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Product Shipping and Procurement

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The New Era of Product Shipping

With the rise of e-commerce has come increased expectations around delivery service, including in both the consumer and B2B worlds. When a consumer buys a product online, even two-day shipping, popularized by companies like Amazon, is often too long now, which is why Amazon and others are turning to one-day or even same-day shipping in some cases. For businesses, similar expectations apply, as employees want their products like office supplies to arrive as fast as they do when making personal purchases.

As a Deloitte study finds, the future of shipping is evolving to one that attempts to meet higher demand and increase speed by taking advantage of technology. These tech advances range from data analysis for optimizing delivery routes to the use of smart storage lockers to improve the efficiency of the so-called last mile of delivery where packages reach their end recipients. Even drones are starting to be deployed, and an expanded presence could help improve speed.

While these advances offer significant potential for consumers and businesses to receive the products they need almost as fast as buying from a retail store, at the same time gaining the efficiency of online purchasing, the transition won’t always be easy for suppliers and logistics companies. Businesses will also have to adapt to obtain the efficiency their employees crave.

Navigating New Expectations

One example of the challenge of meeting new shipping expectations can be seen in the performance of FedEx. As Reuters reports, FedEx recently cut its 2020 profit forecast, due to factors such as investing in the rollout of Sunday delivery, and the company has not always been able to keep up with expected delivery times in major cities.

These types of struggles can challenge suppliers, as even if they’re able to absorb the cost of expedited shipping, their delivery partners may not always meet expectations. Overcoming these obstacles may require suppliers to work more closely with partners like logistics companies, such as through increased data sharing, to figure out how they can expedite shipping. As the Deloitte study notes, carriers partnering with their “most forward-thinking customers to build mutual capabilities could well serve both parties.”

For procurement teams, this new era may also benefit those who can form strong partnerships with suppliers to figure out the best ways to optimize delivery speeds. For example, limiting the number of vendors you work with and spending more with certain suppliers could give you more leverage to work out an expedited shipping schedule. Your suppliers may also inform you of how you can help them help you, such as by trying to place orders for different types of products into one batch.

Moreover, data-driven procurement teams can gain insights into delivery speeds and accuracy in order to help their suppliers understand what needs to be optimized. Procurement teams can also eliminate underperforming vendors and then limit their relationships to those who can meet delivery expectations.

Improving Procurement With Premikati

Understanding your procurement activities, including delivery performance and supplier relationships, can help your organization receive optimal service quality in this new era of product shipping. Leveraging procurement services and/or purchasing platforms through Premikati, an SAP Ariba™ partner, can help you gain the data you need to make better decisions related to shipping. Our consulting services can also help you work with suppliers to optimize delivery according to your needs.

To learn more about how Premikati can help your organization thrive in this new era of shipping, please get in touch with our team

cut procurement costs Premikati marketplace

Cut Procurement Costs – Not Quality

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A New Year’s Resolution to Cut Procurement Costs, Not Quality

 

Many people take on personal new year’s resolutions such as to lose weight, but what’s often more important than the number on the scale is someone’s overall health quality. Similarly, many businesses want to cut costs, but focusing just on reducing expenses may not be the most sustainable way to grow overall.

For example, switching to a vendor that supplies lower-quality products, such as for IT devices, may reduce costs in the short-term, but if those devices break down faster, it can cost more overall to repair or replace them.

Thus, companies looking to save money in 2020 should make a new year’s resolution to cut procurement costs without cutting quality. To accomplish this task, businesses can leverage:

