These days, procurement professionals face a number of complex challenges in their role. A reliable procurement system runs with speed, efficiency and accuracy. However, challenges such as human error or organisational issues can often come into play, having a negative impact on a company’s procurement and purchasing ability. While there is no simple way to overcome every challenge you face as a procurement professional, there are steps you can take to reduce the effect of these issues on your business.
Finding the right suppliers to buy from and getting them to perform to the standard you expect can be a big challenge. Many procurement professionals in various supply chain positions state this finding and qualifying suppliers can be the most difficult obstacle in their roles. It is important to monitor your supplier’s performance over time and make sure that you are receiving the high-quality standards that you expect from them.
You may also encounter issues such as ordering the wrong item or quantity from a supplier. To avoid this becoming a bigger issue, immediately follow up with your supplier and admit the mistake so that you can rectify the order. This will save you a lot of time and money in the long-run. Ordering errors are common given the ease and speed of transactions. Make sure you check your orders before you place them so that you can safeguard against future mistakes like this.
Strategy selection is another common challenge that procurement professionals face. Professionals struggle to decide how they can best achieve their goals and maximise their profits. The most effective procurement strategies go hand in hand with corporate strategy. However, professionals struggle to streamline the whole process and often focus too closely on supply chain management rather than demand management.
Successful streamlining of the procurement process starts with quality software. Find software that is easy to use and does exactly what you need it to. Procurement software systems that are too complex will cost you time and money, which could be better used to improve other aspects of your procurement strategy such as internal and external communication.
Reducing costs and maximising profits
This is a major challenge for procurement professionals as lowering costs is essential for staying within budget. One of the main issues professionals face is maintaining cost savings year after year. Procurement transactions that exceed your budget are usually the result of poor communication or a failure in your procurement protocol. These types of issues need to be addressed as soon as possible to avoid suffering large losses.
Regularly updating budgets and moderating any financial matters that may appear in your supply chain will go a long way in helping to avoid monetary loss. Poor process practices can also lead to a cost blowout so it is important to keep waste and process inefficiencies to a minimum. If your process costs are blowing through your budget it could be due to one of the following reasons:
- Inadequate supply chain visibility
- Lack of accountability
- Poor innovative ideas
- Failure to adapt to change
- Ineffective software/systems
Obtaining accurate data
Finding reliable software and tech tools in the supply chain prove to be a challenge for procurement professionals. There is a need for access to accurate data so that professionals can analyse and use it to build reports on expenditure and profits. If data collection is slow and inaccurate, the decisions of procurement professionals will be the same. Data collection should occur and numerous times of the day and be updated with procurement systems frequently.
When obtaining accurate data it is important to embrace the newest technologies and make sure that your practices are current and efficient. Adult training can be a great way to stay updated on new advances within your industry and how you use these to benefit your supply chain.
Managing stakeholders can be another issue for procurement professionals, but having good communication skills will go a long way in helping you keep your stakeholders happy. Make sure that you have regular meetings with your stakeholders and be sure to alert them of any issues that may come up. A regular flow of information will help you to avoid any miscommunication that can lead to further complications.
Since many procurement challenges an be linked to human error, you can take steps to reduce the impact of these errors on your business. Make sure that you have an effective procurement system in place that takes mistakes into account and has a solution for complications that may arise.