Every company is looking for that edge that either puts it ahead of the competition or keeps it in the lead. With C-level interest turning toward the operations improvements that come from transitioning to best practices and new technologies, even an area traditionally viewed as a cost center, procurement, is being looked at as a means to advance the strategic interests of business.
Big Fat Finance Blog ran a great post a few weeks ago, detailing some of the discussion around procurement and how executives are using it to reach company goals beyond simply purchasing needed products and services. Approximately 64% of survey respondents claimed they had already automated some, if not all, of their procurement. It’s a survey that represents the growing automation trend, as companies look to find ways to minimize the amount of human interaction required to perform tasks that do not directly generate revenue. Additionally, 75% claimed they were looking at their procurement processes with a more strategic eye.
Technology is rising to the challenge by reducing costs and connecting all segments of the supply chain. Weaving a cohesive procurement strategy requires companies to streamline processes, centralize information, improve communications and visibility between the company and its suppliers, and enforce policy compliance and consistency. SaaS and on-premise procurement software is making it easier for companies to do that and more by offering e-procurement, invoice management and services that keep you directly connected to suppliers. Beyond streamlining important business processes, interlinking these solutions helps build a unified network that transcends borders, whether state, country or continent.
According to Mr. Radding’s post, “Procurement must ensure business advancement by becoming connected, informed, and collaborative with all players in the supply value chain” This is where it becomes strategic, where you look at procurement less as a necessary evil and more as an opportunity to save money and labor that can be diverted elsewhere while bringing the entire process up to a new level. Phone tag and boxes of paper invoices simply cannot compete with instant access to suppliers, shipment status, billing, catalogs and product availability that can be accessed in just a couple of mouse clicks.
Business strategy is evolving as fast as technology – the best results come from combining the two in a way that perfectly fits your own business.