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Written by Marijn Overvest | Reviewed by Sjoed Goedhart | Fact Checked by Ruud Emonds | Our editorial policy

11 Procurement Trends For 2024 According to Experts

Key takeaways

  • Accuracy and speed in procurement are enhanced by real-time systems.
  • Business emphasis is shifting to fair supplier relationships and environmentally responsible practices.
  • T-shaped procurement specialists are in high demand because of their broad and deep skill sets.

In 2024, Procurement will elevate business. We see three fundamental shifts driving this transformation, fueling 11 defining Procurement trends.

First, procurement needs to innovate, to use modern digital opportunities to their advantage. Second, the way procurement operates will be reinvented with a focus on driving value for its customers and suppliers.

Finally, procurement is stepping up to champion meaningful change in the world.
These shifts will send procurement on a thrilling journey with opportunities, challenges, and the promise of a future in which procurement takes center stage in elevating procurement as a force for good.

Let’s dive into the procurement trends we’ve identified, drawing from these anticipated shifts.

Theme 1: Procurement Innovation

Companies understand that procurement is crucial for many other aspects next to cutting expenses. As the attention of companies grows on procurement, it’s changing significantly in today’s business world. 

In 2024, procurement will be constantly merging with the newest innovations, particularly AI. This leads us to our first three procurement trends.

1. Fast Integration of AI in Procurement 

In recent findings from Research and Markets, it’s clear that AI is already bringing transformative changes to how procurement processes and supply chains function, delivering substantial cost savings. 

During the forecast period of 2017-2025, the global market for artificial intelligence in manufacturing is expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 55.2%

The primary drivers for this market growth are the increasing use of big data technology and industrial Internet of Things (IoT) in the manufacturing industry, the extensive usage of computer-based technology and robotics by manufacturing companies, a significant increase in venture capital investments, and cross-industry partnerships.

AI’s role in supply chain management extends to enhancing various facets, from process automation to providing enhanced insights into both real-time and static data in procurement.

Forecasts from the report project that global AI adoption in procurement and supply chain management will reach a staggering $1.3 billion by 2024. 

Impact: Increasing AI integration in procurement processes

AI is streamlining supply chains through the introduction of virtual assistants, fostering collaboration not only within individual companies but also among different entities in the supply chain. 

Additionally, the synergy between AI and IoT is creating a highly efficient operational environment, with AI expected to make supply chains 45% more effective in timely and error-free product delivery. 

In essence, AI is poised to reshape procurement and supply chain operations, offering a more efficient future for businesses, encompassing cost savings, reliable product delivery, and overall supply chain enhancement.

Companies are already reaping the rewards of their investments in AI, especially in the realm of supply chains, according to Morgan’s observations. 

For instance, Rolls Royce employs AI algorithms on its ships to detect and categorize objects in the water, assessing their threat to the ship. 

UPS utilizes an AI-powered GPS tool to optimize the routes for its vehicle fleets, ensuring efficiency. Similarly, Lineage Logistics relies on an AI algorithm to predict the arrival and departure times of food orders at their warehouses. 

Furthermore, AI’s integration into the supply chain and procurement process can effectively streamline businesses, allowing them to achieve cost savings and cost efficiency. 

Action: Businesses’ continuous investment in AI

To gain the transformative impact of AI in procurement and supply chain management, businesses should consider the following strategic actions in procurement. 

First, allocate resources to invest in AI technologies tailored for these procurement processes to realize cost savings and operational efficiencies. 

Second, ensure effective integration and analysis of real-time and static data to lay the groundwork for AI-driven insights and process improvements. 

Third, explore collaboration opportunities with supply chain stakeholders, leveraging AI’s capabilities to facilitate efficient communication and cooperation. 

Fourth, embrace the synergy between AI and IoT by implementing sensors and devices to collect data for predictive analytics and process optimization. Establish mechanisms for continuous monitoring and evaluation of AI’s impact, and adapt strategies based on AI-driven insights. 

Finally, invest in workforce training to equip employees with the necessary skills to work alongside AI systems effectively. 

By taking these actions in 2024, procurement cannot only cut costs but also boost efficiency and reliability, securing a competitive edge in the AI-transformed landscape.

