Exclusive: the key challenges for procurement in 2020

We asked leading CPOs around the world to tell us their key challenges for 2020...

2020 is in full swing, and yet the procurement industry is incredibly fluid and constantly evolving which means that with each passing day, the challenges we face continuously change. Here, we take a look at the key procurement challenges facing professionals in 2020, as told by the professionals themselves. 

Please note: this article was written prior to the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19). You can listen to an exclusive discussion with Alejandro Alvarez, Partner/operations Performance at Ayming, as he explores China’s crucial role in the global supply chain and how businesses may soon be affected more than people realise.

“Uncertainties in the global market leading into complexities of business partnership. Locking the right partners at the right time and at the right cost and knowledge transfer among different team members,” 

Musbah Abu Jarad, SCP Corporate and Assets Management Procurement, ALDAR Properties 

“I believe people will be a challenge in the digital & AI transformation journey that most Procurement functions are undertaken. Most of the focus from businesses is on systems, technologies and yet people are the main element in this equation. Having people adapt to new technologies and upscaling them to work with AI/ML and technology with trust is a challenge that will need to be tackled wisely.”

Mahmoud Alalawi,  Director of Procurement and Contracts, Higher Colleges of Technology

“Standardization of processes. Cloud procurement solutions demand that organizations change their custom processes in favour of best practices based standard processes to reduce costs”

Vivek Saluja, PMP, SAP Project Manager


“Analytics, AI/ML and digitalization provide great opportunities. Lots of companies have been able to gain massive one-off/project/pilot based successes on these domains [That look great on conference presentations]. Yet, the inconvenient truth is that most organizations have this far failed to scale these benefits across procurement/supply chain. The 2020 challenge for procurement organizations is how can you expand these point-successes into function-wide transformation.”

Sammeli Sammalkorpi, CEO and Co-founder of Sievo

“Supplier consolidation and innovation with top suppliers coupled with leveraging AI to automate internal processes improve data quality and deliver real time spend / supplier analytics.”

Jill Robbins, Senior Director, Global Procurement – Indirect Goods & Services,  Elanco 

“Incorporating AI technology into procurement practices. There are a lot of great products out there that leverage this technology, but a lot of organizations are still hesitant to implement them”

Dana Small, Senior Category Manager, Global Strategic Sourcing, BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.


“Implementing digital procurement transformation and having the right talent to do so.  Transformation starts with people and without these key people in place, it becomes even more challenging”

Iain Campbell McKenna, Managing Director, Sourcing Solved


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