New research report shows that over the last 12 months, South African companies’ interest, understanding and investment in digital technologies within procurement and supply chain has increased, with gaps widening between leaders and “traditionalists”.
Johannesburg, South Africa; 17 October 2019 – In 2018, Letsema’s Next-Gen Operations team conducted its inaugural study that sought to understand digital adoption in South Africa within procurement and supply chain, a critical function to achieve business success in a changing and challenging local and international market.
The findings included how strong leadership and a clear strategy and investment plan are critical to drive the digital agenda, and no one factor but rather a combination of factors prevent companies from reaping the rewards of digital adoption.
This year, the Next-Gen Operations team delved deeper, seeking to understand how much this picture has changed and whether there is “Digital Momentum” within the South African procurement and supply chain area.
The 2019 report’s findings, summarised into nine key findings and recommendations, include:
- The implications technological adoption has for employment and skills development within supply chain and procurement environment. There are significant risks if talent strategies are not adequately addressed, and leading companies are implementing innovative solutions to address this. A significant shift in the level of understanding and interest in artificial intelligence, machine learning and Robotics Process Automation (RPA). Many SA companies are investing aggressively in these technologies with the aim of reaping benefits in the future
- How the Pioneer group (leaders in adoption and implementation of technology) of 2018 have changed, furthering the gap between themselves and other company archetypes
- Organisations pursuing a “Do and Learn” approach when interacting with digital technology while avoiding over analysis and preparation
Kamen Govender, Partner of Next-Gen Operations at Letsema, says the 2019 research report results showed that, despite various challenges, there is indeed digital momentum within South African procurement and supply chain, at least for 34% of participants in the survey, and it is only accelerating.
“Based on the research, leaders within the procurement and supply chain space are trying targeted Proof of Concepts, instead of taking a purely theoretical approach to understanding where and how these interesting technologies could be applied. As a procurement and supply chain community in South Africa, we are custodians in many ways of the success of our businesses, and perhaps equally importantly, the careers and growth of our teams and suppliers. It should not be a responsibility we take lightly. We need to embrace and engage with these very powerful technology levers, there is clearly value all round in doing so,” Govender says.
“As with 2018, 2019 shows the critical impact leaders have on their organisations where digital within supply chain and procurement is concerned. The distinct difference between leadership on the digital understanding up curve, and their teams, who were left behind, has grown. Some executives will even leave due to digital stagnation. Leaders need to bring their teams and organisations along.”
The research report was compiled between April and September 2019, with 26 interviews conducted with senior procurement and supply chain professionals across different industries in South Africa.
The report will be publicly available on 24 October 2019.
For media queries and interview requests, please contact Letsema Communications Manager, Anele Ndlovu at anele.ndlovu@letsema.