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Transfix Unveils RFP Manager for Effortless Freight Procurement: Revolutionizing the Source-to-Settle Process

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Transfix Unveils RFP Manager for Effortless Freight Procurement: Revolutionizing the Source-to-Settle Process

Transfix, Inc. (“Transfix”) has introduced RFP Manager, an innovative tool aimed at simplifying and expediting the traditionally manual and time-consuming RFP and freight procurement process. This all-in-one centralized solution, accessible through the Transfix Shipper App, empowers shippers to seamlessly navigate every step from sourcing to settlement in a single platform.

RFP Manager, the latest addition to the Transfix Shipper App, boasts a centralized dashboard featuring automated bid management, acceptance workflows, and robust analytics capabilities. Shippers can leverage this tool to collaborate with selected carriers at a fair market price, significantly reducing the time typically associated with running an RFP or mini-bid.

Through digitalized and automated processes, RFP Manager enables shippers to initiate an RFP within minutes. Brokers and carriers receive invitations to participate in the bidding process, accessing the RFP through a personalized portal link sent via email, and effortlessly submitting their bids.

Once the bidding window closes, shippers gain access to a comprehensive comparison of carrier bids, along with invaluable lane-level pricing insights, facilitating data-driven award decisions. Transportation professionals can then seamlessly execute freight within the Transfix Shipper App, streamlining the entire process.

Jonathan Salama, Co-founder and CEO of Transfix, emphasized the need for innovation in the outdated RFP process. He expressed excitement about bringing a product to market that not only empowers shippers and suppliers but also sets a new standard for freight procurement solutions.

Savar Sareen, Senior Product Manager at Transfix, highlighted the importance of market research and a robust beta program in developing RFP Manager. The insights gained underscored the significance of creating a product that not only streamlines the RFP process but also instills confidence in shippers to run RFPs more frequently, effectively addressing market volatility.

Transfix’s RFP Manager stands as a groundbreaking solution, promising a transformative shift in how shippers approach freight procurement, making the process more efficient, data-driven, and user-friendly.


How to Adapt Procurement Skills in the Era of AI Innovation

The age of artificial intelligence (AI) is here. It’s not a question of if AI will change the industry, but one of when and how. As this shift approaches, employees and leaders alike must prepare for the impact of AI in procurement.

AI will become more common in procurement, changing what skills are most important in the industry. Those who can get ahead of that trend could thrive over the coming years, while those who don’t may fall behind.

The Impact of AI in Procurement

AI’s impact on procurement will be significant. Digitization remains the second most-cited procurement strategy today, and analytics and robotic process automation are the most deployed and value-driving of these investments.

Analytical applications are the most promising in procurement circles. AI can compare multiple suppliers to identify the best one for each job faster and more reliably than humans. Alternatively, it could analyze spending patterns to highlight cost inefficiency and find new ways to save.

The rise of AI in procurement also has significant implications for compliance and risk management. Machine learning models can automate regulatory assurance tasks to ensure all forms meet applicable standards or alert managers to compliance issues with supply chain partners. Similar tools can look for supply chain risks to inform better decision-making.

Automating repetitive tasks is another key use case for AI in procurement. Models can manage billing, data entry, basic outreach, summarizing feedback and similar time-consuming tasks to give employees more time. Businesses can then accomplish more, even without a larger workforce amid labor shortages.

Preparing for an AI-Driven Future

Because there are so many use cases for AI in this field, the procurement workforce will shift in response. The skills employees need to succeed will change, so it’s important to prepare for this shift.

Learn to Work With AI

The most important part of that adaptation is learning to work with AI. That’s crucial both for effective AI implementation and remaining competitive as a worker.

AI is impressive, but it’s only a tool. Procurement operations need people who know how to use it properly to experience all its benefits. At the same time, 51% of IT decision-makers say they lack the in-house talent to meet their AI goals. That leaves both an opportunity and a challenge for the procurement workforce.

If more existing employees learn general AI skills, businesses wouldn’t have to scramble to find outside talent. Workers who pursue this career development would also better their chances at employment and promotion in the future. That skills shift will take time, but it’ll be worth it long term for everyone involved.

Foster Tech Talent

Procurement professionals can take this trend further. As AI grows, so will the other technologies that support it, like digital data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). Employees who get more familiar with tech will be better suited to thrive in these more tech-centric environments.

Automation through AI will leave employees with more time but fewer of the same tasks to complete. Consequently, they’ll have to perform different roles. Making sure all the company’s new technology works as it should is one of the most crucial of these roles.

The shift to tech talent lies on both employer and employee. Employers can provide upskilling opportunities to foster these new skills and employees can pursue them on their own time to get ahead of the trend.

Emphasize Strategy, Communication and Creativity

Previously, humans had to do much analytical work to find the best procurement options. Open tendering was the most transparent but most time consuming, so employees had to be able to make complex choices quickly. AI in procurement removes that inefficiency barrier and automates decision making, so the same skills won’t be as in demand.

In the age of AI, it’ll be more important to be strategic, communicative and creative. AI can handle analytical, efficiency-focused tasks, so it’s up to employees to find ways to apply its insights effectively.

Real-world implementation, communicating with other stakeholders and finding creative solutions based on data aren’t strong suits for AI. However, humans excel at them. Consequently, the workforce of tomorrow will center around these skills while AI manages the administrative and analytical side.

Cultivate Soft Skills

As procurement professionals develop these new talents, they shouldn’t overlook soft skills. Job-specific hard skills were more important in the past, but as AI changes jobs, businesses will need people who can adapt amid the shuffle. Soft skills are the key to meeting that demand.

People skills are some of the most crucial of these talents for procurement. As AI handles more of the paperwork, employees will likely need to spend more time on maintaining supplier relationships. Being personable and a good communicator is essential for that role.

