When attempting to predict future procurement trends, too many question marks remain. Our budget forecasting can't go as far out as it used to. Discretionary items are still being cut. And there's increased opportunity for more digital disruption in industries such as insurance.
Over the next 6–12 months, I expect challenges with lead times for materials, inflation, labor shortages, and capacity issues. Vaccine mandates have brought a level of politicization into the workplace and complicated client visits. Though some companies allow or even encourage travel, it's generally very limited and requires additional approval. Business travel probably won't go back to what it was but could find a middle ground.
The same may hold true for virtual versus in-person workplaces. As companies try to make sure they have all the right people in all the right places while maintaining a dynamic corporate culture, many may land on a hybrid model.
As new risks arise and keep everyone on their toes, consistent communication and a flexible strategy is your best solution for using procurement to gain a competitive advantage.