Survey finds 69% of procurement professionals considered themselves pivotal to business innovation

Survey finds 69% of procurement professionals considered themselves pivotal to business innovation

Andrew Allen, Supply Management, 26 May 2016 

Procurement is at the heart of many business innovations but as a follower rather than a leader, according to Wax Digital’s new Procurement Innovation Pathway (opens new window) report. 

Of the 100 UK senior procurement professionals surveyed 69% considered themselves pivotal to business innovation with 80% expecting to be so in the future.

Yet while 76% said that they are involved in a range of business innovations only 27% are leading those innovations.

86% of respondents said they wanted to be a part of all ongoing product innovations and service developments in the future – not only those within the procurement function.

However, a risk-averse nature and emphasis on collaborating may be holding back procurement from taking a position of leadership in innovation, the research found.

Respondents ranked having a clear business vision (42%), reacting quickly to the market and customers (33%) and reviewing and improving business processes (32%) as top factors associated with business innovation.  But only 20% cited a willingness to take risks and 19% a high investment in R&D for example, factors the report said were traditionally more innovation-related.

Respondents said the factors limiting innovation most frequently were views of other departments (40%), lack of required skills (33%) and time-consuming processes (31%).

But the report said it had also found “setbacks with procurement’s own mind-set” with only 10% focused on challenging business objectives 14% prioritising competitiveness and 18% prioritising leadership skills within their team.

Daniel Ball, director at Wax Digital, said: “Procurement is innovating. Clear indicators of some discomfort with taking risks... suggest it’s not yet realising its full potential in this area. “To become real innovators, procurement professionals must overcome these issues while fostering the right business relationships, nurturing the correct new skills and seeking to break ground in their approach to technology.”