Developing these soft skills also gives employees an edge AI can’t beat. That’s hard to ignore amid rising fears of job displacement as AI automates more roles.

Apply AI and Human Talent Where They Fit Best

Those fears over job loss deserve more attention. In a perfect world, AI in procurement will help human workers do their jobs more efficiently, not replace them. However, it can be tempting to automate some roles entirely to save money.

Replacing humans with AI may seem profitable, but it’s not ideal for anyone in the end. AI has several significant risks that could endanger procurement workflows that rely too heavily on it. The best solution is to learn AI and humans’ distinct talents, and distribute tasks accordingly.

AI is great at data-heavy, repetitive and analytical tasks, whereas humans are better at roles requiring adaptability or intrapersonal communication. As the workforce shifts in response to AI, employees should focus on developing the latter to solidify their value. Employers should note this distinction and view AI as a complement to people, not a replacement.

It’s Time to Adapt to the Age of AI in Procurement

Jobs and their required skills have always shifted as new technologies have emerged. The difference with AI is this change could happen much faster than previous innovations.

Employers and employees alike must get ready for the changes AI in procurement will bring. If they can adapt early, they can ensure AI and the workforce work together to achieve optimal results.

emerging procurement

Emerging Technologies Transforming Defense Procurement: Trends and Impacts

As we could see, the defense world is going through a massive transformation thanks to cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, and the metaverse. These technological advancements are revolutionizing defense strategies and procurement processes. These technologies are offering both new opportunities and challenges that global superpowers must address.

The Rise of New Technologies in Defense

The Impact of AI on Warfare

Between 2009 and 2017, the number of American soldiers in combat decreased by 90 percent, while the number of U.S. drone strikes surged tenfold. This confounding shift underscores AI’s transformative impact on the battlefield. 

By empowering automated surveillance, data processing, and decision-making, AI enables the military to enhance situational awareness. It also helps the military to execute operations with unparalleled speed and precision.

Key Ways AI is reshaping defense:

  • Algorithmic warfare: AI rapidly analyzes battlefield data to optimize troop movements and combat maneuvers.
  • Enhanced ISR: AI dramatically improves aerial and satellite surveillance capabilities through real-time analytics.
  • Predictive maintenance: Using AI and IoT sensors helps defense organizations for predicting equipment failures before they occur and optimize maintenance.
  • Logistics automation: AI helps in streamlining logistical operations, enhancing efficiency in areas like inventory and supply chain management.

As AI continues to advance, its role in defense strategy will undoubtedly expand further.

Emerging Quantum Technologies 

While AI is visibly impacting warfare, quantum technologies are also getting advanced to reshape defense capabilities. The ongoing research and development process in government procurement primarily focuses on quantum computing applications. This includes areas like cybersecurity, surveillance, and advanced simulations. 

The market size for quantum technologies in defense is expected to grow significantly. In 2020 between USD 80 million and USD 500 million showcasing rising investment.

Key applications of quantum technology in defense:

  • Securing communications by using quantum cryptography that helps to detect hacking attempts.
  • Powerful simulations of complex battle scenarios that help with training and decision-making.
  • Additionally, this technology also helps to enhance GPS accuracy and resilience using quantum sensors.
  • Furthermore, it also helps in developing quantum radars for superior detection abilities.

As quantum platforms grow, they help by providing exceptional computing capabilities to strengthen defense networks and outpace global rivals.

The Impact of Metaverse on Military Operations

The emerging metaverse also has extensive applications across defense operations. These include training, intelligence, manufacturing, and more. 

A survey found 70% of public service executives believe the metaverse would benefit defense organizations. The metaverse can transform military training with interactive real-world simulations. However, this can be achieved by enabling collaborative virtual environments. It can also enhance remote maintenance and operations through digital twins of assets and bases.

Other metaverse use cases include:

  • Virtual command centers for coordinated operations
  • Digital engineering models to accelerate design and manufacturing
  • Immersive cybersecurity training platforms
  • Increased intelligence with 3D virtual data analysis

As virtual interfaces and hardware improve, the metaverse will help to unlock new possibilities for defense innovation.

Transformation of Defense Procurement Strategies 

Using these technologies helps to adapt defense procurement strategies. Here are some of the key changes:

  • Data-driven procurement: Using big data analytics and AI enables defense organizations to predict capability requirements while optimizing spending.
  • Blockchain for security and transparency: With the help of Blockchain-based systems, the defense can strengthen supply chains more resilient against cyber threats while increasing transparency.
  • Cradle-to-grave lifecycle view: A lifecycle approach to procurement enables defense with better cost and maintenance planning as systems get more sophisticated.
  • Open architectures: Adopting open systems architecture allows third-party innovation and flexibility to upgrade systems. This is vital for rapidly evolving technologies.
  • Non-traditional contractors: Defense procurement is expanding beyond traditional contractors, this allows to tap innovation from commercial space startups like SpaceX.

These strategic shifts are enabling defense organizations to stay agile amidst technological disruption.

Global Impact on Defense Strategies

The impact of emerging technologies on defense strategies is undeniable. It is crucial for defense alliances and global superpowers to adapt to these advancements. Let’s take a look at how it’s shaping defense strategies worldwide:

  • NATO’s Technology and Innovation Strategy

NATO recognizes the importance of staying at the forefront of technology. Hence, has launched a new strategy focused on continuously adopting emerging and disruptive technologies. 

They are paying close attention to areas like AI, big data analytics, quantum-enabled technologies, autonomy, biotech, hypersonics, and space. Also, by embracing these advanced technologies NATO aims to enhance its capabilities and maintain its edge in defense.

