Five post-pandemic procurement trends you need to be aware of

Covid has been the architect of much change, and it has most definitely altered the face of procurement forever. The past year has been the toughest in living memory for the sector, but as the UK Government’s roadmap to recovery continues to roll out, we can now look to the future with optimism.

At Office Depot, we’re always keeping our finger on the pulse of the industry — working with procurement managers day in and day out — so we can quickly spot new trends emerging.

These five key things are increasingly becoming front-and-centre as we move out of the pandemic:

1. Risk mitigation

A lot of businesses suffered when their vast and complex global supply chains fell apart during the coronavirus crisis. Although they are now growing again, firms will be looking to consolidate suppliers and build relationships on trust going forward. They’ll be relying on organisations that can meet changing demands quickly, without compromising on quality products and services.

2. Focus on sustainability

With over a third of the UK’s largest companies now committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 — among other agreements and initiatives currently taking place — sustainability will be back firmly on the agenda in 2021, and that means businesses will be looking to their supply chain to help them deliver their sustainability goals. Procurement managers are already tasked with finding eco-friendly partners, but this will be taken to the next level as the pandemic eases.

3. Further reliance on digital

Spending was out of control in 2020 as organisations quickly had to pivot to set employees up to work from home, including providing furniture, office supplies, technology, training, and other initiatives – and this got quickly got out hand. As the return to work progresses, and a hybrid working model is embraced, savvy organisations will turn to technology for business intelligence to enable them to get tighter control on supply chain and purchasing spend. Platforms like Office Depot’s industry leading SmartPad tool have already helped thousands of customers make cost savings.

4. Innovation in supply chain

Suppliers themselves have adapted to the pandemic very quickly, and extended their propositions to include full wraparound services, including consultancy and professional services.

5. Procurement is now front-and-centre

A silver lining of the headache of the last year is that the C-suite has finally recognised the integral role that procurement plays in smooth business operations, after massive supply chain disruption during 2020. Chief procurement officers now have a bigger seat at the boardroom table, and a much larger share of voice in critical decision-making.


As businesses continue to strategically trade out of the pandemic, it is important that new trends are embraced – so that you don’t get left behind.

Book a free audit today to find out where you can make savings.

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