1. Fast Integration of AI in Procurement

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2. Conversational AI leading to increased productivity

In 2024, it is expected to see a rise in the use of conversational AI in procurement

Although it is still in its early stage, conversational or generative AI is already getting popular as 84% of business leaders are planning to use conversational AI by next year. 

Impact: Enhanced productivity for procurement

Conversational AI is proving to be a game-changer in the world of procurement. It promises considerable time savings by enabling procurement professionals to interact with computer programs by using natural language, eliminating the need for dull manual database searches. 

Procurement professionals can simply ask questions like “Find me a supplier for canned tomatoes in Italy,” and AI quickly retrieves the relevant information. This frees up valuable time for market research and strategic decision-making. 

Conversational AI can be a useful tool in preparing for negotiations. By copying and pasting your negotiation strategy into an AI tool, you can identify areas that need improvement and address any inaccuracies in your plan. 

Additionally, conversing with AI tools like ChatGPT can help you gauge the effectiveness of your negotiation skills. You can prompt ChatGPT to roleplay as the other party in the negotiation, allowing you to practice and strategize more effectively. 

Overall, utilizing conversational AI can enhance your negotiation preparedness and increase your chances of success.

Action: Plan ahead

It is evident that this technology is going to redefine the procurement industry. To ensure a successful integration, businesses must take several strategic actions. First, businesses should develop a comprehensive integration plan tailored to the unique needs of procurement.  This plan should pinpoint specific areas where conversational AI can provide the most value, streamlining workflows and enhancing efficiency. 

Additionally, investment in training and education is crucial to the success of integrating conversational AI in the procurement. Procurement professionals should be proficient in using conversational AI tools. This inclusivity ensures that the benefits of this technology are accessible to all, fostering collaboration and informed decision-making. 

2. Conversational AI leading to increased productivity

3. Supplier development to counter supply chain disruptions

Another lesson that many procurement professionals learned the hard way over the last few years is to proactively find alternative suppliers. Being proactive helps to assess the possible challenges in the supply chain as a whole, and identify the risks that could affect your product to be delivered to your customers promptly. Research showed that in 2023, the main supply chain issues are behind us, but high inflation is not yet. Next to this, geopolitical issues like we are seeing in the current wars in Russia-Ukraine and in Israel & Gaza could also affect global supply chains and the availability of raw materials negatively. There is only one answer for procurement professionals: making sure to put as much as possible effort into finding and onboarding alternative suppliers.  Impact: Proactive planning should be the new norm  Being proactive in dealing with this challenge in procurement and the supply chain will give professionals an edge over those who continually are reactive when problems arise in their operations.  Additionally, It’s important to be a proactive procurement professional given the facts about current food price fluctuations. According to the World Bank, 78.9% of high-income countries are experiencing food price inflation. Europe is among the regions most affected by immediate wheat futures. How can being proactive aid in tackling supply chain disruptions in procurement? Let’s take a look at Tetra Pak as an example, a food processing and packaging solutions company. They upgraded their financial and simulation planning by switching from their old Excel-based system to faster tools for scenario analysis. Using smart technology to run simulations is a great way to get ready for future problems. It helps identify weaknesses or trouble spots in supplier landscape & supply chains before a real issue hits. Procurement teams are very important in mitigating risks within supply chain planning. It’s smarter to find and fix things that could hurt customer relationships, revenue growth, and overall business efficiency now rather than waiting for a crisis. Let’s discuss how here!  Action: Fostering and developing proactive alternative supplier strategies

To be ready to counter any challenge arising from the current geopolitical issues, procurement professionals should focus almost 40% of their time on contacting, visiting, negotiating, and onboarding alternative suppliers.  This is the key driver for getting less dependent on current suppliers and as a result, mitigating risks and achieving successful results with your current suppliers. As well as in the field of mitigating risks, as well as in the negotiation results. No supplier wants to lose business, and having an actual alternative gives endless power at the negotiation table. Yes, finding the right alternatives takes a lot of time. And yes, procurement still might not achieve all the goals due to external reasons, but this the only way forward in 2024. 