  • U.S. Army Aviation Modernization

The U.S. Army is modernizing its aviation fleet to improve readiness, capabilities, and interoperability with emerging technologies. As part of this effort, they are replacing the aging C-12 Huron with a new Beechcraft c-12 huron. By bringing such advancements, they are trying to reflect their commitment to keeping up with the latest advancements in defense aviation.

  • U.S. Third Offset Strategy

The U.S. Department of Defense has initiated the Third Offset Strategy. This strategy is designed with an aim to leverage cutting-edge technologies. These technologies include AI, autonomous systems, and human-machine collaboration to develop innovative capabilities and tools. This strategy enables the U.S. military to stay ahead of its competitors. These also help to strengthen its technological leadership in the field.

  • China’s Intelligentized Warfare Strategy

China aims to become an “intelligentized” military by 2035. In order to achieve this, they are investing in new technologies like intelligent and autonomous unmanned systems, AI-enabled biotech, and quantum communications. This strategy reflects China’s ambition to be a major player in the global defense arena.

  • Russia’s Technological Sovereignty

Due to sanctions, Russia started focusing on building indigenous technological capabilities in crucial areas like cybersecurity, drones, AI, and quantum-enabled tools. This search for technological sovereignty helps Russia to develop its defense capabilities independently.

These are a few major pieces of evidence that show the rapid advancement of emerging technologies is leading to a new arms race among global superpowers. However, it is also seen that each contends for technological superiority and military dominance. 

As these technologies continue to evolve, defense strategies worldwide will continue to adapt to stay ahead in this competitive landscape.

Balancing Innovation With Security

However, fully capitalizing on these technologies requires carefully weighing benefits against risks.  Here are some key trade-offs defense organizations face:

  • Innovation vs. Vulnerabilities: Adopting advanced technologies increases vulnerabilities like cyber threats. This is why it is important for considering strong security protocols, especially for AI and quantum platforms.
  • Operational Superiority vs. Ethical Risks: Technologies like autonomous weapons and AI-enabled warfare raise moral difficulties in defense sectors. Hence defense organizations should consider establishing appropriate safeguards standards.
  • Military Dominance vs. Global Stability: Over-dependence on technology instead of diplomacy can further lead to destabilizing geopolitical relations between global rivals. Hence being mindful while making advancements is essential. 

By upholding transparency, cooperation, and ethics as core principles, defense organizations can maximize emerging technologies for good rather than seeking superiority alone.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How can advancements in technologies enhance military capabilities?

Advanced technologies enhance military capabilities by offering superior intelligence gathering, accelerated decision cycles, stronger cybersecurity, cost-efficient logistics, and more. These advanced technologies include  AI, quantum computing, autonomous systems, and the metaverse. 

Are there any potential risks associated with integrating new technologies into defense operations?

Yes, in addition to benefits, these technologies include risks as well. They may be expanded attack surfaces for cyber threats, tech-enabled escalation of global tensions, loss of human control/oversight in combat, and ethical concerns around autonomous weapons.

How are international defense alliances like NATO adapting to the technological revolution?

These alliances are focusing on establishing frameworks for the interoperability of new technologies among member states. They also collaborate on emerging technology research while upholding shared values. 

The opportunities ahead are challenging enough for defense organizations to maximize productivity while mitigating risks. With ample preparation and foresight, these new technologies can empower defense strategies to advance global peace and prosperity.

Wrapping Up

You wouldn’t believe how much the defense sector is changing because of these amazing emerging technologies. These advanced technologies, such as AI, quantum computing, and the metaverse, are revolutionizing defense operations. 

As these technologies continue to mature, they will reshape how militaries operate, train, and make decisions. However, to unlock their benefits, defense organizations must try to adapt procurement strategies, foster an innovation mindset, and prioritize security. These can be achieved by upholding ethics and transparency, they can direct a new era of responsible and collaborative defense innovation.



3 Ways Negotiation Skills Can Improve Your Procurement Strategy and Results in 2023

In 2023, global enterprises must evaluate where they have supply chain risk and pursue creative solutions to mitigate it. Two of the biggest procurement challenges in 2023 will continue to be inflation and a lack of supply chain resiliency.

In January 2023, the Producer Price Index (PPI) was up six percent over the previous 12 months. This echoes ongoing trends like that seen in March 2022 when PPI was 11.2% over the previous twelve months. If enterprises aren’t diligent, inflation will creep into their supply chain input costs undetected, with the potential to impact every facet of procurement and sourcing spend.

Inflation impacts direct sourcing costs through services and raw materials that go into making a product. Inflation also impacts indirect sourcing costs such as office supplies, travel, utilities, janitorial services, and even employee benefits. Each of these areas require strategies to detect and fight inflation creep.

Risks to supply chains in 2023 are as great as ever. Improving supply chain resiliency requires plans and strategies to prepare for these unexpected risks.

Geopolitical risk will undoubtedly continue to be an ongoing factor affecting supply chain continuity for global enterprises in 2023 and beyond. Government responses to pandemics like those seen in 2020 when many countries shut down factories and ports to slow the spread of COVID-19 will continue to cause uncertainty. Last year, the Ukraine-Russia war hit the automotive industry with Ukraine-based suppliers pausing or slowing production of critical parts. Now in its second year, the supply chain impacts are still ongoing. Government implementation of sanctions and tariffs are another geopolitical risk that supply chain operations must prepare for when prioritizing supply chain resiliency.

Natural disasters are often similarly unexpected but always pose a potential supply chain risk that must be considered. Hurricanes in the U.S. Gulf Coast region have a history of impacting the chemical industry and interrupting regional supply chains for unpredictable amounts of time. After an earthquake and tsunami led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, procurement teams faced sourcing challenges with electrical components originating in Japan.

These supply chain challenges won’t disappear anytime soon, which means companies must build supply chain redundancy and mitigate risk within their supply chain. The companies that develop proactive procurement negotiation strategies across their business units will ultimately fare better than their competitors.

