teams are still reliant on paper-based processes or outdated systems, making it impossible to gain visibility into the thousands of suppliers they work with. This has made digital transformation vital, as those organisations that are more digitally mature will be able to quickly adapt to this new normal,” added Saric.

The study formed with 200 procurement, supply chain and finance professionals in the UK believe that having greater digitalisation (84%) and better digital skills (83%) will enable them to more effectively mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on businesses.

Within its study, Ivalua identified four of the biggest challenges organisations are facing when it comes to mitigating the impact of COVID-19, these include: 

Overdependence on a limited set of suppliers (35%)

The ability to identify alternate suppliers (30%)

Lacking an understanding of suppliers’ risk exposure (28%)

lacking visibility into tier 2 or 3 suppliers (18%)

As a result, 78% of organisations said that COVID-19 has increased their focus on supplier visibility, with 88% believing that increasing digitalisation will improve their collaborative abilities with suppliers, as well as providing the capabilities to find alternative supply during the pandemic.

“COVID-19 has exposed gaps in organisations’ ability to gain complete visibility into their suppliers,” said Saric. “This is leaving them in the dark as to the true vulnerability of the business and the supply chain to COVID-19. Digitally transforming procurement will allow organisations to create a 360-degree view of what is happening in the supply chain in near real-time, enabling them to make informed decisions about how to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. COVID-19 has exposed the discrepancy between more and less digitally mature organisations. As a result, we’ll see organisations accelerate their plans to digitally transform procurement, allowing them to mitigate the impact of this crisis and the next,” he concluded.

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