How can your procurement team be more efficient

A key issue facing Procurement Leaders in 2020 is that organisations are growing at a faster rate than the investment in additional procurement resource.

So how can you make your team more effective and deliver greater results with the same or less resource?

1. Implement a line

A large number of procurement projects come in under the £50K mark. Often these can be just as time consuming as larger projects. If a lot of your team’s time is spent here, then you should implement a light touch procurement support approach and channel these back to the business. With a published how-to guide, a group email or chat-bot, you could save your team a great deal of much needed time.

This approach works well when speed to market or failing fast is important to your business. However, it’s worth having a clear definition of areas you want to retain oversight or input into. These might include perpetual software licenses, anything touching sensitive customer data and other high risk requirements.  Tying down commercials prior to a proof of concept is also important as suppliers often know how well the trials are going which may lose you leverage.

By drawing a line you can speed up delivery, improve stakeholder relationships and ensure you are focussing on the more strategic projects.

2. Invest in Systems

This is the area that can make the most difference to your capacity and delivery. 

The historic approach of cobbling together multiple systems using Excel is time consuming and open to error. It’s time to invest in solutions that can make your life easier and help with delivery. 

At Acada, we believe that effective technology is the key to transforming procurement into a strategic business function. Our software solution, Projectview is a time saving online procurement workspace which enables your team to:

  • Reduce time inputting data, increasing efficiency
  • Standardise processes
  • View real-time project information and reports
  • Give stakeholders easy access to data and reports
  • Easily visualise the team’s capacity and delivery
  • Easily access project documents and templates
  • Collate disparate systems into one central tool
  • Deliver more

Systemise as much of your process as possible and set yourself the target of automating any manual task you carry out more than twice. There are many solutions which can help – we’re happy to talk you through the options or run through one of your procurement projects to assess automation and efficiency opportunities.

3. Build Relationships

A great way to get things moving quickly and for your team to become more effective is to work on stakeholder relationships at all levels. A quick call to the right person at the right level can speed up slow moving projects and helps to develop the relationship more than an email can.

Make sure your team are working up a level – if necessary invest in training and coaching so that they have the right level of credibility to do this. Giving your key stakeholders visibility on what you’re working on is another way to increase transparency and help break down barriers between teams, smoothing the path for increased project delivery.

4. Transactional processes

Finally, transactional processes add little value to your organisation.  Get rid of them! Automate, remove, outsource, get another team to complete – whatever you need to ensure that your team’s focus is on the large and important projects.  

The focus should always be on lean and appropriate processes fit for your organisation in the 2020’s – not doing something simply because it’s the way things have always been done.

5. Streamline processes

A regular review of your processes and operating model is vital to ensure that you are directing effort to the right areas in order to get the right outcomes.  Make sure that the right stakeholders are involved at the right point in you process to shortcut any bottlenecks and delays.  For example, now that most requirements across all categories have a Tech component, involving your Cyber Security team early will help to ensure that there has been the right level of review by the time you are looking to execute the contract.

Engage your team to discuss steps which can removed, or steps that should be added to smooth the process.  Distribute the creation of best practice guides amongst the team to help share best practice and onboarding for new starters. Appoint a process champion to manage this review and content creation with regular check-points.

By keeping processes lean and eliminating waste, you can challenge the business to reduce overall procurement lead-times, increase efficiency and deliver more value overall.

Ultimately, if your organisation is growing by 5% and your headcount isn’t, then it’s reasonable to review how you work and look at what needs to change so that you can focus on meeting your organisational targets through true strategic procurement.

For a free trial of ProjectView or simply a chat about how we can help you transform your team through digitisation – contact me at rich@acadatech.com.

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