The Real Answer to Procurement Burnout
In 2023, burnout continues to be a hot topic for supply chain and procurement professionals. With ongoing market volatility and inflationary pressures, workers are stretched thin and must wear many hats to succeed. This has caused industry leaders to ask, What is the real answer to procurement burnout?
The Downside of Burnout
Burnout can create significant problems for companies, including a dip in performance, increased human error, a lack of motivation, and, in severe cases, more conflict and irritability between team members and physical ailments caused by stress, such as trouble sleeping, body pains, and even substance abuse.
Since the pandemic, several industry leaders have shared their tips and tricks for alleviating procurement burnout. At their 2021 virtual Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo, Gartner attributed burnout to a talent shortage and advised companies to “make clear the connections between their [employees’] hard work, the company’s objectives, and bigger and more impactful aims.”
In 2022, CIPS noted that “a prolonged period of crisis response has left many procurement professionals at [the] breaking point.” Their suggestions? Supporting time off and implementing wellness initiatives.
The downside of procurement burnout is real, but the solutions being offered don’t fully address the critical concern: a lack of intelligent digital systems and workflows that expand visibility, identify risks proactively, and offer actionable insights to real issues.
What Can Be Done
The key to success is understanding that the real answer to procurement burnout is an investment in digital solutions to aid overworked procurement professionals. A complete rethinking of processes to make procurement less reactive and more proactive is imperative so procurement professionals are not constantly chasing their tails.
A major cause of burnout is feeling powerless. An antidote is giving professionals better tools to minimize the daily "fire drills” they are bombarded with. Digital systems and workflows can help procurement prepare for events by understanding their risk and cost profiles and acting accordingly.
As you settle into 2023, a real opportunity lies in enhancing direct procurement capabilities with highly automated and efficient systems for data analytics and insights. Adding new people without looking for ways to transform how work is done is a missed opportunity. Investing in wellness initiatives without addressing the underlying cause of worker disengagement is a waste of limited resources.
Fortunately, the technology already exists for companies open to rethinking how they approach the issue. Digitalization can help workers focus on higher-value tasks and do their jobs in a more impactful, effective, and rewarding way.
Being a procurement professional is never going to be completely stress free, but by taking advantage of available technology, companies can significantly alleviate procurement burnout and deliver immediate business value with greater efficiency and job satisfaction.
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