Theme 2: Transforming The Operational Procurement Model

The way procurement has operated has remained mostly the same despite the changing world and shifting business landscape of the past two decades. Often, procurement is organized to deliver savings through specific roles, divided into specialized buying teams,  and centralized administrative teams.

However, truly adding value in today’s complex world requires integrated solutions rather than separate specializations. This leads to the need for procurement teams that drive business impact.

Doing so effectively requires a different set of skills as well as a different value proposition. It will compel procurement to forecast better, to use real-time supply chain systems, and to think about how we should organize our work to be future-proof. Lastly, in 2024, procurement will come to the realization that suppliers are more important than ever in achieving its targets. 

Procurement has an outdated self-image and 2024 is the year this will change with the next four trends.

4. Procurement forecasting with predictive analysis 

Adding predictive analytics to the procurement processes is not just a good idea, it’s very important. Thanks to new technological improvements, businesses can easily use predictive analytics by 2024. Predictions say the global procurement analytics market will reach $32.3 billion by 2031. Technology, new electronic ideas, and strong computer systems are making data-driven solutions more wanted. That’s why predictive analytics will keep growing, especially in 2024.

Sievo is a company that assists data-driven businesses in making informed decisions. It aids companies in extracting, classifying, and enhancing data from various ERP systems and external sources. Sievo is a well-known name in this field, and it has helped numerous companies worldwide achieve their objectives.

Impact: More businesses to adopt predictive analytics

Predictive analysis helps procurement experts get useful information to help them make data-driven and informed decisions.  Procurement teams are more able to forecast demands that will help in gaining more profit and reduce the risks in their purchasing decisions. To thrive in this evolving procurement landscape, procurement must wholeheartedly embrace predictive analytics and make data-driven forecasting the cornerstone of their procurement strategies and supplier relationship tooling.

Action: Making the most out of predictive analytics

To gain the full potential of predictive analytics in procurement, procurement teams must take decisive action. The journey of integrating predictive analytics begins by starting to integrate predictive analytics tools into their procurement software portfolio.  

Procurement teams can leverage predictive analysis to optimize their procurement process and make more informed decisions. You may be wondering how this is possible. Well, predictive analysis can help procurement teams navigate market fluctuations by identifying the best time to procure materials and the most suitable suppliers to do business with. By leveraging existing and historical data, procurement teams can streamline their procurement process and make more effective decisions.

When using procurement analytics, it’s important to be aware of the potential for data breaches and unauthorized access due to the tool’s reliance on data. Moreover, we cannot deny that predictive analysis will be an important part of the procurement process in 2024 as it can help procurement teams anticipate potential risks and opportunities, and make better decisions. 

4. Procurement forecasting with predictive analysis

5. Real-time stock & supply systems

Another technological feature that we are eyeing to gain attention in 2024 is real-time systems. The recent years have taught a hard lesson that any supply risk or disruption in procurement should be identified immediately. Similarly, if there’s a demand surge, suppliers must be informed promptly. Many companies couldn’t respond to the pandemic due to information delays and time lags. 

In 2024, companies will focus on improving collaboration in their supply networks and implementing more real-time systems and processes to reduce information delays to zero.

Impact: Changing the way procurement professionals monitor their products

Integrating real-time systems in procurement reduces information time lags to near zero, providing accurate and up-to-date information on supplies and products.

Managing sourcing and procurement with outdated supply chain management infrastructure, which keeps your data locked and manually updated spreadsheets, can leave you lagging in real-time changes that constantly occur in the business world.

In today’s fast-paced environment, you need to have a comprehensive, transparent view of your company’s sourcing and spending data that is accessible to all teams in real-time. 

To tackle the complexities of the supply chain ecosystem, you need robust cloud-based sourcing and procurement technology that can help your organization enhance data transparency, reduce spending, mitigate risk, and improve collaboration with suppliers.

Additionally, real-time system integration can be upgraded further by backing it up with AI tools and by having an agile cloud-based platform. 

For instance, Cirque du Soleil, a Montreal-based company, relies on 1,900 suppliers from all over the world to deliver complex performances that require custom-made equipment and thousands of costumes.  After adopting an agile cloud-based platform that facilitates transparent procurement, Cirque managed to significantly enhance its supply chain management.