To do this effectively, global enterprises must think of negotiation strategy as a critical business process. 

Here are three ways better negotiation skills help improve your procurement strategy:

#1: Robust supplier agreements build resilient supply chains.

A robust supply agreement with your supplier base must cover more than just price and terms. Today, it must also reinforce supply chain continuity. 

Robust supplier agreements should align performance expectations between the customer and the supplier. The more performance areas addressed in an agreement, the greater the opportunity of having those expectations met. 

Procurement teams need to think strategically and negotiate value where they can reasonably expect to have challenges. One of the key areas that provides supply chain flexibility is inventory. Inventory exists to accommodate mismatches between supply and demand. 

Procurement negotiators must think through creative solutions to accommodate mismatches in supply and demand. How much inventory should be in the supply chain and where should it be held? Will the supplier hold planned inventory levels? Will they deliver parts directly to your line? If supply is interrupted, how will they prioritize delivering parts to your site?

Communication should also be a negotiated factor in supplier agreements. Early notification of supply chain disruption of materials is critical in today’s world full of possible supply chain risks. Real-time insights into supplier constraints help identify priorities for building supply redundancy and creating supply chain resiliency. These insights into your supplier’s materials should be considered a negotiation component. What’s happening on their supply side? How many suppliers do they have for their critical materials? What supply contingency plans do they have in place?

Understanding your supply chain beyond your first tier can help identify risk and inform choices about building redundancy into the supply chain. Defining and aligning on these expectations in a broad supply agreement is the first step to building a better supplier relationship. 

Expert negotiation skills are essential to build a strong and positive supplier relationship, ensuring both sides are able to work through issues productively. The success of a commercial relationship isn’t defined by how it is when things are going well, but how effectively parties work through issues and problems together. The better the relationship you have with a supplier, the better the performance results you’re going to get when it comes to discretionary effort with your suppliers.

Good supplier relationships can get you more than your fair share of attention, prioritization, and service during difficult supply chain conditions. If you have a good relationship with the person who makes that decision, you can both help each other during tough times. Good supplier relationships can set you up for a better response when the unexpected happens.

#2: Procurement negotiators must be cost reducers and value builders.

All value delivered by procurement is negotiated (or it’s not and left to chance).

Too often during tough economic environments, companies relentlessly pursue arbitrary and short-sighted cost reductions without looking at the real stopgap for cost creep: procurement negotiators. Some companies even make the mistake of cutting their cost cutters instead of investing in and building a talented team. Procurement negotiators are the stopgap to inflation creep driven by supplier sales teams. 

During inflationary periods, sales teams tend to smell blood in the water, expecting price increases when the market is on their side. This may cause some enterprises to solely focus on the sales side of their business by increasing the cost of goods and services, overlooking the opportunity and tools they already have on the procurement side to reduce costs and mitigate inflation. 

Negotiation is a critical business process that requires the proper tools for success. These teams need to be supported with expert tools and world-class training during challenging times. Expert procurement negotiators with well-defined negotiation processes are key to delivering value and safeguarding a company’s bottom line.

So how do procurement teams ensure success?

#3: A world-class negotiation process bolsters success.

Procurement teams often have either a solid negotiation process and unskilled negotiators or they have no defined process with some skilled negotiators. Either of these situations leaves value on the table. 

Enterprises know they need well-defined processes for business functions like financial reporting and performance measurement. Why is negotiation any different?

Negotiators need a clear process to follow, but they also need a common language to ensure alignment with key internal stakeholders. A well-documented process gives the right tools to every team member no matter their current skill set and enables the opportunity for Kaizen -continuous improvement.

Skilled and trained procurement negotiators rely on six key principles that help them build a resilient supply chain: 

  1. Position the case advantageously
  2. Set high aspirations
  3. Manage information skillfully
  4. Know the full range and strength of your power
  5. Satisfy needs over want
  6. Concede according to plan

Each of these principles reinforces positive supplier relationships, strengthen the supply chain, and drive value. When procurement teams plan ahead and rely on repeatable process, they produce long-lasting results that minimize cost and maximize profits. Implementing a robust negotiation process is a critical first step for success, but negotiation skills require continuous reinforcement and refinement across the procurement team. 

Building a Robust Procurement Negotiation Plan for 2023

Experienced procurement experts know the 2023 economic headwinds are more challenging than ever. Global enterprises need a plan to reduce risk in their supply chain in the face of unprecedented inflation, widespread supply chain disruption and ongoing geopolitical issues. 

The global enterprises that use skilled negotiation tactics as a tool to reevaluate opportunities and reengineer their supply chains will be the most successful in mitigating supply chain risk. Those organizations that build a highly-trained, highly-skilled negotiation team with a world-class negotiation process will quickly outpace their competitors. 

Author’s Bio

Mike Slomke has over 30 years of Procurement leadership experience with three Fortune 100 companies, including 17 years in Chief Procurement Officer roles. He served six years as a board member for CAPS Research, a non-profit research center at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, established in 1986 in partnership with the Institute for Supply Management. Mike currently serves as a leader at RED BEAR Negotiation, helping forward-thinking companies around the world, across every industry, from the Fortune 500 to high-growth start-ups receive impactful procurement-focused negotiation training that produces measurable business results. Learn more at



Procurement as a Service Market is Expected to Cross USD 15 Bn by 2032

The Procurement as a service market is set to grow from its current market value of more than $5 billion to over $15 billion by 2032; as reported in the latest study by Global Market Insights, Inc.

Procurement as a service (PaaS) market is slated to witness lucrative gains through 2032, owing to the surging inclination of businesses towards outsourcing. Outsourcing procurement services brings operational expenses down while streamlining business operations. Many organizations across the globe are investing in outsourcing their non-core functions, such as procurement, to specialized service providers to focus on their core business functions, which is positively affecting the industry landscape.

