Global trade trends and their impact on procurement

As businesses settle into their “new normal” we commissioned a report with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to dive into the latest global trade trends and topics that executives are most concerned about. Together with Pete Swabey, Editorial Director of EMEA Thought Leadership, we looked at what these trends mean for procurement and finance professionals and identified three themes procurement should prioritise to minimise disruptions to their supply chain and day-to-day business.

The Changing Dynamics of Global Trade

After decades of relative stability, the dynamics of global trade have been thrown into disarray by the current pandemic. Our recent webinar unveiled 5 key trends that are shaping global trade now and into 2021.

  1. COVID-19

  2. US-China trade accords

  3. Europe trade relations

  4. Rising non-tariff protectionism

  5. Taxing digital trade

In any challenging times, a reliance on physical paper and manual processes significantly slows down an organisations ability to keep up with normal business processes and current performance. The following three procurement themes identify areas of focus to ensure business continuity and resilience going forward.

Three Emerging Procurement Themes

Business Agility – In a recent PwC CFO Pulse Survey, finance leaders say their companies are drawing strength from the forced adaptations and workarounds during lockdowns, stating that 72% believe their companies will be more agile going forward.

With most procurement and finance staff working remotely, how can you find ways to keep the organisation’s processes moving? How can your workforce continue their business operations, if they don’t have access to the tools they need? With easy, scalable digital (cloud) access, employees can continue with business as usual right from their home. Alleviating the pain associated with reliance on manual, paper-based processes, particularly when it comes to understanding business cashflow and capital status.

To bounce back from today’s challenges without major economic fallout, businesses need data to not only make the right decisions, but to also make them quickly. Access to timely and accurate data gives your staff the agility to make quick and informed decisions, based on data-driven insights. To gain complete visibility of your spend, both upstream and downstream in one place. 100% spend visibility ensures the right focus and investments are made for the short-term benefit and overall future-proofing of the company. This level of accuracy can only be achieved with digitisation.

Supplier Management / Relationships – In procurement, we consider supplier relationships one of the most critical elements to ensure company success. Strengthening your communication with key suppliers and partners is increasingly important right now. Understanding their challenges and current status, paired with accurate spend data, fosters pricing discussions and contract negotiations that may not happen if data gathering was complicated or fragmented. Through transparent relationships, you can optimise spend with your strategic suppliers and identify “go to” suppliers you can trust in challenging times.

With automated solutions you can reduce late payments to suppliers, set up recurring spend payment plans, calculate accurate purchasing volumes to obtain discounts, and easily exchange financial information and documents like POs, invoices, and contracts. The Basware Network facilitates transactions to over two million businesses, connected in more than 100 countries. By onboarding all suppliers, you gain visibility within the entire organisation and across your entire supply chain (not just tier 1 suppliers), enabling you to keep the flow of goods, services, and money moving.

At Basware, we call this “Visible Commerce.” We see Visible Commerce as the future. A world where there is complete visibility across all flows of money, goods, and services globally, leading to more effective and ethical decision-making – creating a better global economy for all. Basware delivers 100% spend visibility of suppliers via its eProcurement platform and is recognised as a Leader in “The Forrester Wave™️: eProcurement, Q4 2019” report, with top scores in product strategy, globalisation, and invoice processing criteria.

Risk Mitigation – Connecting with suppliers across the globe opens the door to finding the perfect supplier for your needs. But it also opens the door to something not quite as pleasant — supply chain risk. Failing to get a handle on managing risk could lead to:

• Over-reliance on certain suppliers

• Supply interruptions or discontinuities

• Critical technology failures

• Cyber-attacks and vendor fraud

• Environmental incidents

100% data capture means your data is always available, ensuring there are no ‘loose ends’ or ‘data gaps’, that manual, paper-based processes often leave behind. Automating risk management frees up time for strategic initiatives, rather than spending hours gathering supplier information and obsessively checking regulatory compliance mandates, so your teams can focus on evaluating potential risk and taking preventative actions if needed.

What does this mean for you?

Companies that invest in improving visibility across finance and procurement benefit from greater employee engagement, improved reputation, and revenue growth. In the short-term, the more visibility over your supply chain, the better you can make decisions that support both spend control and supplier relations.

Read more in the EIU report

“A New Era: Global Trade in 2020 and Beyond”, written by The Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Basware, focuses on the key factors driving global trade and business transactions in the coming year. It draws on in-depth interviews with finance and procurement experts and executives exploring how companies in a post-COVID-19 world will need to identify and adapt to these factors to thrive in the “new normal.”

Want the full details and key statistics from the report? Download it here.

Blair Tolbard, General Manager, North America, Basware Highly accomplished senior executive with more than 35 years of success within the enterprise software space, including on premise, cloud and SaaS-based technologies.  Blair’s industry experience spans the technology, higher education, public sector, manufacturing, life sciences, healthcare, and distribution industries.  He has sales and sales leadership experience with hardware technology solutions; ERP, procurement, and analytics software.  Extensive sales and operational background provide him with the skills to restructure and rebuild stagnant divisions/companies in order to revive business growth, increase revenues and achieve organisational excellence. Areas of expertise include: strategic planning, growth initiatives, M&A due diligence and negotiations, post-acquisition integration, sales force development and transformation, go-to-market strategy, customer success, revenue optimisation and board-level advisory. Prior to joining Basware, Blair served as the Group Vice President of Sales for JAGGAER, a SaaS-based eProcurement software company.  Previously, he was a co-founder and President of MiCore Solutions - a technology consulting and remote application management company based in Reston, VA.  Prior to that he held senior positions at Oracle Corporation and IBM where his experience included Sales, Sales Management, Executive Management and General Management. Over the course of three decades, business became a results-driven passion for Blair through successfully building and nurturing countless teams of highly effective difference makers.  He prides himself on fostering relationships that enable him to deliver consistent results.