Lewis Young   |   10 Jul 2023   |   7 min read

Explore Five Smart Ways to Start FY24 on the Right Track

EOFY trends blog

The end of financial year can often feel a little chaotic. A surge in financial activity, time pressures, stakeholder expectations and compliance tasks can cause procurement and other teams to stumble over the finish line into the new financial year. However, this period also provides an opportunity to recalibrate and start the month of July with a solid plan for sustainable growth.

Below, we explore five practical actions that can help you excel in FY24 and beyond. Let's dive in.

#1: Pack a Punch with an ESG and Green Procurement Strategy

Integrating an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy into your operations is not only a responsible choice but also a path to long-term sustainability. ESG in procurement and general business practices is not a new concept but it is something that is at the forefront of business strategy more than ever. In a time of rising carbon emissions, unemployment rates and global pandemics we need to be much more conscious of how we operate our organisations.

Sustainability has become a top priority on the global agenda, and Australian organisations are no different. In FY24, organisations will likely place greater emphasis on green procurement practices, aiming to reduce their environmental footprint and contribute to a sustainable future.

FY24 will see organisations move away from ad-hoc ESG objectives and towards an integrated ESG strategy to generate a truly sustainable business model that not only makes a positive impact on communities, but also safeguards against operational and reputational risks. In addition, organisations will actively seek suppliers that prioritise sustainability, environmentally friendly practices and products and ethical supply chains.

The benefits of implementing a robust ESG strategy extend beyond the obvious ones. They can also help attract and maintain staff. Research has shown that 64% of millennials would not accept a job offer if the organisation didn’t have a strong corporate social responsibility policy, so celebrating innovation, sustainability goals and a shared vision should be a constant in FY24. Additionally, Gen-Z, who make up 30% of the workforce are the first generation to prioritise a company’s purpose over their own pay check.

One of the most impactful areas to develop an ESG strategy is for your supply chain. But identifying suppliers who can help you reduce environmental impact, promote social well-being and improve governance practices may not be as simple as it sounds. In a sweep of 247 businesses across Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) raised concerns with 57% over issues including vague or unclear environmental claims, a failure to provide sufficient evidence for claims, setting environmental goals without a clear plan for how these will be achieved, or using third-party certifications in a confusing way.

Clearly, businesses require a supplier intelligence tool to sort through false claims and identify suppliers that are genuinely committed to ESG. This is why VendorPanel has partnered with givvable, an award-winning platform that uses powerful AI and thousands of data sets to automate supplier sustainability diligence. Mapping credentials across six ESG themes; community, ethical, environmental, social, diversity and governance.

#2: Prioritise Mental Health and Avoid Burnout

We have seen many changes to how we work over the past three years, and the impact this has had on work life balance and the ability to switch off from work at the end of the day. Going into FY24 organisations need to foster a healthy work environment by making employee wellbeing a top priority by encouraging open conversations about mental health, promoting a positive work-life balance, and providing resources for stress management.

By cultivating a culture of support and understanding, you create a foundation for motivated and engaged teams, resulting in increased productivity and overall satisfaction while reducing the risk of employee attrition.

A major way that organisations are slashing employee stress is by leveraging technology and automation to significantly reduce the burden of repetitive and time-consuming tasks. A key way to do this is to identify areas within your procurement and contract management processes that are repeated often and could benefit from automation, such as supplier identification and performance, contract tracking, data analysis and reporting.

By streamlining operations with a source-to-contract solution, you can free up valuable time for strategic thinking, innovation, building relationships with suppliers, and focusing on wellbeing.

#3: Have a Step-by-Step Plan for Embracing AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is moving and evolving quickly, which means any businesses that continue to ignore or delay engagement with this technology risk falling behind their competitors or not maximising on its benefits. According to a 2023 article by LinkedIn, the impact of AI is being felt across nearly every industry. From healthcare and finance to transportation and manufacturing, AI is enabling businesses to automate processes, increase efficiency, and unlock new insights from vast amounts of data.

