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Using data to fuel a company’s procurement strategy

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the importance of using data in procurement has become critical to success - however reliance purely on data should be avoided.

As procurement becomes more strategic to businesses, companies must embrace a data-driven approach to their processes to enhance the quality and speed of information and analysis that informs decision making.

Whilst data can be overwhelming for an organisation, and its complex nature a barrier to use, this should not stop companies using it as an integral part of the decision-making process for procurement.

“Data has become the fuel of our times” said Diana Saykali, M&S Strategic Sourcing Manager MEA for Mars, speaking at the Procurement and Supply Chain Mena virtual conference on a panel looking at how to implement a data-driven procurement strategy.

Panellists said that despite how transformational data may be, and how powerful its ability to inform decisions is, it should not be considered the be-all and end-all for decision making.

“You need to understand the data that you have, and what the use cases you can get out of it are,” when using data to make an informed decision, said Suha El Sherbiny, Regional Corporate Solutions Manager at Bureau van Dijk.

For data to be useful it must be wielded properly said Andrew Savage, General Manager, Business Development and Operations at MTN Group. The telecoms group has employed data scientists to interpret its data, and work with procurement professionals to ensure the best outcome. It has sped up the ability to get data insights that can be used as part of the decision-making process.

“Procurement historically has been an artform… we wanted to turn that into more of a science based approach… [however] following science exactly is in some cases a little bit dicey… we wanted to be guided by science and guided by facts,” said Savage.

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