    • Purchasing Power: Either by consolidating spend with fewer vendors or by leveraging group purchasing organizations, companies can often obtain a discounted rate for purchasing the same products and services. For example, making tail spend purchases through a B2B marketplace can enable businesses to obtain better rates from suppliers based on the combined spend of the marketplace’s multiple clients. If a small or medium-sized business tried to negotiate rates based on just their own spend, they would have less leverage than a marketplace has when setting rates with suppliers.
    • Spend Insights: As companies improve their ability to track spending, they can more easily identify pure cost-saving opportunities that have no bearing on product or service quality. For example, using spend insights to identify erroneous purchases, such as incorrect pricing or accidental orders, allows companies to reduce costs without affecting any other areas of their business. Similarly, spend data may show that companies are going over budget with purchases that do not add much value. From there, businesses can implement stronger cost controls so that unnecessarily expensive purchases do not go through.
    • Productivity Gains: In addition to the direct cost savings that can come from negotiating better rates and cutting waste, businesses can also save on expenses and potentially increase revenue through productivity gains. For example, if a business can process orders and invoices more efficiently through a procurement marketplace, they may be able to reduce the costs of using a third-party accounts payable provider. Moreover, freeing up employees’ time to focus on more revenue-generating tasks can help companies grow, without adding expenses.

Start Saving With Premikati Marketplace 

To simplify tail spend purchasing and cut procurement costs without hurting quality, businesses can turn to Premikati Marketplace, which runs on SAP Ariba™ Buying and Invoicing. The platform provides an easy way to access great pricing on quality products and services, while also allowing businesses to implement cost controls, gain rebates and streamline the overall buying process. Altogether, businesses can reduce tail spend costs by around 30% through this marketplace.

To learn more about how Premikati Marketplace can help you achieve a new year’s resolution of cutting procurement costs without cutting quality, please get in touch with our team.

holiday gifts for suppliers

Top 4 Best Holiday Gifts for Suppliers 

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Top 4 Best Holiday Gifts for Suppliers 

We’ve talked before about the importance of nurturing good relationships with your suppliers in the past. During the festive season, why not reach out to your suppliers with a little thank you for all of their hard work to show them how much you value their contribution to your business? 

Here are four great gifts for suppliers to show your gratitude this year: 

(By the way, we aren’t affiliated with any of the products below, just lots of great suppliers!)

Wireless Headset

Suppliers tend to spend a lot of time on the phone. Free up their hands so they can stretch their legs and grab a cup of coffee while on calls with this rechargeable wireless headset. Relieve some neck cramps and offer some healthy benefits that may even help them reach their New Year’s resolutions. Supply chain and squats, anyone? Plus, it offers a mute button and noise canceling. It even works with Skype. Their shoulders are sure to thank you. Amazon link here

Coffee

Sweet, sweet caffeinated magic potions that make the work happen. Few people in business will pass up a good cup of joe, so send them a box with some nice beans to give them a little boost through the season. This holiday pack offers several seasonal flavors—but it’s whole bean, so you may want to send a grinder like this one too. Something about a freshly-ground cup of coffee always makes the workday feel a little more manageable. If you really want to go all out, here’s a sampler from the same company with coffees sourced (haha!) from all around the world. 

Wrist Rest

The one thing suppliers may actually do more than talk on the phone is use their computers. Offer them an ergonomic boost to help their wrists, elbows, and shoulders with this memory foam desk set that supports their hands on both their keyboard and mouse. It’s filled with memory foam, so it may remind them of a more relaxing place (ahem, like at home in their bed), and their stress can melt away—don’t worry, the coffee will keep them awake. Here’s one with divets for airflow on Amazon.

Office Snacks

It’s how long ‘til lunch break? Ward off hunger (and hanger) without dismissing health goals many people will set for the New Year. These tasty snack packs come in delicious flavors like honey mustard, chocolate banana, and espresso, but are also portion-controlled at 130 calories each and protein-packed, so they last until lunchtime.

In case you’re wondering about some of the implications of sending gifts to your suppliers over the holidays, here are a few other helpful tidbits of information: 

  1. A guide on the etiquette of giving gifts in business with important points to understand, like corporate policy limitations.
  2. Information about the tax benefits of giving gifts in business.

Even if you opt not to send a physical gift to your suppliers this year, you should take the time to send each and every one of them a heartfelt thank you and well-wishes for the holiday and the new year. Remember, without your suppliers, you don’t have a business, so show them that their efforts—and they as people—are meaningful to you. 

 

Procurement Analytics and Rogue Spend

Procurement Analytics and Rogue Spend

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Summary: Rogue spend—unmanaged spend—puts businesses at risk of noncompliance, creates unpredictable budgets, reduces forecasting accuracy and completeness, and overall reduces business profits. By using spend analytics, rogue spend can more quickly be spotted and managed, reducing fraud, duplicate purchases, noncompliance risks, and allows leaders to make better-informed decisions based on complete and cohesive data. 