Action: More investment in real-time systems

Many companies are still skeptical regarding the complete and overall digitization of their procurement process. However, what these companies don’t realize is that it can improve their product quality, shorten cycle time, and increase their brand image. 

For companies to start with their real-time system initiatives, they must start implementing real-time transportation visibility platforms

These visibility platforms will address the problem of customers having no visibility into the status of their products. 

By doing this, companies can gradually adopt the system and have a real-time overview of the procurement process and product status.

6. Redefining remote procurement work setup

Now that the pandemic is gone, there is still a question that lingers around and this is, “Will remote Procurement work continue to exist?” The answer is yes, remote work setup is here to stay. But what should companies do to make sure team members achieve the best results while working remotely?

Impact for Procurement: Online negotiation skills 

The evolving landscape of remote work carries substantial implications, especially in procurement, including those that outsource their operations. This shift underscores the need for adaptability within organizations, allowing professionals to work in diverse and flexible ways.  While some companies advocate for a strict return to the office, the prevailing sentiment leans toward the acceptance of remote work as a possible option. 

Interestingly, according to a report by Gartner, a number of workers express a preference for a hybrid work model that combines both office and remote work. Some even suggest they may consider leaving their jobs if forced to return to the office full-time, highlighting the strong request for the flexibility to work from home within the procurement sector. 

This stresses the need for procurement to carefully balance the benefits of remote work with the importance of collaborative environments to boost innovation and efficiency. 

Action: Procurement professionals must step up their role

In 2024, the way procurement professionals work will keep changing. Procurement teams must establish clear guidelines on how, where, and when work should be conducted. When do I visit suppliers? When do I negotiate online, and when offline? When do I mail, when do I call, and how do I achieve the best results while making sure the relationship with suppliers is at the best? 

When negotiating online, should I adapt my negotiation style? The short answer to that question? Yes! 

Covid-19 has influenced the way we close deals. The standard yet outdated rule suggests procurement managers are more likely to maximize their opportunities in face-to-face negotiations. Forget it.  For most procurement professionals – face-to-face negotiations are the preferred mode of negotiating but since this is not the standard, it is very important to know which tactics to use while negotiating via phone, Zoom, MS teams, or any other digital way.

7. Procurement’s emphasis on relationship building

Good relationship management with suppliers is important for any company, and thus for procurement teams. If the last few years of shortage of raw materials taught companies one important lesson, it is that they need to have good relationships with their suppliers. Many companies without good relationship management found themself with no delivered products. 

In 2024, a drastic shift is underway in how businesses collaborate with their suppliers, co-manufacturers, customers, carriers, and distributors. They’ve realized that their traditional, self-centered approaches are no longer efficient, especially after struggling with the challenges posed by the pandemic. As a result, they’re placing a high priority on implementing systems that enable real-time collaboration with their partners.

Impact: Quick communication

The lessons learned from the pandemic have highlighted the critical importance of agility and responsiveness within procurement. 

Businesses have come to recognize the need to forge real-time collaborations with their partners, with an amplified focus on key areas such as relationship building,  planning, forecasting, orders, shipments, delivery schedules, and inventory tracking. 

This real-time collaboration serves as a powerful tool for minimizing errors and inefficiencies, ultimately leading to cost savings and bolstering competitiveness within their intricate business networks. 

A valuable insight learned from the pandemic is the importance of quickly identifying supply risks and disruptions.  In 2024, businesses are making it a top priority to enhance collaboration within their supply networks, leveraging real-time systems to ensure the rapid communication of demands.  

Action: Strengthening collaboration

In procurement, businesses are increasingly recognizing the critical importance of strengthening their relationships with suppliers. 

To do this, procurement teams must make investments in real-time collaboration platforms, ensuring that all their suppliers have access to the most up-to-date information. 

To improve your relationship with your suppliers, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of their capabilities, plans, and how well their objectives align with your business needs. As your suppliers’ success and stability directly affect your operations, it is crucial to go beyond the surface level and establish a genuine connection with them. 