On the basis of components, the PaaS market from the transaction management segment is slated to grow at a considerable CAGR from 2023 to 2032. PaaS providers invest considerable amounts into security technology and developing custom software to mitigate the risk of online fraud during transactions. Surging cases of cyberattacks attributed to rising automation in transaction management processes have escalated the need for dependable solutions, further bolstering the demand for reliable PaaS solutions.

On the basis of organization size, the PaaS market from the large enterprise segment accounted for a valuation of over USD 5 billion in 2022, owing to the rising adoption of IoT and AI applications. PaaS providers offer scalable procurement solutions to large organizations which help effectively deploy AI and IoT technology. Additionally, by offering enhanced onboarding, monitoring, and performance management services, PaaS providers can help these enterprises streamline their supplier management procedures.

Regarding the end-user, procurement as a service market from the BFSI sector is poised to accrue notable gains through 2032. The rising number of cyberattacks and data breaches in the BFSI sector has propelled the demand for reliable procurement as a service technology for risk mitigation. Moreover, the surging deployment of cloud-based technologies in the BFSI sector has further propelled the need for an effective and dependable procurement as a service platform. In fact, in October 2022, Banco Santander, S.A., a Spanish multinational financial services firm, inked a deal with Google Cloud to help its clients transform from mainframe systems to the cloud.

On the regional front, Europe procurement as a service market is anticipated to register lucrative gains through 2032, owing to the strong presence of market leaders such as Capgemini, Sastrify, and others, indulged in product innovations. In fact, the governments in the region are investing significant amounts in the digitalization of businesses, which is also expected to create a strong impetus for regional expansion.

procurement women opportunities

Procurement Trends Under the Spotlight at the Women in Procurement Conference 2023

The procurement industry is in a transition phase, presenting both challenges and exciting opportunities.  The important and key role that procurement professionals play was thrust into the spotlight during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the world came to note the importance of stable supply chains. Talent management, technology, Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), Enterprise Supplier Development (ESD) and Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) are some of the important procurement topics that will be under the spotlight at the third Women in Procurement (WIP) Conference, which takes place on 23 March 2023 at Times Square in Pretoria.

Procurement is a key driver of development and enabler of service delivery. The government is the single largest buyer in the country, spending more than R500-billion on goods, services and construction works a year through more than 1 000 procuring entities.

The one-day WIP Conference will address how women in the procurement space can accelerate their journey to value, by better harnessing networks, intelligence and the experience of those at the forefront.

The WIP Conference aims to:

  • Introduce a targeted mentorship and coaching programme for procurement professionals;
  • Increase awareness of opportunities for women empowerment and funding;
  • Expand networks to enable collaboration with other experts; and,
  • Provide a platform for women in procurement to network and collaborate on various business opportunities.

The draft Programme includes:

  • Keynote address: Mpho Matsitse – Head of Industry and Value Advisory: SAP Africa
  • Fireside Chat: MJ Schoemaker (SAPICS President) and Allison Anthony (Senior Lecturer of Public Procurement Law:  UNISA)
  • Master Class: Dawn Smith – Head of Training: Caliba Group
  • Pressures in procurement: Mmatshepo Rasebopye – Director for Supply Chain Management; Gauteng Provincial Government

 The hybrid event takes place on 23 March at Times Square in Pretoria and online. To register, go to Tickets can be purchased on Quicket –

The event is being supported by the Black Management Forum (BMF), the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport: South Africa (CILTSA) and CVLC Communication. For details of sponsorship opportunities, email Mookho at


AI Beyond the Hype: This is Our Moment to Embrace Digitization

AI for business is one of the most talked-about innovations and for good reason. As in other areas of our lives, it holds the potential to fundamentally alter the processes and structures humanity has been accustomed to for decades and, in some cases, even centuries.

Yet, like many other groundbreaking technologies before it, when it comes to real-world business processes, it’s understandable to feel that the recent attention around AI’s value has outpaced the current reality. Yes, today AI can more precisely tailor content recommendations in social media apps like Instagram, Twitter and YouTube and help refine the photos we take on our phones.

But where is the AI-driven revolution in the way we work—helping us do our jobs better, more efficiently, and unlocking value in unexpected places? We believe it’s here, today.

How do we know? Because at BT Sourced, our new standalone procurement company within the BT Group, we’ve already started to see the benefits. We’ve come to believe that, properly implemented, AI can be a game-changer—and that while there’s a lot of excitement about the future of AI, we’re proof that the future is now. Here’s why.

Why AI—and Why Now?

Out of sheer necessity, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated what had been a gradual shift toward the rapid digitization of procurement. In the face of disruption, from remote work to shortages of goods and services across the value chain, having the adaptability to quickly source the best suppliers became critical. Agile procurement teams armed with cutting-edge technology were and will continue to be, best positioned to streamline sourcing, driving long-term growth and value for the BT customer and operating model.

Deloitte’s 2021 Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey found that driving operational efficiencies was the new No. 1 priority for CPOs, replacing reducing costs for the first time in the report’s 10-year history. In this next normal, procurement must modernize and simplify its processes to become faster and more agile for the near and long term.

The biggest barrier to transforming procurement is changing the way people work. Critically, the new AI-powered platform BT Sourced is using enables us to collaborate from any location by improving visibility, workflows, and communication across all functions. Increasing agility and efficiency is also key to achieving another important goal: enabling a greater focus on strategic initiatives and collaboration.

Adopting AI, along with tools that feature analytical intelligence and enable self-procurement, means our teams can now study recurring behaviors, empower end-users and discover new areas to contribute value. These new platforms are giving us the insights to make fast, data-driven decisions that benefit everyone throughout our value chain. They can be shared across the business, enabling us to work more closely than ever with our stakeholders while AI manages manual and repetitive tasks in the background.