In procurement, an and unwatched budget can quickly spiral out of control, sometimes in ways that can be severely detrimental to the organization both culturally and even legally. Spend analysis is a vital aspect of any procurement strategy and allows decision-makers to gain an accurate snapshot of spending, reduce fraud, and optimize and strategize at both a high and granular level. Failure to control rogue spending can result in over-stretched budgets which are draining to the organization and the employees who must deal with it.

What Is Rogue Spend?

Rogue spend is often mentioned in the same breath as maverick spending and tail spend. No matter what you want to call it, it’s spending that you don’t want in your organization because it is unmanaged and unpredictable. Of course, unmanaged and unpredictable spending means your business’s budget, forecasting, and insights are incomplete at best and completely inaccurate at worst. Issues with rogue spend may also place your business at a much higher risk for non-compliance. 

Rogue spend can happen for a variety of reasons, from the innocent to the ignorant to the downright fraudulent.

On the innocent side of the spectrum, employees may not work within an organization where clear spend policies are in place, causing businesses to lose out of discounts. Procurement professionals may have been directed to focus on other objectives. Lack of proper tools and procedures for contract management may prevent procurement from properly managing spend.

On the ignorant side of the spectrum, there may be a cultural mindset that small purchases are “too small to matter” even though they can quickly add up. Management may accept unmanaged spend because they are unwilling to or do not understand the need to put manpower or money towards managing spending, because they do not understand that, left unchecked, unmanaged rogue spend can quickly spiral far out of control.

And on the fraudulent side of the spectrum, rogue spend can occur in many different ways. For example, in August and September, office supply spend may spike because employees take supplies home to their children to use at school. Similarly, employees may make miscellaneous purchases on personal cards then request reimbursement. Also on personal cards, employees may pay for flights and conferences, request reimbursement, and cancel the flights and tickets in order to pocket the money themselves. According to a white paper from Chrome River titled 10 Ways to Prevent Business Expense Fraud and Abuse, some employees may report many purchases barely below the audit threshold in order to steal money from the company—this sort of risky behavior can quickly be caught using automated spend analytics.

How Can Spend Analytics Help Find Rogue Spend?

Maintaining and clear and accurate picture of your company’s spending data can reveal many insights, not the least of which is rogue spend. Especially if your company utilizes machine learning technology, objective data can be utilized to spot risky behaviors, target spend that is likely to be out of compliance, and find key opportunities to reduce spend by utilizing and strategizing with key suppliers in order to maximize discounts and efficiency. ERP solutions like SAP S/4HANA can be especially helpful in aggregating and analyzing these sorts of spend data into one integrated dashboard.

Spend analysis, by its very nature, increases visibility, allowing decision-makers to make better-informed choices regarding the company’s finances.

Spend analysis can be used to analyze uncategorized spending and assess risks associated with it, determine if there’s a high likelihood that the spend is fraudulent, and help clarify where rogue spending can be reduced in exchange for managed, strategic spending that benefits the company’s bottom line and supplier relationships alike.

Intelligent Spend Management

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Premikati’s COO and General Counsel Chad Buchanan talks about the challenges that companies in the mid market face and their unique approach to intelligent spend management utilizing SAP Ariba technology.

5 Frustrations Procurement Professionals Will Understand

Five Frustrations Procurement Professionals Will Understand

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Every profession comes with its frustrations, but procurement comes with its own very specific set. If you’ve been in the business for more than a minute, you’ve probably wanted to put your head through your desk on more than one occasion thanks to these special procurement nightmares.

Are You Ghosting Us?

We’ve all had it happen—after weeks of back and forth, we message a supplier an important question that will impact, well, everything else. And we wait. And wait. Days pass. Weeks. Centuries… Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but when we are relying on this one piece of feedback in particular, it can certainly feel this way. If you don’t have the answer to our question, let us know. It’s okay. Just please, please don’t put us through the special hell of ignoring us completely while we search for a solution or an answer.