While it may prove difficult to build a relationship with a supplier, it is essential to do so, especially if a supplier is important to your business and presents potential risks in terms of supply assurance. To create a strong supplier relationship, you need to move beyond the standard interactions with account managers. 

This means asking the right questions and actively seeking information that may not be readily shared. By delving deeper and establishing trust, you can build a more robust and stable relationship with your suppliers.

Additionally, you must conduct supplier audits. By conducting supplier audits, you gain valuable insights into the supplier’s overall quality performance. It allows you to assess their ability to consistently meet your quality requirements and identify any potential issues or areas of non-compliance. This proactive approach enables you to take corrective actions and address any concerns before they impact your operations or the end product.

Lastly, you should develop a culture of risk awareness. It is similar to constructing a formidable defense system for your supplier relationships. Encouraging individuals to actively identify and address potential risks before they become significant issues helps create a risk-aware culture. By fostering an environment where everyone is empowered to stay vigilant, we can identify warning signs early on and take proactive measures to prevent any negative impact on our business.

Theme 3: Procurement as a Dorce for Good

Procurement is stepping up to lead transformation changes that will benefit both the business and the employees. 

Due to changed legislation and more and more companies focussing on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals, many procurement professionals will emphasize sustainability in 2024. 

Additionally, the procurement landscape will continue to adopt inclusivity and diversity within its operations, seeing a lot of diverse groups working together to streamline the procurement process. 

The rise of T-shaped Procurement teams and individuals will also be popular in 2024, as flexibility will be one of the key factors in tackling the challenges that procurement teams face to become more future-proof. 

8. Sustainable procurement as the norm instead of an add-on

In 2024, businesses will continue to put more focus on sustainable procurement. Consumers are putting more pressure on companies to become more sustainable, and there is a huge increase in regulations that push companies to become more sustainable. Companies are starting to invest in climate adaptation, which refers to adjusting to the reality of climate change instead of working to mitigate it. 

  • Unilever, for instance, has launched water stewardship programs aimed at preserving water quality and managing supply risks around factories, such as Prabhat in India. 
  • Nestlé, on its part, promotes intercropping to support soil fertility and build climate change-resilient supply lines. 
  • Bayer, on the other hand, invests in developing seed varieties that are more resilient to heat, drought, wind, and flooding. 

Procurement plays a significant role in this agenda and should work to help the organization adapt to the new climate reality.

Impact: Companies are putting more effort into achieving sustainability

By 2024, sustainability reporting is expected to become a notable trend in the procurement industry. 

Companies are expected to increase their efforts in this regard, recognizing the crucial role that such reports play in promoting transparency, particularly within their procurement processes. 

These reports will serve as powerful tools for showcasing a company’s environmental and social performance metrics in the context of its supply chain operations. 

The surge in sustainability reporting is fueled by the growing awareness of the importance of sustainability and the desire to promote responsible and eco-conscious procurement practices. 

By making sustainability an integral part of their procurement strategies and transparently communicating their efforts through these reports, businesses can not only meet the demands of socially and environmentally conscious consumers but also drive positive change across global supply chains.

Action: Regulations are at the forefront of pushing for sustainability

The European Union is taking significant steps to enforce sustainability measures. The EU has approved the common charger directive, which will compel electronics manufacturers, including Apple, to adopt the USB-C standard by 2024. 

This directive mandates the use of USB-C ports on various devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, cameras, game consoles, headphones, wireless mice, and keyboards, as well as portable navigation systems.

Even notebooks will be required to adhere to this standard, with enforcement beginning 40 months after the directive’s implementation.

The idea behind this move is to provide consumers with greater convenience and to reduce electronic waste by standardizing chargers across devices. 

By doing this, the EU aims to make a positive impact on the environment and improve the user experience. This shift toward sustainability and standardized charging systems represents a broader global trend towards responsible and eco-friendly practices in both regulatory and business domains, which will continue to shape the landscape in 2024 and beyond.

9. Inclusivity and diversity 

As 2024 is approaching, the focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) is becoming increasingly prominent in the corporate landscape. This narrative explores the impact and actions related to DEIB efforts in procurement, highlighting the evolving landscape of fairness and inclusivity within businesses.

