How to Future-Proof Supply Chains

Innovations and R&D | Co-creation | Published 07. Feb. 17

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With today's technology, there's no excuse for not innovating and thinking of how to make things better.

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“Innovation knows many different drivers. Where technology meets innovation is the birthplace of new ideas,” shares SAP Ariba’s Chief Digital Officer Marcell Vollmer. “At SAP Ariba, we’ve put innovation at the heart of our company. And we’re leveraging things like networks, artificial intelligence, blockchain and the Internet of Things to transform the way that business gets done.”

Eyes on Innovation

The company’s journey started 20 years ago guided by the idea that buying and selling among businesses need not be complicated. That with the right technology, companies could automate the process and interact in totally new ways that enhanced their top and bottom lines.

To make this vision a reality, the company launched the Ariba® Network, the first business network that today is the largest, most global on the planet, with more than 2 million companies transacting nearly $1 trillion in commerce on an annual basis.

“What Ariba was talking about in 1996 was a revolutionary concept,” said Shelley Stewart, Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer at DuPont Company. “We took a big chance in embracing it at the time, but it has clearly paid off. Technology and networks have completely changed the way business is done and helped to move procurement from a tactical function to a strategic driver of business value.”

SAPAriba continues to push the limits of what is possible and deliver innovations that are fueling business transformation around the globe. And Vollmer says procurement and supply chain professionals are within many organizations leading the charge.

The key to executing meaningful change? In Vollmer’s mind, it all starts with vision, “For the sake of change doesn’t make sense,” he says, “You need a roadmap that leads to a defined destination.”

Then you need to collaborate. “Customers and partners can play a key role in developing joint innovations that create broad business value,” Vollmer adds.

Though it’s essential for the leadership to always communicate the bigger picture, listening to customers and partners may prove to be even more important.

Be Nimble, Be Quick

The innovation train has left the station and is going fast. Procurement organizations that want to move beyond simply lowering costs and driving process efficiencies to add broad value to their organizations need to get on board and hit the accelerator. In doing so, they will reap the benefits of true, networked collaboration between employees, customers, and suppliers that today’s technologies can provide — and they deliver innovations that drive real business advantage.


SAP Ariba will be attending the Nordic StrategyForum Supply Chain and Procurement in Latvia on the 16th – 17th of March 2017 as a solution provider. Themes in discussion include:

  • Aligning Procurement and Supply Chain Strategy to the Business
  • Risk Management and Accountability in Managing Local and Global Supplier Relations
  • How Disruptive Technologies will Affect Tomorrow’s Value Chains
  • Strategies to Build a Competitive Procurement and Supply Chain Talent Pool
  • Optimal Supply Chain Management – Centralized vs. Decentralized

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