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New ‘Voices of Sourcing Report’ Puts Spotlight on Current Pains and Opportunities

October 26, 2021

author:
Kerrie Kennedy

The procurement industry is in a state of flux. New challenges are emerging every day that play havoc with even the best and most strategically laid plans of sourcing professionals around the world. For many teams, the annual RFP has taken a backseat in favor of increasingly more routine sourcing, with logistics, in particular, seeing ever-more-frequent spot-buying needs. 

Furthermore, as the mitigation of environmental damage and the need for supplier diversity gains new momentum, time-poor executives must develop plans that balance resourcing and top-level objectives. But costs are still king, and achieving savings targets remains as vital as ever to pump much-needed financial lifeblood into businesses wading through complex supply chain issues.

As revealed in the new 2021 “Voices of Sourcing Report”, 112 procurement executives from around the globe responded to Keelvar’s survey on the state of sourcing, “what keeps them up at night”, and their take on current and future priorities. Nearly all of the respondents work for supply chain-driven companies and over 75% for large $1 billion-plus enterprises. From sustainability concerns to shifting sourcing strategies, the results of that survey are important to better understand their working experience. 

Some of the key findings from the Voices of Sourcing report include:

  • Managing disruption is more important than ever – but sourcing teams may struggle to meet the C-suite’s rising expectations while juggling volatility.


  • Supplier speed and reliability are top decision criteria, but new emerging priorities will gain more attention in the next five years.

  • Sustainability strategies will have a greater future impact on sourcing, but challenges for implementation remain.

  • Despite the prevalence of job losses in many sectors, more sourcing teams have seen their human resources grow or remain static than those who experienced workforce decline.

  • Technology for e-sourcing, optimization, and automation adoption still has much room for growth to have a bigger impact and to help teams manage complexity.

One favorable takeaway is that a robust and well-resourced sourcing function is increasingly recognized as fundamental in meeting strategic business goals when facing high complexity. Keelvar’s data shows that more sourcing teams reported an increase in the size of their staffing resources in the previous 12 months – regardless of tightened budgets and higher manufacturing and logistics costs.

Also optimistically, more than half of respondents predict that their sourcing teams will grow to some extent over the next five years.

Another notable finding is a shift in attitude on how organizations are increasingly looking to technology solutions to improve their effectiveness and competitive edge in a congested market. Although obstacles for widespread e-sourcing tool adoption endure, our findings suggest that e-sourcing tool resistance is equally - if not more - down to internal process and behavior challenges rather than specifically related to the technology that’s available.

What could the survey findings mean for procurement and sourcing professionals as they navigate “the now” and look to remain resilient and agile in the years to come? Ultimately we believe our survey findings show that there is still a significant opportunity to invest in modernizing sourcing tools, process, and talent development to elevate ROI and help with corporate goal achievement. 

The paybacks are proven; now it’s about the evolution and adoption of the next advances in sourcing support.

Download your copy of the 2021 Voices of Sourcing report and learn more about critical topics affecting procurement and sourcing leaders today.


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