AI for Good 

The financial benefits of AI and automation in procurement are clear. But what about other important goals such as inclusion and corporate social responsibility? How can AI in procurement support workforce development and contribute to the greater good?

At BT Sourced, we’re committed to expanding economic opportunity and reducing our environmental impact. In many ways, AI supports our commitment to more sustainable sourcing—from driving new efficiencies to enabling deeper analysis and awareness of environmental, social and financial risks throughout our supply chain. Now more than ever, we’re able to more precisely track compliance with our global responsibility model, sustainability criteria and principles of responsible behavior for suppliers regarding ethics, conduct, social issues and the environment.

We’re also leveraging AI to support supplier diversity and inclusion, expanding our network to include qualified alternatives from a base of top-performing, diverse small and midsize companies, increasing access to innovative service providers that may have otherwise been overlooked.

The Present and Future of AI

As the last year has proven, AI is no longer procurement’s future—it is our present and, without question, our future. Agile, value-added procurement requires the insights and efficiency that only AI and automation can deliver at scale. The pressing need to develop more responsible, inclusive supply chains and practices only makes the case for digital transformation stronger.

We have an unprecedented opportunity for change. Companies have a unique opportunity to move quickly to modernize their procurement technology and achieve benefits for both their stakeholders and their broader communities. We’ve arrived at the right moment to disrupt traditional models and processes, making the vision of a more efficient, sustainable and inclusive AI-powered future, a reality today.


Cyril Pourrat is the Chief Procurement Officer at BT Group

shortage chain supply rose disruption identity

Spotlight on Supply Chain Management: Raising the Profile & Importance of the Supply Chain Manager

Supply chain management has become a much more important business function in all companies since the pandemic began in February 2020. Let’s frame the issues which have made this executive and management change occur.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating to the performance of both domestic and global supply chains. The disruption, uncertainty, cost escalations, and delays which began in March 2020, continue into the fall of 2021.

The crisis caused by a disturbing and unanticipated imbalance between demand and supply in all world markets has resulted in unprecedented challenges facing all managers and operations personnel engaged in the supply chain, procurement, manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, transportation, customer service, import/export, and sales.

The challenges and their impact extend to all the support functions to supply chains: service providers, freight forwarders, carriers, 3PL’s, technology providers, consolidators, and distributors.

While the supply chain has generally had a “subordinated” posture in most companies, the Pandemic has now elevated this area of responsibility because the consequences of poor performance and failure are so impactful in the success of a business’s margin, profit, growth, and sustainability.

The importance of this area runs equally now to the importance of the supply chain manager, who may be known under the various “Titles” in the organization. Supply Chain, Procurement, Logistics, Warehousing & Distribution, Manufacturing, Materials Management, Demand Planning, etc.

With this “increase in importance”:

The disruption has impacted every company, executive, and business vertical. And we must also acknowledge the consequences to people and their families.

The impact to supply chains has moved up the ladder in every company all the way to the CEO, The Board, and the Shareholders.

In our consulting practice, where 90% of the time we deal with mid-level managers, in the last 20 months, my team and I have met with more CEOs than we have in the last ten years.

Supply Chain Managers and their colleagues have been forced due to the disorder in their business models, to work harder, work smarter and ultimately bring resources, experiences, and capabilities to the benefit of the disruptive impacts of the Pandemic.

Supply Chain Managers have been now tested in areas as never seen previously. Most companies, over time, have seen physical, weather-related geopolitical events impact their supply chains. Negative events happen all the time. While we have had some more notable micro-events in the supply chain in the last 10-15 years:

-The Recession of 2008/9

-Hurricane Sandy in 2012

-The 2011 Tsunami in Japan

-Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005

-Global Wildfires 2019

-Sichuan Earthquake in China in 2008

-South and Mid-West USA Tornados in 2013

-Mississippi River Flooding 2011

-Northeast Winter Storm in 2018

-The current Covid-19 Pandemic 2020-?

The impact on people, business, and the costs in billions and trillions from all these events is unthinkable. And the challenges that faced businesses and supply chain managers were dramatic.

However, this Pandemic has presented a unique set of circumstances:

-Every country and every person and business are impacted

-Personnel working from home has changed communications, team efforts, camaraderie and in some cases increased effectiveness and performance

-The tenure, now passing 20 months

-The uncertainty of planning out supply chain functions

-Demand Planning is almost impossible

-Lean Manufacturing and “Just in Time” Inventory Management Systems, have been retired

-All business models are being strained resulting in alternative and modified structures

-Managers and staff are working longer hours, becoming “burnt out” is a serious reality

-Hiring has been impaired

-Margins, profits, growth, and sustainability are all being challenged

With all these concerns having been identified as the “new reality” the good news is that many organizations’ talents, particularly in supply chain functions are finding ways to meet these challenges and maintaining their company’s business models to a necessary extent of successful operations.

Supply Chain Managers have become creative in their approach and along with companies like ours, Blue Tiger International, have found solutions to mitigate the impact of the Pandemic.

We have developed 14 Solutions, collaboratively with our supply chain managers. Some of these are:

The new roles and responsibilities of The Pandemic Supply Chain Manager require them to “think-out-of-the-box” and create approaches that were never thought of or utilized previously.

At Blue Tiger International, we become an extension of the supply chain manager’s resources and provide a business model to evaluate these options and apply them to the uniqueness of their business models and supply chains.

The four steps profiled above start with an overall assessment of the domestic and global supply chain. That review provides some solutions which must be tied into a financial evaluation that defines ROI.

This is followed by an operational review which determines what changes in the companies supply chain and business model require modification to meet the solution requirements. As an example, if it was assessed and evidenced ROI, the company choosing a Foreign Trade Zone as an option, it is likely changes would be made to the functions of compliance, security, product accountability, technology, and business process.

