Time of crisis: Getting used to it isn't enough; you must adapt

Picture of Fluenta

As if the frantic pace of technological development, which is putting significant pressure on almost every industry, was not enough, there are the global crises that have been occurring for years. It is undeniable that over the past 5-10 years, both the narrow professional environment of each industry and the events in the outside world have been characterized by considerable – sometimes even frightening – turbulence.

How does this affect procurement? Can procurement be separated from the wider infrastructure of the company? How to adapt to the dizzying pace of change? We talked to Henrietta Nemes, category buyer at Audax Renewables.

Automation and robotization have set the ball rolling in many companies. The process of weighing up the options and making the transition is well underway in many places, because it is no longer a matter of choice – if you don't act, you are left behind. What impact is this having on your procurement processes?

H.N.: We have already seen the emergence of automation and the efficiency gains it can bring, and we are trying to harness the power of AI. For the time being, this has less impact on procurement, but I would like to see this change over time.

Opportunities often come with risks. How do you see the rise of AI more risk or more opportunity?

H.N.: Without disputing the advantages of IT innovations, the use of artificial intelligence raises many questions. I sometimes warn colleagues that, for example, when using ChatGPT, it may not be the best idea to provide any company data.

I always try to be cautious when it comes to data protection, but I also recognize that we cannot – and should not – close the door completely to new technologies. But it matters a lot what systems we use and how well we understand how they work.

In the last 5-6 years, we have gone from one crisis to another, with ongoing crises epidemics, wars, economic crises, damage to global supply chains affecting the market. How do you see procurement now, in the spring of 2024?

H.N.: Of course, these crises – and, closely linked to them, inflation, the euro and the dollar exchange rates – remain a challenge.
As far as procurement is concerned: costs have gone up a lot, and, unfortunately, the experience with most products is that once the price goes up, it is very rare to go back down. We do not expect any significant easing.

Apart from the impact of crises on prices, what are the areas where you think the biggest focus of procurement professionals should be this year?

H.N.: Sustainability and the NIS2 Directive, a cybersecurity certification. These are areas that are becoming increasingly urgent to address in a serious and focused way – these are also proving to be challenging.

There is also a shift in emphasis in the workflow, which is also worth considering as soon as possible. There will be some tasks that will no longer be needed, and others that will need much more emphasis – for example, pre- and post-qualification.

Fortunately, Fluenta can provide a great solution for these, which supports us greatly.

Do you think we are seeing the end of this crisis-heavy era? Or is it rather a state of affairs that we must now get used to?

H.N.: Unfortunately, I foresee the latter for the time being. I think we will certainly be kept busy with these challenges for the next few years. We will not only have to get used to how things are, but also adapt to these more difficult circumstances.

How do you think we can adapt to a world of constant change?

H.N.: I see the key to "crisis resilience" in increasing agility and flexibility and preserving stable partnerships that are already well established. Reliability, flexibility and customer focus will, if possible, become an even more important consideration and competitive advantage. Our cooperation with Fluenta is a very good example of this.


Audax Renewables, a Hungarian member of the Audax Group, is one of the country's leading electricity suppliers, providing energy to 17,000 small and medium-sized enterprises, 3,000 large companies and 2,000 public institutions with nationwide coverage. In 2022, the enterprise also started supplying gas to companies and municipalities.

Don't miss the first part of our interview with Henrietta Nemes!


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