How Big Are Your Shoes?

Did you promise us the moon? Well, buddy, you’ve got big shoes to fill. Unfortunately, lots of other departments (cough, cough suppliers, marketers, we’re looking at you) have their toes in their arch supports. It’s frustrating when the people we rely on to fulfill our job duties overpromise and underdeliver. It leaves us backed up and with a whole lot of explaining to do.

T Minus 10 Minutes

We get it—sometimes genius strikes at the midnight hour (and often when we are furthest away from pad and paper), but changing plans mega late in the game is really difficult in procurement. If we’ve spent months planning for everything you need to execute your brilliant plan, changing everything last minute makes us shudder. Oftentimes, it simply cannot be done on timescale that suits everyone, and we’re the ones who end up taking the flak. Give us plans and give us time and we will give you the world, though.

The Ol’ Switcheroo

We’re planners. Have we mentioned that enough? We like plans. More importantly, we like sticking to plans. So, marketers and sales folks, believe us when we say that we are looking for this one particular item, especially if we say that’s all we’re looking for. Extra especially if we’ve already said it once. Give it up on the upsell and the cross-promotion, and we’ll thank you for it. Respect our already limited time and we’ll pay it back in spades with loyalty and not-too-many emails. At least the former, as long as you keep your prices reasonable and your delivery on time.

Dripping in Gold

Speaking of upsells, do we look like we’re made of money? We can’t break the bank on every new request, every outlandish marketing idea, every new and ingenius product idea. We have to save for a rainy day and prioritize our cash flow toward the best and most efficient option. You can stop calling us names—we’re not literally always looking for the cheapest option, even if it seems that way sometimes. We’re not trying to make your life harder. We’re trying to make our dollars take us as far as we can and sometimes that means saying things like, “No, I get that it’s a more ergonomic option, but we cannot approve another (sigh) standing desk at this time.”

Did this list make you want to cry into your keyboard? You can find relief at the Premikati Marketplace where procurement is easy (and way less frustrating).

Best Practices to Open the Silo Between Accounts Payable and Procurement

3 Best Practices to Open the Silo Between Accounts Payable and Procurement

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Summary: Accounts payable and procurement work hand in hand, although many departments remain uninformed about the goals, metrics, decisions, and communications of the other. Businesses can breach data silos among the two departments by implementing Intelligent Spend Management solutions, utilizing technology and automation to its fullest, generating shared goals among the two departments, and generating a culture of effective sharing and communication. Creating flow between AP and procurement reduces risk, opens usable capital, increases business agility, and supports better supplier relationship management.

Why Is Alignment Between AP And Procurement Important?

Accounts payable and procurement can be seen like the left and right hands of an organization. Unfortunately, in many businesses, neither hand knows what the other is doing—even if they both report to the same person—which results in unnecessary fumbling, inefficiency, and lost profits. In an ideal scenario, finance, procurement, and supply chain all need to work closely together, sharing data and common goals for the greater good.

Procurement and accounts payable are an obvious place to begin when breaking down information silos because procurement is tasked with buying goods and services while accounts payable is responsible for paying for those same goods and services. Procurement and payment need to be combined under one reasonable, cohesive procure-to-pay (P2P) strategy in order for both “hands” to bring the best value to an organization.

A cohesive P2P strategy offers the following benefits to businesses:

  • Positive working capital and achievable early payment discounts generated through realistic timelines between both departments
  • Sourcing that involves more depth and insight than procurement can achieve on its own
  • Better spend analytics based on data for more accurate cash flow predictions
  • Better supplier relationship management via sharing and communicating goals, updates, and information about interactions
  • Contract negotiation with suppliers that offers greater flexibility

Intelligent Spend Management: A Strong Plus

Intelligent Spend Management enables businesses to manage every source of spending across every category while aggregating spend data under a single, unified view.

SAP Ariba, the basis for our Premikati Marketplace, is a strong proponent and deliverer of Intelligent Spend Management solutions. Focus and agility are byproducts of “[understanding and using] data, transforming it from information into intelligence, and intelligence into value.” Intelligent Spend Management allows businesses to mitigate risks, collaborate effectively, automate their source-to-pay processes, and engage in rapid acceleration—toward fast-changing customer desires and new business models and revenue streams alike.

