What Will Procurement Look Like In 100 Years? Part 3 - “Slightly Mad”

Posted 12/11/2015

Well for those of you who’ve been avidly reading our views on 100 years from now in the last couple of weeks, you will be well aware that we are trying to explore the important question of whether or not to encourage our Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren to our profession. In week 1, it looked a pretty good place to be but in week 2, it rather went downhill – let’s see how this week floats your boat. We’ll leave it for you to decide which of our 3 scenarios seemed most likely to you!

100 years from now – The Slightly Mad? Or is it?

1.      ET Shoring.

As we reach out to the solar system & stars in 100 years time offshoring will add a further category becoming…. Near shoring, far shoring, ET shoring.     Also managing FXrisk when you add in the complexity of the rate of the Martian Zog to the pound will be a nightmare!  And if you add in Bitcoins (or its successors ) as a currency choice for suppliers then buyers heads may start to explode

2.      Africa as the central world procurement hub.

Will we have to be African to be in purchasing – the demographic profile of China, Europe and much of the rest of the developed world will be very aged – Africa is the only continent with a young demographic profile – this is where all the P2P as well as strategic sourcing will be done

3.      Freelancing as the norm.

The demise of “the firm” as the basic unit of organisation of capitalist enterprise (as forecast by some economists) will mean contracting and managing supplier relationships will become trickier as suppliers may be composed of loose and ever shifting conglomerations of individuals with no over-arching / long lasting or effective legal entity as a counter party

4.      Crowd sourcing will be the new byword.

Maybe traditional purchasing professionals will disappear and sourcing will become a “crowd sourcing” (like crowd funding) activity with small amounts of time / expertise being bought as and when required via the, by that time super fast / super interconnected, internet to deal with demand.

5.      Procurement lead the world.

By this time procurement would have been involved in every facet of life and consequently there would be a strict price list (including Martian Zog) for everything that anyone could wish to purchase - although the list of available items would be carefully controlled so that the specifications would be completely tied down.

There would exist though a fascinating sub-culture, mainly consisting of ex marketeers and ex government department heads, who completely disagree with the concept of strict cost control and therefore try to develop and sell products that have a perceived value outside of their cost of manufacture. They would also have a shoot on sight policy for anyone related to procurement.

To conclude, we’re a little unsure (if we’re honest!)  how to steer the grandchildren and great –grandchildren based on this hypothesis as it looks like it may be a job with a great deal of power, with a lot of time spent in Africa and some planet hopping.  I guess it depends your personal profile – if you want excitement and glory, procurement could be where it’s all at !  but you might not live long!

So to cap this trilogy all off, we’ve taken you through 3 very different scenarios 100 years from now – the Seriously Good, The Disturbingly Bad and the Slightly Mad.  Sadly I’m not sure we have been able to give you a definitive view on life in the procurement profession in 100 years, but I’ve certainly got a view who was holding the half full and half empty glasses in Future Purchasing - and who might not have been taking the question too seriously!  Can you do any better? Which scenario did you think was most likely?

….now where’s that Martian language learning app?

Tagged by topic: The Future of Procurement

  by Allison Ford-Langstaff

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