Procurement Professional, 5 Quick Ways to Streamline 2021
However, procurement professionals face many common challenges in this high-pressure role. A survey taken at the 97th Annual Institute for Supply Chain Management Conference revealed that supply chain and procurement professionals struggle with the following difficulties:
- Managing time and resources to ensure that procurement can handle increasing demands
- Lengthy approval workflows with drawn out back-and-forth exchanges before contracts are negotiated, approved, and signed
- Lack of transparency with supplier communication
- Lack of automation to help streamline repetitive admin and time-consuming tasks
- Continuous spend analysis to help decrease costs while improving both the efficiency and supplier relations.
Thankfully, these can be overcome by implementing a handful of best practices within your procurement department.
1. Invest in a contract management system
Technology helps you save lots of time and be more efficient, and for procurement professionals this comes by way of incorporating a contract management system. Creating supplier contracts can be time-consuming as businesses often work with hundreds of vendors each year. Investing in a contract management system streamlines the whole task of creating new contracts every time you onboard a new supplier.
It helps you create standard contract templates which need only minor updates when they are used.
2. Increase employee capabilities
Equipping yourself and your team to do their jobs well is increasingly becoming a key advantage in a competitive market. Aside from improving efficiencies and productivity, it also serves to improve employee engagement and lower staff turnover.
Research by Middlesex University’s institute for work based learning found that from a 4300 workers sample, 74% felt that they were not achieving their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities. Not only does training bring out the best in employees, it leads to higher customer satisfaction, lowers operational costs and supports faster growth.
3. Maintain good supplier relationships
Successful procurement professionals have access to a group of reliable, qualified suppliers. Maintaining a good relationship with suppliers you can trust, and who have decades of experience, removes the need for you to start all over again every time you need to issue a quote request. It also removes unnecessary stress and smooths the procurement process.
Be fair with the suppliers in your business dealings, ensure that they are paid on time, send out detailed and straightforward RFQs and appreciate their expertise, professionalism and skills.
4. Reduce unexpected expenses
A key quality of an admired procurement professional is their ability to lower costs while procuring the desired items or services. They think carefully before making a purchase and avoid being tempted to create purchase orders for every request that lands on their desk.
One smart way successful procurement professional cut down on unexpected expenditure is to schedule downtime for much-needed equipment repairs and maintenance. Planning this ahead of time effectively reduces unplanned overtime and downtime. This can be done manually, or through the use of AI-empowered technology through what is known as predictive maintenance.
Cape Armature Winders (CAW) – a trusted provider of electro-mechanical services to Southern Africa for 50 years – are leading the way in providing this innovative service to industries in Southern Africa.
This helps procurement professionals stay one step ahead of maintenance and repairs to their vital pumps and motors, while keeping costs down.
5. Strengthen analytical and negotiation skills
As a procurement professional you are already adept at juggling multiple projects, dealing with various vendors and negotiating the best deals, while still analysing data and financial reports. Procurement professionals maintain a cliff-hanger balance between negotiating great rates while still maintaining high levels of excellence and quality.
Price should never be at the expense of quality. Ensure your supplier communicates clearly, is honest and transparent, and is invested in the success of your business. If you’re not sure who you can trust, insist on case studies, references and testimonials from your suppliers. This will ensure your ‘best price’ is always what’s best for the business.
A successful 2021 rides on the back of an effective procurement process. This will help improve an organisation’s bottom line and increase efficiency and profitability. Ensure you are surrounded by the best vendors for your business, as this will definitely add significant value to your organization as a whole. Invest in technology and processes that will help your business be future-fit and ready to face the year ahead.