5 Meaningful New Year's Resolutions for Procurement

Sourcing Heroes can set their organization up for success by creating meaningful and realistic new year’s resolutions for procurement.

By Hugo Britt | January 2, 2024

It’s the start of a brand new year! Now’s the time for procurement professionals to make sure they get off to a flying start with some high-impact resolutions.

Tips for creating great resolutions

We’ve all been there: well-meaning resolutions made on December 31st tend to fall apart a few weeks later.

Here are some tips for making resolutions that will stick.  

  • Find the balance between aspirational and realistic
  • Break major aspirations down into smaller, achievable goals
  • Make a goal with measurable results and milestones along the way
  • Avoid vagueness
  • Involve others in your goal to create accountability

Procurement professionals can set their organization up for success by creating meaningful and realistic new year's resolutions for the sourcing function.

5 New Year's resolutions for procurement

Armed with these tips, let’s explore Una’s suggestions for five New Year’s resolutions for procurement!

1. Get better at gathering and acting upon feedback

If you intend to drive meaningful improvement this year, it’s time to get better at gathering and acting upon feedback. Tapping into a rich vein of qualitative feedback will complement and enhance the insights gathered from your procurement data to help you make targeted, high-impact decisions in the new year.

Here are some tips for getting started.

  • Survey fast and often. Move away from lengthy annual surveys and embrace the concept of bite-sized micro-surveys, which can be as short as one question in length and take no more than a minute to answer.
  • Leverage technology. Don’t rely on clunky email-based surveys. There are dozens of excellent survey software alternatives on the market, ranging from webpage pop-ups to app-based mobile surveys and plug-ins for platforms like Slack and Teams. Surveys should be structured in a way that means the resulting data can be accessed and understood at a glance.
  • Survey everyone. Survey all stakeholders, including your own team, end-users of your procurement systems, your suppliers, heads of other functions, and your leadership team.
  • Compare survey results with your other data. Check if the survey results confirm or contradict other sources of information.
  • Act. Use survey results to build a case for taking action and driving continuous improvement. Once you’ve made the change, survey again to measure its impact!

Resources to help:

2. Hug a maverick

Instead of creating a resolution along the lines of “eliminating maverick spend”, how about you hug a maverick instead? Identify your serial mavericks – those who consistently purchase without following procurement policy – and approach them for a chat. Mavericks may be costing your organization money, but they’re a goldmine in terms of valuable feedback.

Finding out why they are ignoring your policies can help you identify areas of improvement such as clunky processes, hard-to-use software, or a lack of understanding about the value of procurement. Fix these problems, and watch your mavericks disappear.

Resources to help:

3. Get control of IT procurement

Two key IT procurement challenges that will test your resolve in the new year are shadow IT and auto-renewing software subscriptions.

Shadow IT refers to the common situation where employees purchase software that hasn’t been authorized by the central team. For example, the business may provide access to Microsoft Teams for videoconferencing, but an employee decides to download a subscription to Skype for Business because they prefer the interface.

This situation leads to duplication, rising IT costs, and security risks. Combat shadow IT through increased data visibility, firewalls, and employee awareness of the problem.

Without visibility of contract expiry dates and auto-renewals, procurement and their partners in IT miss out on the opportunity to change suppliers or renegotiate the contract. Auto-renewing software subscriptions erode value, as the organization will continue to pay the original price even if the market has gotten cheaper. 

Organizations can combat auto-renewing contracts with IT spend visibility. Una can help you access 100% visibility of every IT contract and subscription in your organization, including upcoming expiry dates.

Resources to help:

4. Make sourcing events more accessible to diverse suppliers

Supplier diversity strategies will fail to bear fruit unless you make it easy for diverse suppliers to work with your organization.

Make a resolution to: 

  • Simplify any complex processes that may be discouraging to diverse suppliers.
  • Talk to colleagues about supplier diversity to help others get on board with the benefits.
  • Make sure you pay diverse suppliers (and all suppliers, for that matter) on time.
  • Make yourself available to guide suppliers through your requirements and answer any questions.
  • Look for contract hurdles that exclude small, diverse suppliers.
  • Look for ways to help increase diverse suppliers’ capacity so you can work with them more.
  • Give suppliers constructive feedback and ask for their feedback in return.

Resources to help:

5. Slash indirect spend

You were hoping the problem would go away, but it will still be there in the new year: your organization’s massive, unwieldy indirect spend.

But indirect spend can be brought under control in two steps:

  1. First, get visibility of indirect spend by implementing a centralized procurement system and launching a change management initiative to ensure every stakeholder is using it.
  2. Second, give Una a call. Our sourcing experts can promptly and efficiently comb through your spend categories and identify which ones would benefit most from our collection of pre-negotiated contracts. Save an average of 18-22% and obtain better overall spend management within your direct and indirect procurement spend categories – for free.

Resources to help:

As a group purchasing organization, Una can assist with ensuring you stay true to your upcoming new year’s resolutions for procurement. Contact us to learn more.

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