Procurement 4.0: Why the modern buyer is a digital buyer
The importance of Industry 4.0
With the 4th Industrial Revolution, a new technological era has dawned. Industry 4.0 combines digitsation and automation and describes a completely new approach to organizing and controlling the entire value chain over the product life cycle. But it cannot be taken for granted – rather, business and industry must adapt their processes, approaches and business models in order to remain future-proof and competitive in the modern technological business world.
As a result, all functional areas along the value chain must reposition themselves. This naturally also affects procurement, which must now set the course for successful Procurement 4.0. By doing that, the transformation from traditional buyer to modern buyer can also succeed.
The traditional buyer
Far too often, procurement still has an old-fashioned image – mountains of paper dominating everyday office life and a large proportion of manual, time-consuming and error-prone activities are to name. There are numerous reasons why the day-to-day work of most buyers is still a long way from Procurement 4.0. For example, many different ERP systems are in use, which leads to media disruptions and interface problems for buyers and suppliers. Time-intensive tasks such as manually checking items and prices on order confirmations, for example, result in too little time for important tasks such as relationship management and supplier evaluation.
However, procurement in particular has special potential to become the driver of digitisation in its own company and to initiate transformation processes.
The modern buyer
Today, the job description of the modern buyer encompasses more than basic procurement activities. The modern buyer is a digital buyer. The three pillars of modern procurement are internal and external networking, production and value creation, and the establishment of new digital business models. Purchasing acts as a moderator at the interfaces to internal partners – such as controlling and accounting – and external partners – for example suppliers – and enables new significant contributions along the value chain. The digitisation of procurement also leads to a new self-image of the purchaser. But the role of the buyer within the own company as well as in cooperation with external value creation partners is also changing noticeably in the course of the digital transformation. As a digital manager, the buyer 4.0 is establishing himself as a resilient business partner both inside and outside the company. Thus, the modern buyer combines the functions of the networked value creation manager, the digital process and data manager, the technology and innovation manager, the quality manager, and the strategic cycle manager.
How can the traditional buyer now become a modern buyer and thus a digital procurement manager?
Digitisation as the key to innovation and change
The key to successful and sustainable transformation processes lies in the digitisation and automation of purchasing processes and in the intelligent networking of the purchasing organization along the value chain. By using digitisation and automation tools, procurement can optimize its processes, increase efficiency, reduce costs and significantly reduce manual tasks. As a result, buyers have more time for strategic and value-adding tasks, can plan beyond day-to-day business and act accordingly. Innovative software products such as AI-based cloud processes modernize operational procurement and enable the intelligent and cross-business networking of B2B processes. With the help of an individual digitisation roadmap and thanks to digitisation and automation tools, buyers have the necessary tools to actively shape digital transformation processes within the company. In this way, the modern buyer can position himself as a networked value creation manager and growth driver and drive forward the cross-business networking of the entire value chain with his purchasing organization. Thus, Industry 4.0 and the digital transformation also contribute to the transformation of the buyer’s job.
Do you want to know how Netfira’s innovative software solution can help you become a modern procurement manager? Then download the document “Modern Procurement and Netfira” here.
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