How your business partners and gains buy-in from suppliers will influence not just your overheads, but your CSR policy, Procurement policy and quite possibly even extend to your HR policy too.
There’s a magnitude of variables involved in procurement that to the average business owner, without a professional procurement team (or even just a manager) in place to manage suppliers, things won’t go as smooth as they could do.
What Professional Procurement Entails
· Understanding Value
This goes beyond assigning a monetary value to lock in savings commitments through procurement. Value differs by company and it’s the business owner who ultimately determines what he or she defines as value.
Your company may value supporting SMBs for goods and services supplied, while another may place more importance on the value of green sourcing.
Whatever values your company supports and works hard at upholding as part of your CSR policy, can be supported and further championed by working with suppliers with the same core values.
Values go beyond figures.
· Professionalism throughout procurement
One of the best approaches to ensure professionalism in procurement is to ensure your buyers, whether in-house or outsourced, are invested in continual professional development.
In the UK, you can simply check with The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS).
By investing in people who invest in keeping their expertise current, you can be certain that your company will meet or even exceed compliance requirements.
In addition, further areas that will not be neglected is market research, which is essential prior to issuing RFPs (Request for Proposals) to begin the tendering process. Moreover, ethical standards will be included in the analysis of potential suppliers as well as having sound organisational knowledge.
When CPD is part of your HR policy, complimenting your procurement policies, you will find it to be beneficial for improving your entire procurement process.
· The Principles of fairness
· Transparency through competitors
By using the above fundamentals, you will achieve better operational efficiencies, reduce corruption, increase effectiveness throughout your supply chain… all of which brings us right back to the starting point of value – your business will reap the benefits of value for money, and your policy will enhance customer trust, and enable your business to gain a competitive edge.
Plus, you get the data to make further improvements to your procurement process
Data analysis is critical for business development. The longer you’re operational, the more data you will collect and store both in paper format and in digital format.
The majority of the data gathered by procurement professionals must be understood in order to enhance your business processes.
Data analysis can be done whenever you feel the need to, quarterly, bi-quarterly, annually or ad-hoc.
With the magnitude of data at your fingertips,
· Benchmarking can be done
· Supplies and suppliers monitored
· Contracts evaluated
Introducing a transformation process
Chances are, there’s something above that your business hasn’t covered already with your systems and business processes. To implement any of it would involve transforming how you currently manage your suppliers, contracts, tendering process and quite possibly, your entire procurement policy.
The good news is that it’s not too late to make changes, because frankly, to experience efficiencies through procurement, it takes an ongoing approach.
There are plays you can make for the short-term, others will be long-term.
1. Assess your current procurement situation
2. Plan changes strategically (seek advice if you lack the market research or organisational knowledge)
3. Implement the changes you deem necessary
This 3-step approach will need to be done periodically. The more your business matures, the more frequently your procurement team will need to repeat the above three steps to ensure any gaps are identified, addressed and changes implemented for faster improvements.
Image courtesy of biddingo.com.