The last step is implementation, working collaboratively to make the solution work to the benefit of the business model.

This is all unfertile ground to the Supply Chain Executive. What we have observed is a significant “rise to the occasion” of many supply chain personnel, managers and executives to meet and successfully manage these required changes.

They are not necessarily eliminating the issues, but they are providing mitigating strategies all in the name of protecting market share, margins and sustainability.

Supply Chain Managers have become “Frontline Heroes” in the face of this Pandemic and deserve much credit and recognition for keeping supply chains functioning in the face of all these challenges.

This has and will continue to “raise the profile & importance” of Supply Chain Management in all companies’ business models. Additionally, senior management is recognizing their value to the organization, which has been a long-time coming.


Thomas A. Cook is a 30 year seasoned veteran of global trade and Managing Director of Blue Tiger International, based in New York, LA and West Palm Beach, Florida.

The author of 19 books on international business, two best business sellers. Graduate of NYS Maritime Academy with an undergraduate and graduate degree in marine transportation and business management.

Tom has a worldwide presence through over 300 agents in every major city along with an array of transportation providers and solutions.

Tom works with a number of Associations providing “value add” to their membership services and enhancing their overall reach into global sourcing and in export sales management.

He can be reach at or 516-359-6232


Procurement Evolved: The New Characteristics of Post-Pandemic Procurement

The pandemic challenged every business function to change how it operates and adapt to a new normal. For some, those changes have already been reversed. But for procurement, there’s no going back.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced virtually every business function to change how it worked, step into new roles, and adapt to extremely challenging market and operational conditions. For many of those functions, those changes – while significant – were short-term, and designed to help them weather the storm.

But, for procurement teams, the pandemic has accelerated evolution for the function – one that was already well underway before COVID-19 hit. It propelled the function’s journey from ‘back office spend optimizer’ to ‘strategic value creation all-star’. And now, there’s no going back.

Over the past 18 months, leading procurement functions have stepped up to deliver business value far beyond simple cost savings and margin optimization. Not surprisingly, their organizations want them to keep delivering it.

As a result, we’re seeing a new kind of procurement function emerge from the pandemic. It’s a stronger, more empowered function, characterized by three key evolutions:

Evolution #1: From reactive damage mitigator to proactive risk expert

Procurement has always been strong in times of crisis. But, in the past, teams have been restricted by the historical pricing, demand and trend data available to them. That retroactive insight meant that procurement teams were always looking for the best ways to react to a crisis, rather than sidestepping emerging threats proactively.

Thanks to recent advances in analytics and intelligence capabilities, as well as the emergence of sophisticated insight-delivery solutions, the crisis events of the last 18 months have given us our first real opportunity to see the power of proactive crisis insight in action.

Procurement teams empowered with these capabilities were able to identify the early indicators of major supply chain disruptions and take proactive actions to safeguard against them. They shifted between suppliers, sourced from new geographies, and rebuilt entire category strategies to ensure that their companies could continue operating as conditions worsened.

But business continuity was just the beginning of the benefits seen by these teams. Because they were able to watch these trends emerging, leading procurement teams were able to map and understand the potential impacts of each crisis on the business and provide valuable input for crisis management and risk mitigation.

Evolution #2: From supply administrator to strategic innovation driver

During the pandemic, supplier relationships have been more valuable and important than ever. At the peak of the disruption, the right relationship with a strategic supplier could mean the difference between business as usual and completely halting operations.

Leading procurement teams have been building high-value relationships with suppliers for decades, but the events seen in 2020 and 2021 were a powerful opportunity to showcase their value to the rest of the organization. As a result, organizations are now more interested than ever in the other great ways that procurement teams can create value from these relationships.

Exclusive contracts negotiated with suppliers, for example, are a valuable asset for supporting innovation. Through the contracts they help create, procurement teams can build partnerships that have a huge impact on overall business strategy, bringing new USPs into the organization.

As the first point of contact for suppliers, nobody in the business knows what’s happening with those suppliers better than your procurement team. That means they’re exposed to things like new products, new materials, new capabilities, and new offerings before anyone else, all of which can be used to drive commercial, product, and innovation strategies.

The leading teams of today aren’t just filling orders and signing invoices for suppliers – they’re partnering with them strategically. Now, businesses are waking up to the implications that have for innovation, and harnessing procurement teams’ potential as innovation drivers.

Evolution #3: From data comber to action-oriented all-star

Procurement experts can spend hours sifting through data to identify trends that might impact the commodities, markets, and suppliers they depend on. That’s admirable and has delivered immense value to businesses. But today, it’s not necessarily the best use of the procurement team’s time.

In recent years, sophisticated insight and intelligence solutions have transformed how procurement teams gather, consume, understand, and act on commodity and market intelligence. And once again, the pandemic has proven to be a powerful test of how those capabilities support teams and enable value creation in times of crisis.

At a time when every second counted, procurement teams saw immense value from those solutions and put them to use to act faster and stay ahead of competitors who were facing the same challenges and choices.

Take Nomad Foods, for example. When the pandemic first struck, it used intelligence solutions from The Smart Cube to quickly understand the potential impact on key categories and adjust its supplier portfolio to keep the business on track. But, because the team was able to act so fast, they were also able to look beyond ensuring continuity and identify an opportunity to create value and reduce waste amid the disruption.

The team identified that the closure of many restaurants and hospitality businesses would have a massive impact on many food categories and create significant short-term oversupply of many ingredients. By spotting this opportunity early, Nomad Foods was able to act before competitors and optimize its category strategy at a time when many other businesses were struggling to keep their doors open.

