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Procurement in the UK: What to Expect in 2023 and How to Stay Ahead of the Curve

PJ Sherman | Procurement
Procurement challenges in 2023...

2023 and How to Stay Ahead of the Curve

As a procurement professional, it's important to stay ahead of the curve and anticipate changes in the industry. In this article, we will explore what to expect in procurement in the UK in 2023 and provide tips on how to prepare for these changes.

What is procurement and why is it important?

Procurement is the process of acquiring goods and services from external sources. It's an essential function for any organisation, as it ensures that the organisation has the resources it needs to operate effectively. Procurement professionals are responsible for managing the entire procurement process, from identifying suppliers to negotiating contracts and managing relationships with suppliers.

Procurement is important because it can have a significant impact on an organisation's bottom line. Effective procurement can help organisations reduce costs, improve quality, and increase efficiency. Procurement can also help organisations manage risk and ensure that they are compliant with regulations.

The current state of procurement in the UK

The UK procurement industry is currently undergoing significant changes. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of procurement, as organisations have had to quickly adapt to new supply chain challenges. The pandemic has also accelerated the adoption of technology and digitalisation in procurement.

Brexit has also had an impact on procurement in the UK. The UK's departure from the European Union has created uncertainty around regulations and supply chain logistics. Procurement professionals will need to navigate these changes and ensure that their organisations are prepared for any potential disruptions.

Trends and predictions for procurement in 2023

In 2023, we can expect to see several trends and predictions in the UK procurement industry. One trend is the continued adoption of technology and digitalisation. Procurement professionals will need to be adept at using technology to streamline processes and improve efficiency.

Another trend is the increased focus on sustainability. Procurement professionals will need to ensure that their organisations are sourcing goods and services from sustainable suppliers and that they are implementing sustainable procurement practices.

We can also expect to see more collaboration between procurement professionals and other functions within organisations. Procurement will become more integrated with other functions such as finance and operations, as organisations seek to improve their overall performance.

How to prepare for changes in procurement

To prepare for changes in procurement, professionals need to stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices. They can attend industry events, read trade publications, and participate in professional development opportunities.

It's also important to build strong relationships with suppliers and other stakeholders. Procurement professionals should communicate regularly with their suppliers and work collaboratively to identify opportunities for improvement.

Finally, professionals should be adaptable and flexible. The procurement industry is constantly evolving, and professionals need to be able to adapt to changes and pivot quickly.

Key skills and qualifications for procurement professionals

To be successful in procurement, professionals need a combination of technical and soft skills. Technical skills include knowledge of procurement processes, contract negotiation, and supplier management. Soft skills include communication, collaboration, and problem-solving.

Qualifications for procurement professionals can vary depending on the sector and level of responsibility. Some common qualifications include a degree in business, supply chain management, or a related field. Professional certifications such as the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) can also be beneficial.

Technology and innovation in procurement

Technology and innovation are transforming the procurement industry. Procurement professionals can use technology to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. Some examples of technology used in procurement include e-procurement systems, artificial intelligence, and blockchain.

Innovation in procurement can also come from suppliers. Procurement professionals should be open to new ideas and innovations from their suppliers and be willing to work collaboratively to implement them.

Sustainable procurement practices

Sustainable procurement is becoming increasingly important for organisations. Procurement professionals can ensure that their organisations are sourcing goods and services from sustainable suppliers by conducting due diligence on suppliers' sustainability practices, implementing sustainability criteria in procurement decisions, and measuring and reporting on sustainability performance.

Sustainable procurement can also have a positive impact on an organisation's reputation and brand image, as consumers and stakeholders become more environmentally conscious.

Challenges and opportunities in procurement

The procurement industry faces several challenges, including supply chain disruptions, changing regulations, and increasing competition. However, these challenges also present opportunities for procurement professionals to demonstrate their value to their organisations.

Procurement professionals can add value by identifying and mitigating supply chain risks, reducing costs, and improving efficiency. They can also contribute to their organisations' sustainability goals by implementing sustainable procurement practices.

Procurement success stories

There are many examples of successful procurement initiatives. For example, Tesco, a UK-based supermarket chain, implemented a sustainable seafood sourcing policy that has helped to protect marine life and promote responsible fishing practices.

Another example is Unilever, which has implemented a sustainable sourcing program that has helped to reduce costs, improve supply chain transparency, and promote sustainability.


In conclusion, the UK procurement industry is undergoing significant changes, and professionals need to stay ahead of the curve to be successful. By staying up-to-date with industry trends, building strong relationships with suppliers, and being adaptable and flexible, procurement professionals can prepare for changes in the industry.

Key skills and qualifications for procurement professionals include technical skills such as knowledge of procurement processes and soft skills such as communication and collaboration. Technology and innovation are transforming the procurement industry, and sustainable procurement practices are becoming increasingly important.

Despite the challenges that the procurement industry faces, there are also many opportunities for procurement professionals to demonstrate their value to their organisations. By implementing successful procurement initiatives, professionals can help to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and promote sustainability.

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