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The New Age of Procurement: Evolving Relationships, Transparency, and Sustainable Partnerships

Posted on November 2023 by Matthew Monaghan

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Featuring Head of DSJ Global APAC, Matthew Monaghan

​The modern procurement landscape is undergoing a transformative shift around relationships, transparency, and sustainable partnerships. Ahead of the Procurement Leaders Asia Pacific Procurement Congress, in Singapore, I’ve compiled some of my thoughts on the future of Procurement talent. In the past 12 months, my team and I at DSJ Global have received a surge in demand from clients searching for Procurement talent who explicitly possess strong competencies in relationship management, transparency, and partnership success. Here I explore the intricacies of these competencies, understanding why they've become so pivotal in the current procurement environment.


One of the most intriguing shifts is the evolving focus of Procurement relationships. A recent LinkedIn poll highlighted a trend that's becoming impossible to ignore: 79% of respondents believe that to be truly effective in Procurement, the emphasis on internal stakeholder relationships now outweighs that of external supplier partnerships. Such data suggest that the traditional approach is undergoing a transformation, emphasising the significance of collaboration within an organisation. But what's driving this change?

As modern businesses become increasingly integrated and multifaceted, cohesive internal strategies are paramount. Gone are the days when Procurement departments could function in isolation. Today, they are intertwined with various departments, working collectively to drive broader business objectives. This shift underscores the importance of internal alignment and collaboration, essential for navigating the intricacies of today's business world.


While the focus on internal relationships is paramount, the nature of the relationship between procurement and suppliers remains equally crucial. This brings us to another pressing topic: transparency. How transparent should the relationship between procurement departments and their suppliers be? And how does this transparency impact other business initiatives, such as sustainability?

A separate LinkedIn poll provides some clarity. An overwhelming 87% of respondents feel that procurement departments should be transparent with both existing and potential suppliers about how they grade performance and rank partnerships. Such a stance on open communication fosters trust, paving the way for stronger, more collaborative relationships. However, like all good things, transparency too needs to be balanced. While it can be the foundation for trust, it can also expose vulnerabilities. Hence, while transparency is undoubtedly vital, it requires careful calibration to ensure the mutual interests of both parties remain protected.


Beyond the mechanics of relationships and transparency lies the broader vision for the future of procurement: sustainable partnerships. The transactional relationships of yesteryears are steadily giving way to deeper, more meaningful partnerships that emphasise mutual respect and collaboration. This sentiment is vividly captured by a respondent to the survey, who said:

"The partnership between procurement and suppliers should be built on mutual working relationships. It's not a one-sided initiative."

This perspective underscores the need for procurement departments to view suppliers as equal partners. Such an approach involves sharing insights into future forecasts, quality improvement initiatives, transformations, and even new product planning, all while maintaining the sanctity of confidential information.

Conversely, suppliers should reciprocate by being transparent about their capabilities and future plans. Such a symbiotic relationship promises more than just operational efficiency. It's the bedrock for sustainability in the long run. When both parties work towards shared goals, driven by mutual respect and collaboration, the results are bound to be transformative.

The world of Procurement is at an exciting juncture. With evolving internal relationships, a renewed emphasis on balanced transparency, and the dawn of sustainable partnerships, the future promises innovation and growth. Now more than ever, I believe that the right talent is indispensable in this evolving landscape. Hiring and building a team that not only understands but also practises the importance of these transformations ensures that the procurement function remains agile and efficient. An aligned team that recognises the significance of internal relationships, transparency, and sustainable partnerships can effectively drive the organisation's objectives, fostering innovation and growth.

Matthew Monaghan leads the DSJ Global Asia Pacific team from our office in Hong Kong, having recently relocated from the London branch of the business, where he had been helping exceptional Procurement talent join exciting organisations for 8 years. Matthew is passionate about the dynamic and business-critical supply chain Procurement function and is always open to advising on this space.

Start a confidential conversation with Matthew about the market, talent planning, or your specific hiring needs by requesting a call back.

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