Jump Start Your Year with Our Quick Procurement Process Checkup
January is a month we associate with many things: resolutions, fresh starts, winter weather – and for those of us in corporate America, detailing for the C-Suite how we’ll do even more with even less in the coming year. If you’re a procurement pro, the challenge to do more with less presents a golden opportunity to shine. In that spirit, we have a three-part checkup to help you identify opportunities to up your game this year.
1. Have you Identified Every Opportunity to Gain Procurement Value?
We tend to divide procurement value into two streams: Upstream (value creation) and Downstream (value capture). Very often, these two streams are managed by different departments or teams. Are you missing opportunities to gain value in either your Upstream or Downstream processes?
Take the Upstream side of the equation. In addition to examining the broad categories of spend visibility, supplier management, strategic sourcing and contracting, could you boost the bottom line by leveraging the interactions between these procurement processes? For example, do your sourcing efforts take into consideration all the information you gather through your supplier management process? Are you using spend analytics to prune your supplier pool and ensure you always work with the best of the best?
When you look beyond the numbers, it’s easier to get a broad view of what’s going on in your procurement process and where there might be opportunities to do better.
2. Are You Using the Right Tools for the Job?
This is particularly important when the Upstream and Downstream portions of your procurement process are managed by different teams. If you’re using one set of tools to manage value creation and a different toolbox for value capture, how well do those tools communicate and share information? Can your eProcurement solution incorporate data from your contracting tool to ensure you’re always getting the best deal and working with suppliers who meet your compliance requirements? If not, look for ways to improve that integration or consider a tool that integrates it automatically.
Similarly, how many different systems are feeding information into your procurement process? Many organizations rely on a variety of vendors to manage individual pieces. This often appears to work just fine on the surface, but when you examine the process as a whole, you’ll find that key data points are lost or corrupted when being transferred between systems. Additionally, your organization may be spending extra time troubleshooting issues between vendors. You know what they say: time is money.
3. Are You Making the Most of Procurement Automation?
Identifying opportunities to make your procurement processes more efficient and effective is a great place to start. It can be effective as long as everyone who touches your process sticks to best practices. You can take “maybes” off the table by automating many of the best practices so they become the default.
When your eProcurement environment automatically defaults to the preferred suppliers you’ve selected through your sourcing process, you never miss an opportunity to save. Ditto when your contracts automatically include the clauses necessary to protect your organization from compliance failures or when your Accounts Payable solution receives, matches and pays invoices 100% electronically. The value gained when these procurement processes work seamlessly together is what we mean by “value beyond savings.”
What do you find when you give your systems and processes a checkup? Could you be delivering more value to your organization? Keep us in the loop on Twitter. Here’s to your procurement success in 2016!