Procurement professionals are invaluable to the success of their companies. They not only possess the necessary skills to balance costs, deliver massive returns, fulfill social responsibility, and manage supplier relationships, but now more than ever they’re expected to also be innovative in order to gain a competitive advantage.
To perform their duties efficiently and bring positive contributions to their businesses, these professionals are now seeking to evaluate which technologies could be the right solution for their needs.
Those who do not invest in the right technology-driven solutions could fall behind. And, as most companies spend at least a third of their overall budgets on purchasing goods and services, procurement is clearly critical to their bottom lines. Therefore, any improvement that comes from investing in the right technologies can dramatically cut costs and improve efficiencies.
From Then to Now
In the past, information systems were largely unsuccessful at increasing efficiencies through the entire procurement cycle. They typically only supported the information phase with electronic catalogues and some operational activities, such as payment.
But now, cloud-based systems are far more interactive and customizable, and aid in the entire process, making them invaluable. For example, the cloud enables the communication of complex data, online auctions and bidding systems support the negotiation phase, and online catalogues allow you to check product availability, place and track orders, and make payments over the web. Plus, purchasing and approval rules can be added to the workflow to control spend. With so many improvements, technologies have become more vital to procuring goods and services than ever before.
How Technology Can Help
Tech has been critically important to procurement for over two decades, but its importance continues to grow at an increasing rate. Modern technology can drive efficiencies, streamline processes, and enable visibility. This makes tasks more manageable and enables organizations to scale. It also allows for fewer costly errors, enables better service quality, allows for quicker decisions, and lowers the administrative overhead associated with procurement. But perhaps most importantly, technology provides relevant data.
And in big data lies great potential. The more you know, the better decisions you can make, the better you can control spend, and the better you can manage operations. Companies simply cannot know enough about their supply chains. Greater insight allows for better negotiations, better compliance to rules and contracts, and increased productivity within the supply chain. The data gleaned from technology can also enable companies to see emerging patterns and trends, which will allow them to make quicker and more informed decisions about their suppliers and purchases now and in the future.
Staying Up to Date
Many procurement professionals are hesitant to jump on the tech bandwagon because of the evolving nature of the field and the ever-changing technologies on the market. The best technology on the market today will soon be outdated as new tools become available.
However, this shouldn’t stop anyone from investing in tech today. It should only motivate them to stay abreast of innovative new technology in order to stay relevant in this highly digital business world.
Don’t Miss Out
With increasingly competitive and open markets and tighter budgets, there is a need for reorganization and streamlining of procurement procedures.
There’s no doubt that technology is critical to procurement today. If companies want to stay competitive, they must increase their emphasis on technology, including investing in tech for managing the supply chain.
Companies that do not get on board will miss out substantially. They’ll continue to work with inefficient processes that waste time, create frustration, require added effort, and increase costs. Using digital tools will make the process faster, easier, and sharper, and enable companies to collect relevant data, maximize efficiency, solve complex problems, forecast future needs, and above all, control spend. Using technology-driven supply management solutions drives greater value, and it’s time to invest. You cannot afford to wait.
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