Unified Procurement Boosts Operational Competitive Advantage

By Anders Lillevik CEO & Founder Focal Point
Leverage a unified procurement strategy to remain competitive and mitigate the impacts of supply chain disruptions by selecting the right digital tools

A lot has changed inside the procurement department over the last several years. Historically, the profession was purely a function of necessity—essential for operational success, but never seen as a profit centre. Between pandemic slowdowns and ongoing supply chain disruptions, procurement, which once operated largely in the background has been thrust into the limelight. There is increasing pressure on procurement teams to make data-backed decisions, innovate faster and contribute to the organisation’s strategic goals.

With more procurement data than ever before and a variety of one-stop solutions available to unite it, organisations can no longer afford to fall behind their competitors by failing to prioritise procurements' role in their business. 

Reframing Procurement

For a long time, email and Microsoft Excel were sufficient for managing procurement. But today’s complicated business landscape requires better-connected communication.

Often the default because of their familiarity and ease of use, long email chains and disparate Excel files can quickly cause valuable procurement data to be buried—going underutilised.  Instead, Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) can eliminate the procurement scavenger hunt by opting for a solution that provides visibility across previously fragmented methods of data collection. 

Consolidating information into a central interface—accessible by all necessary stakeholders—reduces unnecessary spending by eliminating redundancies across departments and having clear visibility over supplier contracts. A single, uniform method of data collection makes it possible for procurement teams to mitigate vendor risks and comply with organisation-wide quality standards.

Selecting the right Tool for the Job

Reaping the full value of procurement data does not end with consolidation. It is also critical for procurement teams to be able to analyse patterns and draw conclusions from the same data proactively so that decision-making improves over time.

The future of procurement as a revenue-creating function relies on actionable insights. Visibility over requests, approval, intake, etc. is only step one. But with all that data, procurement professionals are better equipped to negotiate better pricing, source more ethically, and prevent fraud—simply by taking advantage of analytics to identify holes in the process without manual intervention. 

Benchmark tracking, analysis, and reporting are critical in the effort to elevate procurement from an essential to a strategic part of the business strategy. More visibility and automation means more time that can be spent evaluating the perfect combination of variables that produces the strongest ROI. 

Workshopping the Flow

The final layer of premier procurement orchestration is connecting the teams and people across the organisation that have a hand in procurement functions (think: IT, legal, finance, etc.). Just as easily as data becomes siloed, so do teams working on different sides of the business, prohibiting unified growth. Procurement professionals and their counterparts throughout the organisation need a seamless way to communicate and a history of procurement-related transactions over time. 

Unified approval workflows help to define ownership, show the most up-to-date status of initiatives in progress, and prevent fraud by adding checks and balances to the accounts payable process. A track record of procurement activities brings greater transparency to the function as a whole, making it easier to identify inefficiencies. 

Looking Ahead

The shift in procurement from a background operation to a strategic profit driver is evident. To succeed in the current business climate, organisations must move beyond email and Excel and invest in integrated solutions for efficient data management. 

Procurement's value lies not just in data collection but in proactive analysis for better decision-making. Fostering seamless collaboration among various teams involved in procurement functions is crucial for enhancing transparency and efficiency. Embracing this elevation is essential for organisations to get ahead of the next unexpected supply chain disruption. 

If you're interested in learning more about Focal Point, visit www.getfocalpoint.com.​​​​​​​


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