Numerous stories like this have emerged from the pandemic. Together they’ve helped organizations understand that the modern procurement function is able to deliver the greatest value when it’s empowered with timely, actionable insights enabled via the right tools and technologies, rather than having to generate those insights manually.


Omer is a co-founder of The Smart Cube and leads the firm’s business across The Americas. He works with Procurement and Strategy leaders at global organizations, transforming their teams to become value-driven and insight-led. Omer has more than 30 years of management consulting, global corporate and industry experience across North America, Europe and Asia. His prior roles include A.T. Kearney (North America), Warner Lambert (USA) and The Perrier Group (Asia-Pacific). Omer has an MBA from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, USA, and a BBA from the University of East Asia.


5 Promising Ways to Reduce the Impact of MRO on the Supply Chain

Supply chain managers and procurement specialists often must reduce the effects of maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) expenditures on the supply chain. That’s not always easy, but these five tips should spark meaningful and measurable progress.

1. Understand the Impacts of Poor MRO Management

MRO encompasses essential items that are not part of the finished products — sometimes referred to as indirect costs. For example, the category might include lubricant for a machine, safety goggles for workers and scheduled maintenance appointments for equipment.

MRO expenditures typically account for 5 to 10% of the cost of goods sold. Some people initially view that percentage range as small and do not manage MRO procurement as well as they should or at all. However, that’s a mistake, because running out of critical items or failing to stay on top of maintenance could bring knock-on effects.

For example, if a production line machine runs out of an essential chemical, its output could completely stop until someone re-supplies. Alternatively, running out of safety gear could put lives at risk and expose a company to scrutiny from regulators if accidents happen. Weighing the consequences of inadequate MRO management should provide the encouragement any company needs to take it more seriously.

2. Determine How to Mitigate Climate Change-Related Effects

Many leaders across all industries are paying more attention to how climate change could affect MRO expenditures. For example, some scientists believe climate change makes hurricanes more severe, causing more rainfall than past storms did. In that case, maintaining a building may involve purchasing and installing flood barriers or changing a warehouse layout, so the most valuable items stay out of the reach of rising water.

Imagine an area starts experiencing more severe winter storms. In that case, a company’s MRO budget may include more salt and other de-icing products to keep loading bays and other regularly used areas safe and accessible. Alternatively, business leaders may need to invest in cloud software that lets some people work from home if they can’t reach their workplaces due to icy roads. When companies take preventive measures like these, their overall weather-linked MRO costs should decrease due to better preparedness.

Inclement weather’s effects on the supply chain are not merely hypothetical. A report showed that the 2011 floods in Thailand affected more than 14,500 entities that used Thai suppliers. Those weather events resulted in billions of dollars worth of losses for the companies that had operations disrupted. Thus, inclement weather could raise operational expenses if a business ramps up production to meet the needs of clients affected by production stoppages from other suppliers in hard-hit areas.

3. Create an Effective Preventive Maintenance Program

When maintaining the equipment that helps the supply chain run smoothly, there are two primary approaches to pursue — reactive and preventive care. The first type centers on addressing problems once they appear. Conversely, proactive maintenance is all about having technicians assess machines often enough to catch minor issues before they cause significant outages or require total machine replacement.

One survey showed that 80% of maintenance personnel preferred preventive maintenance. The respondents found it especially valuable as part of a multidimensional maintenance plan. Such an approach lets companies avoid the costliest or most time-consuming repairs. That’s because technicians notice most issues while the abnormalities are still small and simple to address.

Business leaders may not immediately associate some MRO expenditures with preventive maintenance. For example, one professional accepted a position as the maintenance manager of a fully automated warehouse. Soon after assuming the role, he assessed how cleanliness supported preventive maintenance by showing more details about functionality. He gave the example of how it’s more challenging to spot a machine leak when the floor below the equipment is dirty.

4. Set Relevant Key Performance Indicators

Many company leaders — especially those who recognize data’s value — set key performance indicators (KPIs) to track whether improvements on particular metrics occur over time. If they do, that generally means the business is moving toward its goals. On the other hand, if KPIs get worse or stay static despite employees’ best efforts, it’s time to assess what’s going wrong and make the necessary alterations.

Specific KPIs are exceptionally valuable for decreasing MRO’s impact on the supply chain. For example, measuring the percentage of slow-moving inventory and keeping it under 10% is a suggested ideal. Achieving that aim shows company leaders are not making the common mistake of buying a product that falls under their MRO expenditure umbrella, but finding it expires before they can use all or even most of it.

Inventory accuracy is another worthwhile KPI to track. An ideal is 95% or above. Incorrect MRO product counts could prove disastrous — particularly when many purchasing representatives buy PPE to keep supply chain workers safe. Imagine a scenario where a computer system says a company has 1,000 masks, but, due to human error, they only have 10 in stock. That’s an extreme example that illustrates the importance of staying on top of inventory counts.

5. Assess and Tweak the MRO Budget

Some people make the mistake of treating the MRO budget as a static entity. However, doing that could cause them to miss out on money-saving opportunities. For example, using one MRO supplier instead of several can reduce transactional overhead. In addition to saving on shipping, they may also become eligible for volume discounts.

Regularly scrutinizing the MRO budget can also illuminate whether businesses may be reducing costs in the wrong ways. Maybe they switched to cheaper cutting tools to minimize spending. These may have a lower upfront cost, but add more expenses to the overall budget. Perhaps employees complained and said the tools broke often or quickly became dull during typical use. Thus, managers would probably buy more of the items than before while trying to accommodate those shortcomings.

Making MRO Spending Reductions a Priority

These five tips show how businesses can act strategically to limit MRO spending’s adverse effects on the supply chain. Doing so can keep a company within its budget, plus make it more responsive to marketplace changes that may require operational changes to meet demands.


Emily Newton is an industrial journalist. As Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, she regularly covers how technology is changing the industry.