Leading Procurement Technology Trends in Asia


Technological innovations are everywhere. They continue to reshape our reality and help us do things better. In procurement, we can say the same about technology as it continues to streamline processes, challenge boundaries, and redefine how companies and functions solve supply chain concerns. Noticeably, developments in procurement technology use have taken a quantum leap in response to the fast-changing market and the pressure from the global health crisis. 

Have you been keeping track of these? Do you want to deep dive into how they can potentially influence your function or company? Check out our roundup of noteworthy procurement technology trends here in Asia.   

More application of artificial intelligence


Artificial intelligence is widely used in procurement today. In fact, a report from HICX notes that about 45 percent of Chief Procurement Officers use AI. Notably, procurement functions in Asia utilize AI technology for various things, including guided buying, operational support, analyzing large volumes of data, and facilitating negotiations.

Some also use AI to detect procurement fraud. For example, in Singapore, a tool developed by the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR) helps officials detect suspicious deals. The tool can pick up patterns and cross-reference the gathered information to non-financial data so the government can prevent the case from escalating.  

Increased use of sensors and wearables

Manual inventory management eats up time and uses up a lot of resources. Thankfully, many procurement functions nowadays utilize smart inventory management tools and solutions such as sensors and wearables. According to Future IoT 2019 report, about 73 percent of procurement decision-makers in the Asia Pacific region plan to invest in wearables for their warehouses. 

Here are some known benefits of using smart electronic devices in procurement:

  • Streamlining supply chain processes
  • Minimizing manual labour
  • Providing comprehensive and real-time feedback
  • Gathering and showing data (such as irregular movements, safety risks in workplaces, etc.) relevant to workers and their leaders

More emphasis on digital procurement and digital transformation

The pressure to cut costs and optimise processes is still on for many organisations and procurement functions. That’s why, there is a strong emphasis on exploring digital procurement options and speeding digital transformation among companies and functions.  

Like its neighboring regions, Asia is keeping up the pace and meeting digital transformation and procurement demands. China, for example, has been aggressively promoting digital transformation and innovation through various government-led initiatives like the Internet Plus and Made in China 2025.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, the government plans to spend around S$3.8 billion on ICT procurement to support businesses and the government’s digital infrastructure.

Additional reports also show that other ASEAN countries can lead the digital transformation wave in the region thanks to the consistently high collective GDP, largely youthful population, and the growing middle-class. 

Significant popularity of mobile technologies

Mobile procurement is also making its way to the Asian procurement market. This is mainly because mobile devices such as phones and tablets have become a vital part of everyday life, especially in bridging communication gaps. The mobile-first economy, which has seen a significant rise in SE Asia, also contributes to the strong demand for mobile technologies in various functions, including supply chain and procurement. 

Experts note that mobile technology augments existing procurement solutions such as artificial intelligence and automation. Some of the typical applications of mobile procurement technologies in Asia are as follows:

  • GPS tracking system
  • Push notifications 
  • Software or digital tool access control
  • Visual documentation (QR code scanners, data management, etc.)

The Supply Advisory and Recruiting Procurement Professionals

Without a doubt, we will see more and more tech innovations in procurement. Besides the trends we shared above, we will most likely see bigger and better trends in the next couple of years as we enter the post-COVID era. Because of that, we expect to see a lot of companies expanding their workforce and finding tech-savvy people to include on their team. Are you also keen on treading the same path?  

We at The Supply Advisory can help you! Keep abreast of the latest technological advancements and work through new procurement challenges by having the right people on board. As a specialist recruiter, we can help you find talents who can assist you in modernizing your processes and staying up-to-date with the current procurement technology trends. 

Contact us today for more information about our procurement talent recruitment solutions. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly newsletter to receive expert insights in supply chain and procurement here in APAC. 



Aileen Apuntar-Laqui is the Director – Operations & Research at The Supply Advisory, a leading executive recruitment firm specialising in Procurement & Supply Chain.

You can view the The Supply Advisory website or contact them directly at info@supplyadvisory.com for a more detailed discussion.

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