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Supply Chain and Demand: IT Procurement in Boston

Date: 11 July 2018

Boston is not afraid to do things differently. An open-minded approach to innovation is a key factor behind the region’s phenomenal growth; between 2010 and 2014, the city grew at twice the national rate and added 45,000 new jobs.[1]

The willingness to break with convention is also seen in the region’s approach to procuring technology and all related sub-categories. Previously seen as a limited administrative department, Procurement is now viewed as a strategic function delivering an immense amount of value to organizations and stakeholders across all industries are taking notice. This is particularly true of Boston-based companies – one of the top cities leading the charge for ‘Procurement Transformation’.

No more hoping for the best with the lowest bidder

The traditional approach to procurement was all about negotiating the lowest possible costs, often through longer contracts or higher volumes. Suppliers were kept at arm’s length and the function was seen as tactical rather than strategic.

The most important change in recent years is the function’s recognition of how Procurement can deliver value through the management of risk, cost savings, and all analytics associated with strategic sourcing. Yes, keeping costs low is still important, but there has to be a balance in identifying the suppliers who align most closely with the long-term interests of the business.[2]

A closer relationship with suppliers helps to manage risk. According to a recent Deloitte survey, 65% of procurement leaders have limited or no visibility beyond the first tier of their supply chain. Only 6% have full visibility.[3] A business that does not understand its supply chain will fail to assess risk accurately or to satisfy regulatory requirements.

New England is the place for success

Boston and the surrounding areas are growing rapidly, with particular strengths in tech, pharma and finance (for example, biopharma manufacturing has grown 12.3% since 2007 despite the sector shrinking 6.5% in that period).[4]

Boston is at the forefront of tech innovation, ranked third (behind San Francisco and New York) for venture capital investment (over $6bn in 2016) deal share (6.71%) and capital investment per capita ($1,257 in 2016).[5] Business Insider ranks Boston seventh in the world’s most high tech cities, ahead of Singapore, Toronto and Tokyo.[6]

The city has an impressive diversity of organizations. For two years in a row, Boston has been ranked Best City for Startups by the Chamber of Commerce,[7] while mega brands also feel at home there - Amazon recently announced plans to develop its tech hub with 2,000 new roles working on machine learning, cloud computing, speech science and robotics.[8]

How do you procure the best in procurement?

Within this booming economy, procurement professionals are some of the most sought-after workers. A recent LinkedIn Workforce Report ranked Purchasing and Negotiation as the third most in-demand skill in Boston.[9]

Why is demand for qualified procurement candidates so strong? An important reason is the new skill set required by procurement shifting from a transactional function to a strategic strength. The new approach requires excellent analytical ability, negotiation skills, and category management. The most in-demand categories are, in our experience, digital, infrastructure and software. 

In conjunction with the evolution of technology, strategic sourcing is causing an increased demand for strong IT strategic sourcing professionals, which has been evident for Boston/ New England based companies.

Candidates with the right skills for these roles are a rare breed. They tend to know their value and accordingly are highly ambitious, motivated by the opportunity to rise through an organization and potentially secure an executive position. Treating employees well and giving them chances to progress are the best ways to retain as well as recruit the best talent.

A global recruitment specialist with a local focus

DSJ prides itself on building local relationships as well as maintaining national and international networks to secure top talent across the world. We have a strong presence in Boston and New England and understand the needs of this thriving and dynamic region.

To discuss IT Procurement trends, needs and opportunities in the New England region, please contact Julian Landsberg at DSJ today on Julian.Landsberg@dsjglobal.com



[1] https://imagine.boston.gov/blog/the-city-of-boston-is-experiencing-phenomenal-growth/

[2] https://medium.com/@KodiakRating/3-keys-for-enhancing-your-strategic-sourcing-9c33e7f49332

[3] https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/operations/articles/cpo-survey.html

[4]  http://files.massbio.org/file/MassBio-Industry-Snapshot-2017.pdf

[5] https://www.citylab.com/life/2017/10/venture-capital-concentration/539775/

[6] http://uk.businessinsider.com/the-most-high-tech-cities-in-the-world-2017-8?r=US&IR=T/#13-stockholm-sweden-13

[7] https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2017/10/13/boston-ranked-best-startup-city/

[9] https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/blog/linkedin-workforce-report-june-2018-boston-ma