In such a period of uncertainty, how does the housing sector keep their supply chain flourishing?

Forging resilient supply chains is an integral part of any procurement procedure, however over recent years we have experienced the broadening of supply chains and the potential risk that can bring due to a sudden situational change. In order to deliver a diverse range of services focussing on quality and price, procurement teams are dealing with an increased range of contractors which ultimately raises the exposure of risk and complexity of the management process. The key to minimising risk here is engagement. 

The ultimate aim is to minimise, or in fact, completely eliminate any negative impact/experience for the tenant. No matter how far down the supply chain the issue may sit, in the public mind it’s the housing association that is ultimately responsible for any issues or inconvenience caused. That’s why it is so important to have in-depth conversations with all suppliers and create strong partnerships, regardless of how big or small they might be.

Technology plays an increasingly important part in the supply chain management process and is an added security measure when it comes to minimising risk. The sector as a whole is becoming more receptive and proactive in their approach to cyber security and digital strategies to ensure and reinforce control and compliance. Emerging companies and products are entering the market with ‘off the shelf’ and bespoke solutions to ease and refine the supply chain management and procurement process which are light on time and resource to help future proof organisations. In such a period of unknown, these innovative approaches to procurement are enabling us to prepare for when Brexit happens, and the possibility of implementation of more complicated agreements.

This, combined with a high demand for procurement professionals and a limited pool of talent reinforces the importance of clear staff development. Staff retention is more important now than ever before as we shift into an even higher regulated environment alongside the constant challenges that the sector brings. Systems, processes and relationships can keep your supply chain flourishing, but without well trained, briefed and valued staff, these implementations will fall at the first hurdle.