The efficiency of your procurement processes can literally make the difference between success and failure for the entire business. If you can’t efficiently acquire the goods and services that your company needs to reach its business goals, then your business won’t be able to serve its customers in an effective and timely manner. On the other hand, ensuring efficiency in procurement will have a positive chain reaction that leads to savings in time, and better results throughout the business.
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the best ways to drive greater efficiency in your procurement planning process.
The Top Five Ways to Drive Greater Efficiency in Procurement
1. Use a contract management system and standard templates
In procurement workflows, anything you can do to cut down on rework is a great way to improve efficiency. If you find that you and your staff members spend a lot of time drawing up contracts that end up being very similar to one another, a contract management system may be just the thing you need to keep you from having to “reinvent the wheel” so often.
A contract management system can help you understand which pieces of your contracts could be reused from one supplier to the next. As a result, you’ll be able to put together standard contract templates that only require minor updates when they’re used. In addition to saving you all the time required to write a new contract from scratch, a contract management template will ensure that all important language and concepts are included in your contracts.
2. Automate the content and data gathering process
Conducting research on your suppliers can be another time-consuming process for your procurement team, but luckily, it doesn’t have to be. There is no shortage of tools available to help you automate this process, allowing you to efficiently gather all of the content and data you might need about an organization.
Consider using tools such as social media, specialized search and content aggregators to take the manual work out of keeping up with your supply chain partners. By automating this part of the procurement process, you can ensure that you’re still getting all the information you need without having to spend a lot of time and effort in order to get it.
3. Use mobile apps to accelerate procurement processes
The proliferation of mobile devices has greatly influenced a variety of business practices, and procurement is certainly no exception. Chances are high that people working in the procurement function at your organization are already knowledgeable, confident mobile users; if your organization can take advantage of this fact by providing them with procurement mobile apps to use in the course of their day-to-day work, it could speed up a many different workflows.
With mobile apps, you can be sure that all of your employees are up to date with what’s going on in your organization, as well as what’s going on with your supply chain partners and your customers. They’ll be able to use this information to make quick decisions and rapidly adapt to the changing procurement environment around them.
4. Communicate with your employees and partners
This point may be a little broad, but it can help you with pretty much every aspect of your procurement process. Make sure your employees know what is expected of them by communicating with them and publishing written best practices guides. When they find themselves in a situation that requires them to make a decision on the best course of action, already knowing what’s expected of them will help make the decision for them, leading to greater efficiency.
In addition, if your supply chain partners have access to written documents that explain exactly how things work within your procurement organization, it will remove the potential for confusion and time-consuming back and forth.
5. Make continuous improvements and look for opportunities to automate
Finally, it’s important to remember that your procurement is a leaving, breathing organization, so you should never reach a point where you assume it’s as good as it will ever be. Make continuous improvement an ingrained part of your organization, and always keep looking for new opportunities to gain greater efficiency. Over time, any ideas you come up with, even if they’re small ones, will add up to a more efficient procurement process.
Just by taking these simple steps, you can promote a more efficient procurement process and drive better results for your business. Increasing efficiency in small ways across the board can add up to significant time and resource savings.
If you would like to learn more about how other companies are streamlining their procurement processes, read this Case Study on Procurement in the Packaged Food Industry.