Doing More With Less in Procurement

Five ways Sourcing Heroes can come out on top when they’re constantly being asked to do more with less in procurement.

By Hugo Britt | May 23, 2024

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Would you be able to generate more output in your procurement team if you were forced to work with less? Definitely – if you have the help of a GPO.

Say, for example, your CEO has told every function to slash their headcount by 25%. Or perhaps your organization joins the four-day workweek trend and you somehow have to make up for the lost day. Either way, there are several levers you can pull to do more with less in procurement.

From general efficiency tips to procurement-specific strategies, we delve into automation, supplier self-service, AI technologies, and the time-saving, efficiency-boosting benefits of outsourcing to a group procurement organization like Una.

General efficiency tips

Before we get specific about procurement-related efficiencies, one of the fundamental ways to achieve more with less in your team is to adopt general efficiency practices that cut down on time-consuming and unnecessary activities.

For instance, reducing the frequency and duration of meetings can free up valuable time for procurement professionals to focus on strategic initiatives. In some teams, this requires a cultural shift where people first have to be empowered to push back on the need for a meeting.

Streamlining communication channels, implementing clear decision-making processes, and leveraging collaboration tools can also enhance efficiency and reduce the chances of time-wasting miscommunication.

Every practitioner has been asked to do more with less when it comes to the procurement function. Thankfully, there are ways Sourcing Heroes can boost efficiency to come out on top.

Procurement automation

You guessed it – the best way to do more with less is through the automation and streamlining of procurement tasks. Typically, the best candidates for automation are the most predictable, repetitive, and manual tasks.

One key area is supplier management, where automation can facilitate the entire supplier lifecycle, from initial onboarding to performance evaluation and contract management. Automated systems can also handle routine tasks such as purchase requisition generation, order processing, and invoice matching, reducing manual effort and minimizing errors. 

Furthermore, automation can support spend analysis by gathering and analyzing data from various sources, enabling organizations to make data-driven decisions and optimize their procurement strategies. It’s not just about saving hours: automating the procurement process can improve compliance with regulatory requirements and enhance transparency by maintaining detailed audit trails.

By leveraging automation, you can unlock significant time and cost savings while focusing your resources on strategic activities, supplier relationship management, and value-added tasks.

Supplier self-service and onboarding

Streamlining supplier interactions through self-service portals and onboarding processes can significantly enhance procurement efficiency. By providing suppliers with user-friendly platforms, you can empower them to manage their own information, track orders, and update their offerings.

This reduces the administrative burden on your procurement team and allows them to focus on value-added tasks. Implementing robust supplier onboarding processes also helps streamline the integration of new suppliers into the procurement ecosystem, reducing lead times and ensuring a seamless supply chain.

AI empowering smarter procurement

Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have revolutionized procurement operations. Solutions such as generative AI can analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and provide valuable insights for decision-making. By leveraging AI, you can optimize supplier selection, forecast demand more accurately, and identify cost-saving opportunities.

AI tech provides the brain that can automate routine tasks like spend analysis, contract management, and supplier performance evaluation, enabling procurement teams to focus on strategic initiatives that require human judgment and expertise.

Work smarter, not harder

Adopt a mindset of working smarter, not harder involves prioritizing tasks based on their impact, leveraging technology and data analytics to drive decision-making, and fostering collaboration with cross-functional teams. By optimizing workflows, eliminating bottlenecks, and embracing continuous improvement, procurement teams can enhance their productivity and effectiveness.

Outsource to a group purchasing organization

Last (but definitely not least!), you can leverage the expertise and resources of a group procurement organization (GPO) like Una to save money, time, and effort. Instead of individually researching and negotiating with multiple suppliers, you can access a catalog of pre-negotiated contracts and preferred vendors through Una. This streamlines the purchasing process and eliminates the need for extensive supplier evaluations. It also means you can redirect internal resources to core business operations while benefiting from the economies of scale and specialized expertise offered by the GPO.

Doing more with less in procurement requires a multifaceted approach that includes general efficiency tips (cancel those unnecessary meetings), procurement-specific strategies, automation, AI technologies, and outsourcing partnerships. Pull these levers to boost productivity, optimize supply chain operations, and show the rest of your organization just how much procurement can achieve by working smarter.

For more on outsourcing procurement, download our latest guide:

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