As it applies to AP and procurement, Intelligent Spend Management helps teams communicate and prioritize better, uncover hidden spend, and collaborate more effectively with suppliers and business partners.

Actionable Ways to Open the Silo Between Accounts Payable and Procurement

In order for a business to begin the process of integrating accounts payable and procurement in such a way to mitigate risks and unneeded spending, it must begin with a plan. The following are starting points for businesses to create a path toward open, effective procedures between AP and procurement:

Agree on Common Goals

It doesn’t how hard either side is working if they are each working toward conflicting goals. Both departments should agree on common metrics and goals that both work toward throughout the month and subsequently report to relevant executives. Cash flow goals should be shared and purchasing decisions made in accordance with these goals. One shared goal which can be acted upon immediately is to create and utilize a combined, up-to-date vendor master list that is devoid of duplicates and is clear about who maintains what responsibilities in regards to the list.

Use Technology To Its Fullest

Technology is the cornerstone of adaptable, agile businesses in the modern day. Not only can technology help mitigate risk through automated processes which reduce errors and fraud, it can also be a key factor in breaking down communication barriers between departments which previously maintained their own separate records and metrics. If both AP and procurement maintain data through technological means, then that data can be more effectively combined and utilized to make better business decisions and predictions.

One immediate way to opt in to technology to support effective processes between procurement and accounts payable is via adopting and Intelligent Spend Management system. Because data will be able to be viewed from a centralized dashboard, insights and intelligence quickly follow. Having this form of system in place can also guide other processes between departments such as which key metrics to prioritize.

Other disruptive technologies may also be of use during AP / procurement crossovers. SAP Ariba, basis of the Premikati Marketplace, utilizes the high-tech trifecta of AI, machine learning, and blockchain. These sorts of technologies can assist with safe record-keeping, automation, and predictive analytics.

Create A Culture of Sharing

Information hoarding is an ineffective approach in today’s business culture. Instead, opt for a sharing culture that understands boundaries—sharing at length, but efficiently.  In conjunction with creating shared goals, each department should also share information related to their key metrics and goals, their progress, and offer solutions surrounding how the two departments can work together for overall success.

AP and procurement should share relevant information regarding invoices—such as unpaid, late invoices—and recent interactions with suppliers. Similarly, any vendor info which has changed should be made promptly available to employees in both departments, perhaps through the combined vendor list. In terms of efficiency, an action businesses can take right away is to set aside a time for sharing and questions between the two departments. If questions can be saved for the end of the workday, then constant interruptions are less likely to throw off the flow of each side’s work, yet needed questions can be answered to better inform decision-making and priorities, offering fast adaptability on a day-to-day scale.

An Intelligent Spend Management system is one way to combine effective, efficient sharing culture with technology for easily-accessible data for all.

Feel free to share your best practices or pain points below…we love to hear comments from those in the field!

top 3 procurement strategies for SMBs

Top Three Procurement Strategies for SMBs

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For SMBs, procurement can be the largest area of spending, often representing 50 percent of sales revenue. For companies looking to send value to the bottom line rather than take it away, optimizing the procurement workflow can help.

In many cases, SMBs tend to focus more on overall operations rather than more specific processes. However, targeting areas like procurement for process improvement can help accomplish goals that go beyond dollars and cents – it can also improve productivity throughout the organization, leading to greater efficiency from end-to-end.

Build bottom-line value with these procurement strategies

To help you chart a new, more profitable course forward, here are our top strategies in procurement for SMBs:

1.  Choose your supplier partnerships more strategically

If you have several buyers who tend to purchase from a range of different vendors, think about consolidating that spending into a smaller pool. Purchasing from fewer suppliers will help to streamline resources from many angles as it will reduce time you spend on sourcing and help you avoid excessive delivery fees.

Additionally, the more buying power you have with a specific vendor, the better the relationship may become over time, and it may be possible to negotiate bulk discounts based on the volume of business you do with them – a mutually beneficial situation that you could work to your advantage.

