Procurement & Supply Chain – Market and Hiring Trends January 2024

29/01/2024
Welcome to psd’s first update of 2024 for the Procurement and Supply Chain sector. 

Thank you for the positive feedback we received from previous newsletters. It is encouraging to hear such encouraging comments from the Procurement Leadership community. As we step into a new year, the world of procurement and supply chain continues to take a transformative journey, propelled by evolving technologies, global shifts, and an unwavering commitment to sustainability. 2024 is one of the busiest years for elections which will surely have an impact on business. Geopolitical events will also have a big influence on commerce in 2024. In this update, we highlight the trends that are set to redefine the landscape in 2024 as well as sharing psd’s successes.

 

Jump to:

Digital Transformation Takes Centre Stage

Banking and Financial Services

Consulting and Outsourcing

Energy and Utilities

Construction and Infrastructure

Facilities Management and Real Estate

Manufacturing

Digital Transformation Takes Centre Stage: 

Digitalisation continues to be a key focus as Procurement and Supply Chain professionals embrace advanced technologies. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Blockchain are no longer futuristic concepts; they are the cornerstones of efficiency and transparency. Automated procurement processes, predictive analytics, and smart contracts are becoming integral to operations, allowing organisations to make data-driven decisions swiftly. 

The advancements in Large Language Models (LLMs) and tools like ChatGPT, sent the world into a frenzy in 2023. Machine Learning (ML), and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) are becoming integral, streamlining operations, enhancing efficiency, and providing predictive analytics for better decision-making. In 2024 and beyond, the technology landscape will continue to evolve at a rapid pace and it will be increasingly challenging to separate hype from hope. It has become very clear that the future of next-generation Procurement and Supply Chain tools will be driven by big data capabilities and enabled through machine learning and AI analysis. Chat-based generative AI interfaces, which can utilise vast amounts of unstructured data, have made AI use democratic and scalable for the first time. The theoretical became actionable. 

As Procurement and Supply Chain takes on a far more strategic role, responsibilities of employees will go beyond traditional roles to encompass risk management, resilience and sustainability. The role of Procurement and Supply Chain professionals is evolving, demanding a broader skill set that includes data analysis, technology proficiency, and strategic thinking. Recruiting the right talent is a significant challenge according to Procurement and Supply Chain leaders, especially talent with the broader skillsets that will enable this massive transition, such as proficiency in technology, data analytics, business intelligence and collaboration. These employees remain hard to pinpoint and retain. Additionally, leaders continue to believe that their teams, for the most part, don’t completely have the talent to deliver their strategy in 2024. The industry needs to catch up with other functions in thinking about how to keep junior resources motivated with exciting opportunities to grow and innovate. They also need to enable senior resources who may be less digitally savvy or prepared for the same innovations. 

Organisations will continue to integrate sustainability into their supply chain strategies, balancing this with the need to deliver commercial objectives. Although some firms may have slowed down their ESG commitments over the past one to two years, ESG remains a generational shift in the management objectives of Procurement and Supply Chain leaders. SRM programs will continue to drive ESG priorities, particularly to develop and identify new suppliers. 

From sourcing eco-friendly materials to optimising transportation routes for reduced carbon footprints, the supply chain is becoming a bastion of responsible business practices. We may see an increased focus on circular economy principles and the adoption of renewable energy sources across the supply chain network. 

The past couple of years have taught us the value of resilience in supply chains. 2024 sees a deepened commitment to building robust, flexible supply networks capable of withstanding unforeseen disruptions. Diversification of suppliers, strategic stockpiling, and the use of technology to predict and manage risks are becoming crucial components of the modern supply chain. The global disruptions experienced in recent years have underscored the importance of resilient supply chains. Companies are re-evaluating their supply chain strategies, diversifying sources, and investing in risk management technologies to better navigate unforeseen challenges. 

AI will help boost supply chain resiliency through tracking suppliers’ financial health and proactively making recommendations to shift away from any failing suppliers. As these tools improve, they could potentially monitor geopolitical and regulatory changes and make supplier recommendations based on whether any supply chain activities are being conducted in riskier geographies or are impacted by changing legislation. 

