RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Procurement has significant opportunities today to deliver more, and new kinds of, value to the broader business—to be resilient in the face of a shifting economic landscape.
  • Business executives and procurement leaders consider non-traditional priorities such as sustainability and diversity and inclusion important today.
  • But procurement still spends too much time on traditional activities, and lacks modern IT capabilities that can help them deliver new kinds of value.
  • A Procurement 360 Value Meter can help clearly define what’s meant by “value” to chart the course for procurement’s focus and digital transformation.


The supply chain procurement function has a big opportunity to take a leading role in addressing some of the most challenging issues organizations face today. Unethical labor practices. Getting to net-zero emissions. Recruiting top talent. Enabling unique customer experiences. All while keeping businesses resilient by controlling costs. In short, procurement is poised to add new value that betters business, society and the planet.

But what does that value look like? And what progress has procurement made toward generating it? Accenture research sought to answer those questions—and here’s what we found.

About the Research

Accenture conducted a survey to explore procurement’s new role in delivering value beyond cost savings and compliance, including:

  • Possible challenges that are holding procurement organizations back
  • Role of automation in driving value
  • Ways companies can transform procurement from being cost and compliance driven to value driven

500

senior procurement executives

500

non-procurement executives

Elevate every decision with intelligent procurement

View Transcript

Setting new priorities, but not seeing them through

We asked executives about their top priorities now and in three years. They listed typical concerns such as supplier contracts and supply chain demand planning. But they also mentioned non-traditional priorities such as sustainability and workforce diversity and inclusion. Yet most procurement organizations are still spending more time on traditional activities.

Percentage of time respondents spend on an activity

Percentage of time respondents spend on an activity.

Without the time to devote to new priorities, procurement’s impact on the business is limited. Overall performance was mostly described as “fair.” Procurement leadership has fulfilled its traditional role. It has driven cost reduction, compliance and risk management, but not much else.

Slow progress and missed opportunities

Many procurement organizations still lack modern technology tools and platforms. This prevents them from collaborating effectively. It also means they have trouble capturing and using data to make better decisions and deliver new kinds of value. And it makes it difficult for them to reduce and variabilize structural and operational costs to release cash.

Procurement’s missed opportunities to add value

70%

of respondents said task-oriented innovations happen on a case-by-case basis when working with the ecosystem on innovation.

68%

reported that procurement has a passive role in developing products and services; focused on current suppliers and only approaches new suppliers during market research for a sourcing exercise.

62%

said procurement still pulls manual reports from the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system on an as-needed basis to understand third-party spend.

60%

said they have no defined inclusion and diversity playbook or policy.

Unlocking procurement’s potential

What will it take to increase the value procurement brings to the broader business? Procurement organizations need improved data, technology and practices. But first they must chart the course. They have to define and quantify the value procurement can bring to the business, supplier management, customers and society clearly and holistically. Using a tool like the Procurement 360 Value Meter, CPOs and the broader C-suite can clearly define both financial and non-financial value. They can also establish metrics for consistently tracking and measuring that value with all stakeholders.

With the Procurement 360 Value Meter, businesses can align on targets for the procurement function across six dimensions of value.

1. Financial

Deliver sustainable savings across pricing, consumption and inventory. Identify new opportunities to reinvest these savings across the business.

2. Talent

Give your people the tools, skills and confidence they need to unleash human ingenuity. Help prepare their place in the workforce of the future.

3. Experience

Provide engaging and seamless experiences for all stakeholders.

4. Inclusion & diversity

Accelerate responsible sourcing practices that consider factors such as diversity, ethics, labor practices and location to deliver long-term value.

5. Sustainability

Thread sustainability into procurement activities. Design for transparency, traceability, and circularity while supporting net-zero operations.

6. Risk

Create sustainable operations and supplier ecosystems. Earn stakeholders’ trust and gain the license to operate, grow and innovate.

View All

The value-creation journey never ends

How do organizations take advantage of procurement’s new value opportunities?

  1. Gain alignment and clarity. Define, measure, and agree on what “value” means.
  2. Move to an intelligent, data-driven operating model. Create future-ready procurement operations.

It’s time for procurement to seize the moment.

This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors. This document refers to marks owned by third parties. All such third-party marks are the property of their respective owners. No sponsorship, endorsement or approval of this content by the owners of such marks is intended, expressed or implied.

About the Authors

Ramon Colomina

Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Supply Chain & Operations, Sourcing and Procurement Global Lead


Kristin Ruehle

Managing Director, Procurement Business Process Services Global Business Lead


Daniel Vollath

Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Supply Chain & Operations, Sustainability, Sourcing and Procurement Lead, Europe


Alexis Perez

Senior Principal – Strategy & Consulting, Supply Chain & Operations, Supply Chain and Sustainability Strategy

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