For example, following the Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down race-conscious decisions in college admissions, Republican attorney generals warned Fortune 100 CEOs that this ruling would also apply to private companies.

Impact: Companies are continuously pushing for more DEIB initiatives

DEIB initiatives are gaining traction, with all Fortune 500 companies sharing their DEI initiatives online, and nearly half of them having designated individuals responsible for DEI efforts. 

In 2024, we anticipate a shift towards greater emphasis on DEIB within procurement processes. Traditionally, diversity efforts have concentrated on achieving a diverse workforce, but now, procurement departments are extending these principles throughout their operations.

This shift means that procurement professionals are considering diversity and fairness when selecting new suppliers, nurturing their growth, making contract decisions, and executing various procurement tasks. 

One of the benefits of increased diversity and inclusion is that it promotes equality and fairness in the procurement process, especially when procuring goods and services from diverse suppliers. This ensures that every supplier has an equal opportunity to compete for contracts.

The aim is to build more inclusive and equitable relationships with suppliers, fostering a sense of belonging within the procurement ecosystem. DEIB initiatives in procurement align with broader diversity goals, reflecting a commitment not only to business success but also to the well-being of individuals.

Moreover, there’s a noticeable increase in training efforts to educate procurement teams on how to incorporate fairness and inclusivity into their work. This signifies a growing awareness of the importance of DEIB in every aspect of business, including procurement.

Action: Addressing inequalities in business operations

Looking ahead to 2024, we can expect more proactive efforts in procurement to address disparities in how suppliers are treated and to promote diversity in leadership roles.

It has been reported by the World Economic Forum that businesses that prioritize diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) are up to 36% more profitable and have up to 20% higher rates of innovation. One of the key elements of DEIB is supplier diversity, which means that it should not only be a designated program within procurement but also a top priority for the entire company.

Fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) requires more than just having strong policies and procedures in place. It necessitates every employee in an organization to approach their work with an inclusive mindset. 

For instance, having an inclusive mindset during talent acquisition means encouraging employees to recruit from a wider range of diverse candidate pools and curbing their unconscious bias during the interview process. 

Similarly, inclusive procurement includes expanding recruitment for formal request for proposal (RFP) processes and training employees to search for new sources for everyday purchases.

10. Shortage of qualified sustainable procurement professionals 

In 2024, as more businesses focus on sustainability, there will also be an increase in sustainable procurement jobs that will be available according to a study by GreenBiz. However, because of this increase, procurement professionals must develop more skills and knowledge regarding sustainability to qualify for these sustainable jobs.

The demand for green job opportunities is increasing rapidly worldwide. In India, the number of such jobs has surged by 80-100% as compared to last year. However, there is a shortage of skilled professionals in this emerging field as most of these job profiles are new.

In China, the government’s plans to reach peak carbon emissions and transition to green energy have led to a surge in “green employment”. The sector is expected to employ one million people by 2025.

Impact: Sustainability greatly influences the business landscape

The field of procurement is experiencing a noticeable increase in job opportunities related to sustainability, driven by the growing commitment of businesses to eco-friendly practices. 

This trend is due to the investments in clean energy and environmentally conscious approaches, not only by businesses but also by government entities and individuals. 

These drastic changes have resulted in specialized roles within procurement teams, such as carbon accountants, sustainability managers, and professionals responsible for ensuring strict compliance with evolving environmental regulations.

Moreover, the growing strictness of environmental regulations and the heightened awareness of climate-related issues are creating a pressing need for experts who can incorporate sustainability into procurement processes. 

Furthermore, as once-futuristic technologies like carbon emissions management software, carbon capture and storage methods, hydrogen energy utilization, and enhanced solar power solutions become increasingly available, they are reshaping the way procurement operates. 

These technological advancements are not only promoting sustainability but also creating new job opportunities within procurement teams. 

As sustainability gains reputation across industries and technology becomes more accessible, a broader range of individuals will have the opportunity to engage in sustainable procurement practices. 

This, in turn, is expected to lead to a continuous expansion of job openings and a fundamental shift toward sustainable procurement processes. 

