Category: Insights

Rising Demand for Commodity Procurement Talent at Food Manufacturers

Chief Procurement Officers at food manufacturers are prioritizing talent development emphasizing analytical skills like value-at-risk assessment and the necessity for emerging roles such as data scientists. According to a recent Procurement Leaders report, the focus on cultivating analytical abilities and recruiting talent for emerging roles is critical for thriving in today's volatile business environment. This strategic emphasis on talent, driven by the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and a complex global landscape, underscores procurement's evolving role as a cornerstone of organizational resilience and success.

Procurement leaders urgently need to build teams with advanced skills to navigate today's unpredictable landscape. Essential skills include value-at-risk assessment, should-cost analysis, and input-cost monitoring. Organizations are also seeking talent for emerging roles such as data scientists, data translators, and scrum masters to leverage valuable insights.

The last couple of years have truly demonstrated the value of procurement to businesses—not merely as a purchasing function, but as a strategic entity that manages risk.

This focus on talent is driven by several factors: the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted procurement's strategic importance, and there is growing recognition that top talent is crucial for managing supply shortages, fluctuating commodity prices, and logistical challenges in a complex business environment.

"The last couple of years have truly demonstrated the value of procurement to businesses—not merely as a purchasing function, but as a strategic entity that manages risk," remarked Patricia Stroup, CPO at Nestlé. "The executive team has acknowledged the procurement team’s work in maintaining product availability, managing costs, and addressing inflation. I believe this sentiment extends beyond Nestlé and resonates across industries."

Talent Retention Strategies

The primary challenge for organizations lies in their ability to attract and retain talent. Deloitte's 2023 Global Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) Survey found that more than 70% of CPOs in the study had difficulty attracting talent over the past 12 months and the loss of critical talent was the top internal issue, with 47% of CPOs citing it as a high or moderate impact. To tackle this issue, companies are implementing initiatives such as employee mentoring, talent rotations, procurement academies, and university partnerships to nurture critical skills.

As organizations grapple with softened demand amid inflationary pressures, financially constrained consumers are scaling back purchases, resulting in decreased sales volumes. Consequently, procurement leaders are redoubling efforts to reinstate deflation in their commodity spending. This renewed focus underscores a concerted push to enhance talent, with a dual strategy of internal mentorship and skill development aimed at empowering individuals to navigate inflationary challenges. Additionally, there is a strategic endeavor to identify and recruit top talent from competitors, further bolstering organizational capabilities.

Innovative Procurement: AI Integration

Procurement teams are increasingly embracing innovation, leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance efficiency. This transformative force of artificial intelligence is reshaping practices across strategic sourcing, supplier risk management, contract lifecycle management, and accounts payable, empowering teams with real-time analytics, predictive insights, and automated compliance.

By prioritizing advanced skills and innovative roles, procurement leaders can better navigate the complexities of today's volatile business landscape and secure a competitive edge.

For further exploration of the themes discussed in this article, please contact our consultants.