In FY24 you may want to create a step-by-step plan to engage with AI in FY24 in a way that helps meet business objectives and includes clear targets and expectations:

  1. Identify key areas for AI integration such as customer service, data analysis, or process automation.
  2. Get your house in order by conducting a thorough assessment of your data quality, accessibility, and security.
  3. Set clear goals and expectations for AI implementation, considering scalability and ROI.
  4. Invest in AI talent or collaborate with external experts.
  5. Begin with pilot projects to test feasibility and gather feedback.
  6. Implement AI solutions gradually, ensuring proper integration with existing systems.
  7. Monitor performance, gather insights, and continuously optimise AI models.
  8. Train employees to work alongside AI systems and leverage their capabilities.
  9. Stay updated on emerging AI technologies and industry trends.
  10. Foster a culture of innovation and experimentation to drive AI adoption and transformation.

Mindset is important. Every time a technological leap occurs, old fears tend to resurface around job loss and disruption. Make sure that any investment in AI is partnered with a reassurance that automation is not about replacing people; it's about enhancing day-to-day capabilities to avoid undue stress or unnecessary workloads. Similarly, position AI as an opportunity for the team to get excited about, rather than a disruption to be feared or ignored.

#4: Focus on Supply Chain Resilience

Disruptions caused by global pandemics, natural disasters and geopolitical tensions have highlighted some inherent vulnerabilities in supply chains across Australia, and the rest of the globe over recent years. Interestingly, Deloitte’s 2019 Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey showed that 55% of executive-level participants were focused on reducing foreseeable supply chain risks, and the percentage is likely much higher now, given the impact of the pandemic in 2020 and beyond.

Australian organisations should continue to prioritise the creation of a robust and resilient supply chain to help mitigate potential and real risks. This will involve conducting comprehensive risk assessments, developing solid contingency plans and diversifying and localising supplier base to minimise exposure to disruptions.

According to a study by RMIT, some of the factors contributing to the rising cost of living in Australia is global supply chain disruptions where reduced sailings, shortage of empty containers and transport congestions have significantly added costs to the supply chain, indirectly increasing costs of commodities.

This is why, in FY24, many organisations will look to engage with local suppliers to minimise the risk associated with overseas procurement partners and suppliers. Building a panel of preferred local suppliers is a great place to start for safeguarding your supply chain strategy and reducing risk.

Using technology to source validated, local suppliers can make the process a more efficient and easier one. With VendorPanel’s local supplier Marketplace users have access to over 60,000 ABN registered suppliers across ANZ, with Buyers being able to locate suppliers within specific postcodes when required.

#5: Improve Supplier Relationships

Effective supplier relationship management is critical for sustainable and successful procurement. In FY24, organisations in Australia will focus on supporting local businesses, Indigenous suppliers and more diverse supplier groups and communities.

Communication is key when it comes to creating successful relationships and will create transparency on both sides of the channel and prevent hiccups or missteps, like incorrect inventory count or missing purchase orders. To develop communication, there needs to be established channels and a structure that facilitates effective communication.

The stronger your business relationships are, the easier your communications get. As your organisation and your vendors develop a better understanding of each other’s needs, strategies, processes, and goods and services will move more efficiently between the two.

You may already be using technology to improve your own internal efficiencies and potentially improve your customers’ experience. But utilising tech solutions to better your supplier relationships is becoming increasingly important.

By investing in tools and improving processes your organisation can enable efficient supplier relationship management, drive innovation, negotiate better terms and align suppliers’ capabilities with their own business objectives. Strong supplier relationships will not only result in enhanced operational performance but also foster long-term partnerships that can help deliver mutual growth and success.

At VendorPanel we understand that for the successful procurement of goods and services, both buying organisation and suppliers need access to efficient and compliant processes and platforms. Our Go to Market and Contract Management solutions both enable significant supplier efficiency and opportunity throughout sourcing and contract related projects, helping increase engagement and build meaningful and valuable relationships.

As we look ahead to FY24, it becomes clear that organisations can no longer treat ESG as a buzzword or a box to tick. It must be seamlessly integrated into every aspect of a business’s strategy and objectives, especially across procurement, where organisations have the power to create genuine and lasting positive impact. Additionally, embracing technology and AI, can provide invaluable support in achieving both business goals and personal wellbeing.

Now is the time to embrace these principles and key industry changes and forge a path towards a brighter and more responsible future.

To learn more about any of our solutions, you can get in touch here.

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