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Dealing with complexity in the new year

By Bill McCouch | January 9, 2020
Business today is more complex than ever before. In order to understand and respond to both opportunities and challenges, it’s important to understand the various types of complexity and how to master them.

Originally appeared in Fleet Owner

Business today is more complex than ever before. In order to understand and respond to both opportunities and challenges, it’s important to understand the various types of complexity and how to master them. Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) identified four types of complexities in a recent Deloitte survey that can and should be addressed in the New Year.

  • External complexity: This includes everything that happens outside the four walls of your own organization. In recent years we were faced with ongoing trade wars. For 2020 there is some concern about a possible economic downturn. Procurement needs to make sure it has contingency plans in place and can identify opportunities that external changes can cause.
  • Internal complexity: This is the challenge that results from competing priorities in various parts of the business. Procurement has worked hard to become a valued business partner but has not been rated as an excellent partner. CPOs need to automate tactical processes and focus on enabling other departments.
  • Talent complexity: It seems like every area of a fleet is in need of properly trained talent and Procurement is no different. While most CPOs believe their teams have the necessary skills, they are concerned about the size of training budgets that would ensure employees’ skills stay sharp. Procurement needs to ensure it aligns its recruitment, on-boarding, and long-term talent management processes to best serve the organization’s broader goals.
  • Digital complexity: Nearly half of all Procurement teams are partnering with IT to align objectives as Procurement works toward a digital transformation in the near future. Businesses realize that artificial intelligence (AI) needs to play a role in that transformation. Unfortunately, hopes for the transformation are exceeding actual capabilities. The good news is that a majority of businesses hope to make digital skills and AI a priority during the new decade. As with talent, it’s crucial for Procurement to align its digital strategy to support organization-wide goals and serve the entire business.

While no one knows for sure what the New Year will bring, it is a safe bet that we will see increased complexity in one or more areas. Procurement can plan now to be prepared for that increased complexity whether it is external, internal, digital, or talent-related.

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