Nowadays, one of the biggest challenges for future leaders in procurement is the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0. In this new scenario, changes happen very quickly and are often unpredictable.

For the supply chain, among the key impositions of the new era, is a “goodbye” to the old models of management and leadership. Those who aren’t willing to change will be left behind – and they will risk also irrecoverable losses.

Procurement, which was previously seen only as a purchase area, of high cost for businesses, started to play a leading role. And this is due, of course, to the skills acquired by visionary procurement leaders and the intelligence of new technologies.

Now, innovations allow professionals to do without inefficient operational processes, and dedicate themselves to strategies that can leverage business processes of the whole company, through digital, integrated and smart solutions – such as those from Mercado Eletrônico.


A survey highlights priorities of CPOs in the current context

The “Global supply chain survey 2020”, from Deloitte consultancy firm, shows that, in view of uncertainties imposed by the pandemic, the search for risk management in the supply chain and for cost reduction has risen in the list of CPO priorities.

Respondents also listed, as relevant factors, the increasing digitization of procurement processes and the use of technological platforms to increase visibility and monitor risks.

According to that report, CPOs must constantly seek smarter ways to identify and act on threats in the supply chain, and also rethink risk-based sourcing strategies, in addition to build more robust mitigation plans. For such purpose, they must rely on an integrated digital infrastructure, supported by accurate data, and take advantage of such resources to improve planning and resilience in the supply chain.

Remote work has also emerged as a major consideration for CPOs, in a post-pandemic world. We have recently talked about it in a post called “Operation engagement: how to lead procurement teams remotely”.


See below 5 tips to be a future leader in B2B procurement


1. Invest in knowledge

We know that the supply chain is very dynamic. Therefore, for leaders of the future in B2B procurement, the search for learning will be vital to enable innovation within organizations and, consequently, increase their competitive edge.

In addition to being in pace with the market and knowing the right methodologies, such as Strategic Sourcing, the procurement leader of the future must also be a facilitator of learning and empower the teams around him/her. It’s important to stress that knowledge is a mix of several elements, and that data and information are just some of them.


2. Prioritize information security

Security experts have pointed to the exponential growth of cybercrime all over the world. In 2020 alone, Brazil recorded more than 8 billion attempted attacks. The huge amount of information in the B2B procurement area reinforces the need for a more robust protection strategy, against both current and upcoming threats.

With an increasing migration of activities to the home office, businesses must assure more and more a reliable connectivity for all devices. In this new context, it’s even more vital to promote a culture of cybersecurity and orient employees towards this value in all processes.


3. Don’t fear the technology

Technology is the key to progress in many areas, isn’t it? The leading 4.0 buyer must then see technology solutions as an opportunity, not as a threat. The use of resources has become very important to optimize teamwork, particularly in the context of crisis.

Many businesses take advantage of those moments of great change to overcome barriers and reshape their structures. One of the facts that prove this is true was the increase in the number of hires of technology professionals. In 2020, the sector recorded a 25% growth in employment opportunities. Technology is really the next big thing!


4. Get to know the generations

Diversity of generations is a very rich factor for corporate environment, because it promotes an exchange of experiences and access to different viewpoints. For a better result, the approach among different generations must take into account not only age, but also the different kinds of knowledge, identities and lifestyles.

Let’s recall each one of them: Baby Boomers were born after the Second World War, between 1946 and 1964. Generation X is that of those born between 1960 and 1980. Generation Y relates to the interval between 1980 and 1993 – start time of technological developments. Those born between 1990 and 1995 belong to Generation Z – they are digital natives. The last one, Generation Alpha, starts in 2010 – it’s composed by children who are unaware of the analog world.


5. Visualize the scenario

Knowing and studying the current scenario of the company, the market and suppliers is vital to take the right path and add value to the business. With a comprehensive and attentive eye, the supply area can see opportunities and offer disruptive changes to the chain – which can result in innovation, savings and growth, not only for the area, but for the whole organization.


In the above tips, we have already realized that change is required and often inevitable. Leaders of the future in B2B procurement must start taking action now. Do you have any other tips to be a great 4.0 leader? Tell us in the comments field.

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