2.  Optimize procurement processes

Within smaller business operations, there is often less attention paid to purchasing from department to department. There may not be dedicated personnel or a finance department to oversee PO’s, so purchasing is done ad hoc without much regard to the availability of funds, pacing, or cost of sale implications.

In the enterprise, these functions are consolidated, and often evaluated and substantiated by technology and data, providing buyers with oversight and the tools they need to make informed decisions. Without this valuable financial data, a company runs the risk of overextending themselves by over-purchasing or overspending on the items they need.

Implementing a system to govern and consolidate all spending decisions is critical to achieving this goal, but if done manually, with spreadsheets and through other methods, error does occur, and an inordinate amount of time is spent in managing the process. An appropriate technology solution should be applied, as it will provide immediate value, reduce error, and allow employees to focus on higher-value tasks.

3.  Apply the latest procurement technology and tools

Today, SMBs have the advantage of being able to access enterprise-grade procurement technology and tools, giving them the same financial and strategic advantages as major industry players.

Procurement technology has many advantages, including:

  • Cloud-based systems are easy to manage and always available, assuring real-time insight into procurement activities.
  • The analytics delivered by procurement technology provides stakeholders with the ability to make data-driven decisions and optimize costs, improve processes, and streamline reporting workflows.
  • An e-procurement strategy removes silos within the organization, enabling collaboration between departments and consolidating efforts, resulting in cost reduction and process improvement.
  • Automation delivers great value to SMBs as repetitive tasks are accomplished efficiently and accurately, eliminating errors and improving the quality and voracity of internal data. Many SMBs spend an inordinate amount of time backtracking to find mistakes and often overlook small errors that add up over time. Automating these baseline processes improves accuracy and allows employees to devote their time to advancing business goals.
  • Another great advantage to applying an e-procurement strategy is the ability to predict trends in spending. Analytics deliver a clear picture of spending patterns and help the organization prepare for what’s to come based on actual data rather than just conjecture and instinct. Companies can be better prepared for the future and will be able to provide leadership with more accurate projections on the road ahead.
  • E-procurement also enables better risk management as it reduces overspending, redundancy, and costly errors in administration.
  • Compliance, whether related to company policy or regulatory mandates, is easily managed with e-procurement. If this is a priority for your business, an e-procurement solution will support your needs.

Premikati Marketplace: Procurement Solutions for SMBs

Premikati Marketplace runs on the SAP Ariba™ Buying and Invoicing platform. Developed specifically with SMBs in mind, it provides a way for small-to-medium sized companies to take advantage of enterprise-grade procurement strategies that will help them grow and scale.

To learn more about what Premikati Marketplace can do for your organization, visit www.premikati.com/marketplace or call us directly to get started.

Top 6 Ways to Engage Sustainable Sourcing for SMBs

Top 6 Ways to Engage Sustainable Sourcing for SMBs

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Summary: Sustainable sourcing has become a consumer and investor expectation which impacts businesses not only morally and ethically, but alters customer loyalty, price point, risk level, and more. Because SMBs make up the vast majority of global businesses, the combined global impact of ethical choices can alter the course of history as long as businesses take steps toward responsible procurement environmentally, socially, and economically.

Sustainable sourcing is at the forefront of planning efforts for many businesses as climate change and consumer expectations offer a clearer and clearer call to action. As SAP Ariba Live and the coordinating Sustainability Summitfast approach, businesses of all sizes prepare to learn how to further augment and optimize their approach to sustainability in the supply chain.

There are benefits to businesses outside of morality and ethics as it pertains to responsible procurement and sustainable sourcing.

On the financial front, sustainable product sales have risen nearly 20% since 2014 and sustainable fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) have a CAGR of 3.5%, almost four times that of conventional products. Another point for the bottom line—Millennials and Gen Z are more inclined to buy sustainable and ethical products devoid of harmful chemicals and which support social responsibility, with 73% and 72% respectively willing to pay additional costs for products that meet these requirements, according to Nielsen. Additional customer loyalty and increased prices can make a major difference to an SMB’s growth. And it’s not just consumers who expect transparency and sustainability—investors are increasingly on the lookout for responsible practices within the companies they choose to support.

