The “Elastic Limit” of business

December 11, 2020

When you stretch a rubber band beyond its elastic limit, you never get it back to its original state.  I think we have all seen our businesses stretched to their “elastic limits” by the impact of COVID-19.  For example, we will never think about real estate occupancy or “work from home” requests in the same way ever again.

So, what does that mean for our planning?  Now that the “location nexus” for our employees is Work from Anywhere, digital transformation is accelerating.  Consider this study from Gartner:

Gartner, Survey Analysis: Board Directors Say Pandemic Drives Increased Investments in IT, September 2020

The good news? Procurement can play a pivotal role in accelerating the move to a more digital future for our organizations.

Readers of Shelby’s blogs are on different paths to digital procurement optimization.  Many are rounding the last turn to the finish line while others are just looking to get started.  And this encompasses all sizes of businesses – from those under $1B in revenue to the largest companies.

Shelby’s Procurement Optimization Framework: As you consider your digitization journey, it may be good to revisit Shelby’s procurement optimization framework.  The major functions of procurement are on the perimeter and 4 dimensions are in the core: 

There is a good chance that for many of these procurement functions, your firm still has outdated, manual processes.  From emailing RFx documents to employees calling vendors for goods and services, there are many opportunities for streamlining procurement via digital means.  And the cloud platforms such as Coupa, Ivalua and Ariba have made this reality compelling.

With the new Work from Anywhere world in which we operate, now more than ever, procurement leaders need to digitize.  And doing so will draw you closer to your company stakeholders and suppliers. 

The Bottom-Line: An additional benefit of digitization will allow your firm to gain the benefits listed in Shelby’s “business case” eBook, 5 Reasons to Make Procurement Matter Now:

  • Visibility:  Get out in front of spend to produce accurate and timely financial reporting
  • Accountability: Gain control over budgets and predictability of spend
  • Capability: Enhance sourcing and supplier management to increase competitive advantage
  • Resilience: Use P2P levers to respond to changing market and financial conditions
  • Agility: Facilitate rapid growth and scalability while maintain control over spend

Shelby lists many resources on its website for the journey to digital transformation.  And, as always, I am happy to engage in conversations as you and your firm navigate this path.  You can reach me at 312.445.8501 or

Have a great Holiday,

John Dreyer, CEO