Action: Institutions working together to create programs for all kinds of learners

As more sustainability jobs become available, the need for new skills is growing due to changes in technology and industries. The ongoing pandemic has made this need even more urgent. To tackle this challenge, businesses must quickly create programs to teach procurement professionals the skills they need for sustainability jobs.

A study by the World Economic Forum shows that about 54% of procurement professionals will need to learn new sustainability skills by 2024. However, only 21% of them think businesses are helping them learn these skills. This big gap highlights the importance of the need to upskill procurement professionals.

To solve this, governments, schools, and businesses should work together. They can share knowledge and resources to create big programs for all kinds of learners. 

Financial help like scholarships or discounts on training should be available, especially for people who might have a hard time affording it.

As there is a continuous rise in the need to upskill procurement professionals, we have created a course called “Sustainable Procurement Course” that could help procurement professionals learn everything they need to know about sustainability. 

11. T-shaped Procurement Teams

Have you heard of the T-shaped procurement team or professional? The T-shaped procurement team or professional is used to describe individuals who possess a combination of deep expertise in one area (the vertical part of the “T”) and a broad set of skills or knowledge in related areas (the horizontal part of the “T”). Thus, a T-shaped procurement team is about having a strong foundation in core procurement competencies while excelling in one specific area. 

We are eyeing that this concept will be popular in 2024 as more procurement professionals need to have diverse teams. The individuals within the team should also be flexible in order to tackle all the challenges that they may face in streamlining the procurement process. The four skills that every procurement professional should possess are empathic negotiation design, analytical thinking, soft skills, and sustainable procurement. 

Impact: T-shaped procurement professionals to becoming the norm

T-shaped procurement professionals bring a lot of specialized knowledge to the table. This specialization drives innovation within the team. The procurement landscape is rapidly evolving, with technological advancements and changing market dynamics. T-shaped professionals stay at the forefront of these changes within their area of expertise, ensuring the team adopts best practices and remains competitive.

The first skill to master to become a T-shaped procurement team is empathic Negotiation design: Too many negotiators start their negotiations about what is important to them. 

A 100% clear understanding of the negotiation opponent via Empathic negotiation design is the key to any successful negotiation result. 

The second skill is analytical and strategic thinking: Procurement involves analyzing vast amounts of data related to spending, supplier performance, and market trends. The ability to extract insights from this data and use them to formulate strategic plans is a key competency for any Procurement Professional. 

The third skill to master is soft skills: Building and maintaining positive relationships with suppliers is crucial for success within procurement. Procurement professionals need to manage supplier expectations, communicate clearly, resolve conflicts, and collaborate to ensure a steady supply of quality goods and services. 

Last but not least is sustainable Sourcing: In today’s environmentally conscious landscape, procurement professionals should be aware of sustainability issues and their impact on the supply chain. This includes understanding environmentally friendly practices, ethical sourcing, and promoting sustainable initiatives within procurement processes.

Action: Upskilling procurement to become T-shaped individuals

To embrace the T-shaped model in 2024, organizations should assess the existing skills within their procurement teams. They must identify gaps and pinpoint areas where deeper specialization is needed. The courses of Procurement Tactics tackle all the necessary skills and knowledge procurement professionals need to become future-proof. 

Procurement Expert’s Advice on Procurement Trends

For this article, we asked an experienced procurement expert to share her insights to help answer common questions about procurement trends.

Faiza Iftikhar
Co-Founder, Procura

LinkedIn Profile:

1. Can you give us examples of the emerging trends that you integrated into your work?

Procura, as a pioneering third-party procurement company, has seamlessly woven its expertise into the fabric of diverse industries such as chemicals, textiles, and education. Our commitment to excellence is exemplified through our global network of suppliers, ensuring a vast marketplace at your fingertips.

In addition to our core procurement services, we offer an array of value-added services, including forecasting and procurement analysis. We don’t just source products; we forecast trends and offer in-depth insights, transforming your business operations into a well-oiled machine.

Our philosophy revolves around fostering supplier collaboration, which has become the heartbeat of modern business. We’re not just connected with our customers; we’re entwined with a global community of suppliers, bringing you the best of both worlds.

