For procurement professionals, efficiency is key. Below are 7 traits that will improve your procurement efficiency and ensure faster, smarter, and more productive work.
Why do Procurement Professionals Need to be Efficient?
Procurement professionals are busy. Between juggling multiple projects and communicating across departments, there are many factors that make it necessary to streamline processes to maximize efficiency. Here are seven ways procurement professionals can drive more efficiency among their teams and in their own work.
1. Think Carefully Before Making a Purchase
Procurement reduces costs while obtaining the items a company needs. Yet simply creating a purchase order for every request that comes in doesn’t mean costs are actually being reduced, in fact, often it means the opposite. Continually surveying what is being used and communicating with whomever is using those products keeps the company running faster and smarter.
With contracts being such a huge part of the purchase process, it’s important to ensure that a simple, comprehensive system is in place both to create and review orders. This helps the process move smoothly once a decision is made to purchase, and makes it easy to review contracts and ensure all orders are up-to-date.
2. Build Virtuous Supplier Relationships
One of the main components of being a procurement professional is being surrounded by a group of trustworthy suppliers. Building and maintaining good supplier relationships streamlines the procurement process and eliminates the need to start from scratch on every bid request. Fair, detailed, and straightforward negotiations and RFPs increase efficiency and make suppliers happier.
3. Expand Your Network
It may seem easiest just to take charge of projects and not involve other teams, but working efficiently means involving key stakeholders. Input from other departments widens the perspective on good suppliers, quality, and pushes projects to completion faster. Building close relationships throughout an organization speeds up processes, builds trust, and increases efficiency.
With so many new tools for communication, involving other people is easier than ever before. Both internal and external parties will need access to any contracts that are created for orders, and having a platform in place that allows everyone to communicate in a single source will speed up the process and make sure all the right people are included.
4. Use Your Analytical Skills to Make the Right Decisions
Between project planning, vetting vendors and bids, and negotiating the best deals, being in procurement means having top-notch analytical skills. Having a full perspective on every part of the process keeps projects on track and finances in check. Most modern contract management platforms have extensive analytics that will make gathering metrics and reporting back simple and effective.
5. Sharpen Your Negotiating Skills
Part of developing good relationships is negotiating well. Making a good deal for an organization while keeping suppliers happy can be a fine line to walk, but developing strategies to make both parties happy is vital to becoming efficient.
Negotiations always involve a contract, and in the past, this meant emailing or even mailing documents back and forth. This often muddled conversations and could lead to confusion as different people were involved on different email chains or conversations. Implementing a contract management platform makes negotiation much simpler as everyone is now able to redline, edit, and comment in one place.
6. Think Globally
Today’s economy is global. Often the best deals in the business are in an unexpected location. Building relationships with global partners increases flexibility and options for an organization. Global supply chains often provide more options and better prices than limiting the search to close locations.
An important part of thinking globally is timing. An organization needs supplies as soon as possible, and suppliers want to get a deal signed as soon as possible. If teams are emailing documents back and forth and not all parties have immediate access, the process is significantly slowed down. A contract lifecycle management platform ensures all the necessary parties have access as soon as the contract is created so that signatures happen faster.
7. Move Forward with Technology
Digitizing processes is one of the fastest ways to increase efficiency and be successful. Moving contracts and documents to the Cloud is essential for speeding up processes and becoming a forward-thinking company. Having an automated contract lifecycle management platform in place will help contract creation, real-time negotiations, faster signatures, and automated reminders to increase compliance.
The skills are there and the tools are all within reach. Following these steps will help maximize efficiency and keep procurement departments working faster and smarter.