How to Effectively Manage Your Tail Spend

A play-by-play for taming tail spend to achieve full spend visibility and increased cost savings


Why tail spend?

Tail spend continues to be one of the main challenges procurement practitioners face due to its risky nature, the fact that it’s hard to analyze, and expensive to manage. It’s largely ignored with no clear vision as to how to get it under control.

But as more and more organizations shift focus and change the way they do business, many are looking for ways to minimize risk and improve their bottom line, and that includes taking a closer look at investing more into a tail spend management program.

With the right tools and resources, understanding and taming tail spend in a way that leads to full spend visibility and increased cost savings is possible. 

We're here to help

Tail spend management is a massive undertaking and luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. It’s our mission to empower procurement and help organizations become more profitable, and that includes providing you with resources to guide you along the way.

This playbook is a step-by-step instruction on how you can capitalize on the untapped value that is held within this often forgotten category of tail spend. Whether you tackle it on your own or decide to enlist the help of a consultant or a GPO, this can serve as your starting point.

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how to manage tail spend

Download this playbook to learn:

  • How to identify tail spend
  • The importance of managing tail spend
  • How to implement effective tail spend management strategies
  • An inside look at how Una can help manage tail spend

Get a sneak peek into the playbook:

Is tail spend even worth getting under control? If you had asked this question 15 to 20 years ago, the answer may have been no because procurement simply could not manually track such a high volume of transactions. But with so many procurement technology solutions on the marketplace and additional resources readily available, it is now possible to achieve granular visibility of every transaction that takes place in real time.

There are several benefits to getting tail spend under control including improved visibility of total spend, uncovering hidden savings, identifying and reducing risks, and benefiting from supplier innovation.

There’s more to procurement than cutting costs, but this is undeniably the number-one motivator for getting tail spend under control. Research shows that by digitizing tail spend and moving transactions onto a centralized system, organizations can cut costs by 5% to 10%.

To help you achieve substantial cost savings, ask yourself these questions:

Does your organization have clear policies established for buyers to follow? Are you reviewing purchasing requirements to reduce unnecessary spend and warehouse costs?

Are online catalogs available for categories like stationery or business travel? Do you have a process for identifying and addressing maverick spend? 

Does it make sense to consolidate suppliers and deliveries to increase buying power and negotiate better deals? 

Can you schedule training and educate staff on effective purchasing to create a cost-conscious culture?

How to manage tail spend

If you’re used to using a “set-it-and-forget-it-approach” to managing tail spend, we know the risks include increased maverick spend, poor visibility, and losing out on cost savings and additional value.

Traditional methods include standardization and bundling, the use of purchasing cards, and setting up catalogs so employees and buyers can see exactly what they can order and from what vendor.

Another method? Treating tail spend like a category. Category management is a strategic approach to procurement and best-practice category management methodologies that you most likely already apply to other categories can be applied to the tail spend as well.

Continual analysis of trends, risks, and changes in demand within the tail spend will lead to a better understanding of what your company is purchasing, when goods are being purchased, and from which suppliers. You’ll also be taking a proactive approach to sourcing, form better relationships with your suppliers, and identify areas for improvement.

Get full spend visibility & increased cost savings

In this playbook, you’ll learn that by combining a few different methodologies, you’re creating a well-rounded strategy to effectively manage tail spend once and for all. 

To learn more about how to improve spend visibility and capture additional cost savings within your tail spend,  download the full playbook below.

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