Government initiatives are another reason to pursue sustainable sourcing, because many places around the globe offer incentives for responsible action. Similarly, avoidance of legal trouble and hefty fines is a byproduct of ethical decision-making in the procurement process. Because many unsavory practices hide in complex supply chains, opting for transparent sourcing platforms can help SMBs avoid unexpected compliance issues.

SAP Ariba, through their Procure With a Purpose campaign, supports the full list of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which include basic rights and expectations such as access to clean water and food, elimination of poverty, gender equality, education, and responsible consumption and production. In order to achieve these goals and many others along similar lines, SAP Ariba focuses on three pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental—all of which can guide the process for SMBs who seek to practice sustainable sourcing.

Society

Social sustainability refers to human and workplace rights, while social ethicality often refers to supplier diversity and similar measures. According to the speaker at the 2019 Sustainability Summit, Givewith CEO Paul Polizzotto:

“Society is demanding businesses change the way they operate by acting more sustainably and with greater transparency – all while generating a positive impact on the world. There’s an incredible opportunity for procurement teams to amplify their organization’s impact, not only by prioritizing ethical suppliers butby sourcing from suppliers who add social impact sales incentives into these transactions to drive even greater change.”

  1. Transparency, not slavery

With more than 40 million slaves worldwide, it is important to expect transparency from all members of a supply chain, all the way to the original source. Transparency is the enemy of unsavory practices such as slave labor and is an important first step in any sustainable supply chain. SMBs can require risk assessments and reports on working conditions, even through trusted third parties, in order to reduce the chance that slave labor is part of any step in the creation of their products.

  1. Engage diversity

By working with historically underutilized businesses (HUBs) and minority-owned businesses, SMBs are able to opt for ethical business decisions that help the world economy as a whole.

Economy

Approximately 50% of the world’s population lives on less than $2 per day. By supporting sustainable practices in businesses who pay workers a living wage, SMBs can impact poverty worldwide.

  1. Support economic growth in underserved communities

By choosing procurement processes which support indigenous workers and other underserved communities, wealth is spread and business grows symbiotically in tandem with one another. Single origin products can help ensure fair exchange of funds for exports from indigenous regions, but this is only one method to engage this practice.

  1. Verify risk levels for fair labor practices

Because poverty is an issue that spans the globe, SMBs can use a risk management platform to help ensure they do not support forced labor or child labor and to verify that all workers receive a decent, sustainable, living wage for the time they put in—and that the hours expected of them are similarly sane. The Ariba Network and platforms built upon it such as the Premikati Marketplaceintegrate supplier risk management software to avoid pitfalls such as this.

Environment

We often hear of large enterprises which take on environmental issues. For example, L’Oreal and McDonalds have opted to nix deforestation from their commodity supply chains. Similarly, Danone—maker of Evian water—has been developing a new, more sustainable and recyclable makeup for plastic bottles to help eliminate the pollution crisis. However, SMBs can have a substantial impact on the environment by simply choosing to work only with sustainable suppliers.

  1. Cut out toxins

Choose suppliers who elect not to use toxic and ozone-depleting substances in order to reduce pollution as well as hazards to workers and even consumers. As demand wanes, suppliers will be forced to change their processes—and those who were ethical and responsible from the outset are rewarded.

  1. Say “no” to waste

In a world overrun by pollution on land and at sea, sustainability as it pertains to wasteis a must. Ways SMBs can apply this to their own sustainable procurement process include choosing suppliers who:

  • Limit unnecessary packaging materials
  • Create recyclable products
  • Utilize recycled products in the creation of their own products
  • Create reusable products
  • Offer products which can be repaired rather than thrown away
  • Use environmentally-friendly, renewable materials in production such as bamboo

Considering SMBs with less than 500 employees account for 99.7%of employers in the US, the power held by businesses of this size is formidable. By functioning in unison, SMBs have immense sway over the state of both business and the world we live in. It is through this majority power share that GPO platforms such as ourPremikati Marketplace—powered by SAP Ariba—offer a truly actionable opportunity for SMBs to engage sustainable sourcing practices and become stewards of our future, all the while saving time and money.

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