But our commitment goes beyond mere transactions. We embrace the spirit of diversity and inclusion, actively engaging with a wide array of suppliers. Our goal is to meet the unique needs of our customers by providing a marketplace that truly reflects the global tapestry of industries.

At Procura, we don’t just procure; we innovate, connect, and elevate. Join us, and let’s redefine the world of procurement together.

2. What’s the most important thing you learned about trends in procurement?

“The most crucial aspect of procurement trends is their dynamic nature. Staying adaptable and embracing sustainability, risk management, and digital transformation are key to remaining competitive and effective in the field.

When you are providing services that are very important you must have inventory to become sustainable and transparent with customers.”

3. What tips can you give procurement professionals about the emerging trends in procurement?

  1. Stay updated through industry networks and conferences.
  2. Embrace digital tools and tech for streamlined processes.
  3. Prioritize sustainability, risk management, and data-driven decisions.
  4. Foster supplier collaboration and align strategies with your organization’s goals.
  5. Invest in continuous learning to adapt to evolving trends.

Featured Download: Enjoying this article? If so, click here to accelerate your career:
Here are 75 ChatGPT prompts to 10x your productivity in procurement.


As we set our sights on 2024, it’s evident that the landscape of procurement will continue to transform, driven by AI, technological advancements, and a strong commitment to sustainability.

One big change that is coming this 2024 is a sense of collaboration between companies and their suppliers. This collaborative spirit is not just about improving relationships but also about fostering inclusivity. 

Companies are working together with suppliers to ensure fairness and diversity across their supply networks, making sure everyone gets a fair chance.

Moreover, sustainability remains at the forefront of procurement priorities. Organizations are increasingly aligning their procurement practices with environmental and ethical considerations. This means making environmentally friendly choices and supporting suppliers who share these values.

Additionally, the lessons from the past couple of years have reshaped how we work. Remote work setups are here to stay, offering flexibility and inclusivity by allowing professionals to work from anywhere. 

Procurement professionals need to adapt to these new ways of working while staying attuned to sustainability trends.

These shifts are not exclusive to procurement; they are becoming the norm across various industries and business functions. 

As a procurement professional, keeping updated on these trends, embracing inclusivity, and making sustainable choices will be essential for not just working efficiently but also contributing to a better future for our environment and society. 

Additionally, by adopting these trends in 2024, you’ll be helping your company grow even more and make a positive impact on the ever-changing business landscape. Therefore, get ready for an exciting year in the field of procurement!

Frequentlyasked questions

What is a T-shaped procurement professional and why is it important in 2024?

A T-shaped procurement professional describes individuals who possess deep expertise in one area (the vertical part of the “T”) and a broad set of skills or knowledge in related areas (the horizontal part of the “T”). In 2024, as procurement challenges diversify, having professionals who are both specialized and adaptable becomes crucial. They bring innovation, stay updated with technological advancements, and ensure the team remains competitive.

How is sustainability influencing the procurement landscape in 2024?

In 2024, sustainability is at the forefront of procurement priorities. Businesses are aligning their procurement practices with environmental and ethical considerations, making environmentally friendly choices, and supporting suppliers who share these values. There’s a surge in sustainable procurement jobs, and companies are investing in climate adaptation, promoting responsible practices, and complying with stricter environmental regulations.

How are DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) initiatives shaping the future of procurement in 2024?

DEIB initiatives are becoming increasingly prominent in the procurement landscape by 2024. Companies are extending diversity principles throughout their operations, ensuring fairness in supplier selection, nurturing growth, and making contract decisions. The aim is to foster more inclusive and equitable relationships with suppliers, reflecting a commitment to both business success and individual well-being. Additionally, training efforts are on the rise to educate procurement teams on incorporating fairness and inclusivity into their work, signifying a growing awareness of the importance of DEIB in procurement.

About the author

My name is Marijn Overvest, I’m the founder of Procurement Tactics. I have a deep passion for procurement, and I’ve upskilled over 200 procurement teams from all over the world. When I’m not working, I love running and cycling.

Marijn Overvest Procurement Tactics