Collaboration is no longer a choice but a necessity. Supply chain ecosystems are embracing transparency and collaboration as key drivers for success. Technology is being leveraged to create immutable records of transactions, fostering trust among partners. This transparency not only enhances efficiency but also ensures ethical practices throughout the supply chain. 

One thing is clear – the only constant in Procurement and Supply Chain is change. It will be a dynamic year for procurement and supply chain management. Embracing technological advancements, sustainability, and resilience will be key to staying ahead in this rapidly evolving landscape. As we navigate the future, let’s continue to innovate, collaborate, and drive positive change in our industry. Here’s to a year of resilience, sustainability, and unparalleled success in your procurement and supply chain endeavours! 

Here is a snapshot of some of our recent successes:

Banking and Financial Services 

We have been retained to recruit a Software Sourcing Director for a global bank that is increasing its coverage from EMEA to a global function. It was a challenging assignment, but we managed to lkace three individuals from which one was selected. We have also recruited two interims Heads of Sourcing in the Professional Services and Facilities Management areas. 

We were approached by a FinTech firms that is ready to recruit a CPO as they have reached their Phase One milestone. We have two individuals at final stage. 

We have also placed with two investment firms, recruiting an interim sourcing manager for professional services and a Head of Technology Procurement. One is with an established bank where we have placed a number of interim contractors and the 2nd placement was with mid-sized, technology led financial services firm. 

We have several ongoing searches with banks and financial services firms so this sector will certainly keep us busy in 2024. 

Consulting and Outsourcing 

We have several interesting assignments in the usual areas with placements of Senior Managers and Practice Leads in the UK with predominantly mid-sized firms that have specialise in Procurement Transformation. We were also commissioned on an interesting assignment in Bulgaria with a global advisory business where we recruited a Coupa Lead, working with a defence business in Bucharest. For the same firm, we placed an Italian speaking candidate on a Coupa Implementation project , based in New York.  

We identified and placed a Director for a global consulting business who will complement the leadership team that we placed in 2022. 

We are looking forward to building on our strength and capability in this sector with more work forthcoming in 2024.  

Energy and Utilities   

As ever, psd are proud to continue our work within the energy and utilities sector and we have been engaged on a variety of specialist assignments recently.

We continue to support one of our key clients in the development of their transitional energy team. Having successfully recruited their new Procurement Director in November, we have now been engaged to identify their new Contracts Director, alongside conducting a challenging interim commercial assignment within their bids and mobilisations team. This project has brought together several of our consultants and has highlighted the breadth of specialist capability we retain. 

Finally, we continue to support a water business with multiple assignments nationally for Procurement Managers in the infrastructure, asset management and civil engineering categories.  

Construction/Infrastructure

We have supported a new client within the fibre communications sector to develop their capital procurement and commercial team, identifying a range of individuals from outside of the sector to diversify their leadership team. We have also supported a growing civil engineering organisation to recruit their new greenfield procurement and commercial leader.

Social housing continues to be a significant focus area for our team, with multiple assignments in the Northwest, Midlands, and London to identify public sector procurement leaders for mid-sized organisations. We have also recently supported a developer and operator within the student accommodation sector to identify a construction procurement leader, foreshadowing plans for increased development activity within the purpose-built student accommodation market.

Facilities Management and Real Estate  

We have supported a global leader in the Hard FM sector to identify their new Head of Procurement. As hybrid working becomes the new norm, we have supported a major remote workspace client in the development of their UK procurement team. In the services sector, we recently began an interesting assignment to identify a procurement leader to support the bid function of a complex solutions business. Finally, we have supported a long-standing asset management client in the growth of their advisory function, as more and more businesses turn to expert support in the procurement and management of their real estate portfolios. 

Manufacturing 

Further to our work within the manufacturing sector during the second quarter of 2023, we have once again been called upon to support a Northwest Manufacturing business to recruit a Head of Procurement who will add a strategic, forward thinking approach to the firm. This really put us to the test but we found three individuals after a comprehensive search. The successful candidate will start with the firm in early February. 

About

executive recruiter manchester

Christian Shawcross

Director – Procurement & Supply Chain

Christian is Director of psd’s Procurement & Supply Chain Practice, leading searches for senior executives in the Financial Services and Professional Services sectors in the UK and globally.