Technology In Procurement

Willem Mutsaerts, CPO and Global Head of Procurement and Sustainability, Givaudan

Willem Mutsaerts, CPO and Global Head of Procurement and Sustainability, Givaudan

The journey of Willem Mutsaerts at Givaudan began with dealing sales in Benelux in 1989. This was followed by taking up the responsibility as Regional Account Manager for the APAC region in Singapore before being appointed Head of Global Purchasing for Fragrances. In 2001, he took commercial responsibility for Fragrance consumer products in the EAME region, and in 2007 was appointed Head of Global Operations Fragrances. Mutsaerts was appointed Head of Global Procurement and a member of the Executive Committee in October 2015. He took on additional responsibility as Head of Global Sustainability as of March 2017.

1. In your opinion, how has the Procurement landscape evolved over the years? What are some of the advantages of the current technological evolution?

Over the years as the world is changing, Procurement had to evolve and adopted innovative and smarter ways to digitalise the supply chains and unlock new growth opportunities. From Procurement 1.0 (focus on price and seen as mainly Negotiator), then to Procurement 2.0 (focus on Total Cost of Ownership and acting as Strategic Collaborator), before moving to Procurement 3.0 (focus on Value and acting as Trusted advisor) and lately to Procurement 4.0 in line with Industry 4.0 with a focus on digital where Procurement is seen as some sort of Innovation catalyst.

The current technological evolution is helping data-based decision making, lower costs, enhanced faster delivery, improved level of service and increased automated processes

The current technological evolution is helping data-based decision making, lower costs, enhanced faster delivery, improved level of service and increased automated processes (ie invoicing). This is a journey, we still have quite some complexity in managing due to the challenges of the industry we are in and the complexity of the raw materials and services we buy, but we are confident that in the long run technology can help organisations like ours be more efficient. It is key for our decision-making process to rely on data.

2. What according to you are some of the challenges plaguing the Procurement landscape and how can they be effectively mitigated?

Traceability of the raw material we responsibly source, crisis management, supplier risk mitigation (early detection), strategic category management, and this is not an exhaustive list, are challenges that can be mitigated with the support of better systems, user-friendly digital tools, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics allowing proper decision making and meaningful information sharing with stakeholders. It is crucial to equip our teams with reliable and real-time data to enable them to play a role at the table early enough in the supply chain.

Data and systems are instrumental in our end to end supply chain, so is people development in this area. People need to have adequate skills and proper training to know how to efficiently use the new tools and effectively understand the data, market analytics, etc to draw the proper decision and help the business grow. All these points are integrated into our 2025 procurement strategy as standing very high on our radar screen.

Connecting Strategic Sourcing results and transactional activities to ensure that category strategy and negotiated terms and conditions dully apply down the chain is also an area where current STP suites are lagging.

3. Which are a few technological trends influencing Procurement today? What are some of the best practices businesses should adopt today to steer ahead of competitors?

Whilst in the past, procurement professionals struggling to get information, they are now confronted with an overflow of information. Technologies allowing them to access the correct, relevant information at the right time can play a decisive role in making the right decisions. This is relevant for sourcing decisions but also in the area of risk management or innovation. We have to adapt our interfaces and simplify our processes internally to drive the adoption of new ways of working. Only good adoption will allow us to grasp fully the opportunities that can come with the technological advancements we continuously integrate into our organisations.

4. Do you have any advice for industry veterans or budding entrepreneurs from the Procurement space?

We are going through exciting times. Challenges bring opportunities for us to innovate and for us we want to capitalise on our innovation program (connect to win) to work together with a selection of our suppliers to find innovative solutions for our unmet business needs. Reach out, stay globally connected with the supplier base, and collaborate wherever possible.

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