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Mastering Procurement in 2024: A Quarter-by-Quarter Strategic Roadmap for Success

By Procurement No Comments

An effective procurement strategy is more than just a way to cut costs; it’s a crucial driver of value and innovation.

As we step into a new year, let’s explore a comprehensive, quarter-by-quarter strategic roadmap that procurement professionals can leverage to elevate their operations, align with organizational goals, and stay ahead in an ever-changing market.

 

Q1: January – March: Foundation and Planning

  1. Assessment and Goal Setting (January)
    • Perform a granular analysis of last year’s procurement data, focusing on spending patterns, supplier performance, and compliance issues.
    • Collaborate with key departments to understand their procurement needs and challenges.
    • Set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals that may include cost savings, process efficiency, and supplier diversity.
  2. Strategy Development (February)
    • Develop strategies tailored to different categories of procurement, considering both direct and indirect spending.
    • Incorporate risk management strategies, focusing on supply chain resilience and adaptability.
    • Plan for the integration of advanced tools like SAP Ariba, focusing on how they can enhance procurement operations.
  3. Implementation Planning (March)
    • Create detailed project plans, identifying milestones and key deliverables.
    • Develop training programs and materials for the procurement team and other involved stakeholders.
    • Establish a communication plan to keep all stakeholders informed and engaged throughout the implementation process.

Q2: April – June: Implementation and Optimization

  1. Process Implementation (April)
    • Start with a pilot program to test new processes in a controlled environment.
    • Establish feedback mechanisms to gather insights and make necessary adjustments.
    • Ensure compliance with both internal policies and external regulatory requirements.
  2. Supplier Relationship Management (May)
    • Develop a supplier segmentation strategy to identify key suppliers and manage them accordingly.
    • Initiate regular business reviews with key suppliers to discuss performance, opportunities, and challenges.
    • Look for opportunities to consolidate suppliers and negotiate better terms or bulk discounts.
  3. Performance Tracking and Optimization (June)
    • Utilize dashboards and reporting tools within SAP Ariba for real-time monitoring.
    • Conduct quarterly reviews to assess progress against goals and make adjustments as needed.
    • Foster a culture of continuous improvement, encouraging team members to suggest and implement enhancements.

Q3: July – September: Expansion and Innovation

  1. Market Analysis and Expansion (July)
    • Conduct thorough research to identify emerging trends and new market opportunities.
    • Evaluate the potential risks and benefits of expanding into new markets or product categories.
    • Plan for the integration of new suppliers, ensuring they meet the organization’s quality and compliance standards.
  2. Innovation in Procurement (August)
    • Explore emerging technologies such as IoT, robotics, and AI, assessing their potential impact on procurement processes.
    • Encourage the team to participate in industry workshops and seminars to stay abreast of the latest trends.
    • Pilot innovative procurement practices on a small scale before wider implementation.
  3. Strategic Sourcing Initiatives (September)
    • Reassess sourcing strategies to ensure they align with current market conditions and business objectives.
    • Develop partnerships with suppliers to foster innovation and improve supply chain sustainability.
    • Implement category management to optimize the procurement of goods and services across different categories.

Q4: October – December: Review and Future Planning

  1. Performance Review (October)
    • Analyze key performance indicators in detail, comparing them against industry benchmarks and historical data.
    • Solicit feedback from internal customers and suppliers to gain a 360-degree view of procurement performance.
    • Identify key learnings and areas of improvement to inform future strategies.
  2. Budget Planning and Forecasting (November)
    • Collaborate with finance and other departments to align procurement budgeting with overall business objectives.
    • Use predictive analytics to forecast future spending trends and procurement needs.
    • Plan for contingencies, ensuring flexibility in the face of market changes or unexpected challenges.
  3. Setting Goals for the Next Year (December)
    • Develop goals that not only focus on cost savings but also on value creation, sustainability, and innovation.
    • Plan for technology upgrades or implementations in the coming year.
    • Align procurement goals with the broader strategic objectives of the organization.

Comprehensive Checklist of Action Items:

  • Perform detailed procurement data analysis.
  • Set SMART procurement goals.
  • Develop category-specific strategies.
  • Plan and implement advanced procurement tools.
  • Conduct pilot programs for new processes.
  • Establish strong supplier relationships and management strategies.
  • Utilize SAP Ariba™ for performance tracking.
  • Engage in continuous process optimization.
  • Conduct market analysis for expansion.
  • Pilot innovative procurement practices.
  • Implement strategic sourcing and category management.
  • Conduct detailed performance reviews.
  • Align procurement budgeting with business objectives.
  • Set goals for technology upgrades and innovation.
  • Foster a culture of continuous improvement and learning.

 

By following this detailed roadmap and checklist, procurement teams can ensure a strategic, efficient, and value-driven approach throughout the year, ultimately contributing to the overall success and growth of the organization.

Competitive Sourcing in Procurement

By Procurement No Comments

Effective sourcing in procurement is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity.

For finance and procurement executives, understanding the intricacies of sourcing is crucial in ensuring a stable supply chain, mitigating risks, and ultimately achieving a competitive edge.

But what exactly is sourcing in procurement, and how does it unlock value for businesses?

Understanding Sourcing in Procurement

Sourcing is the process of finding the most suitable suppliers of goods and services for a company. It’s about balancing cost, profit margins, and competitiveness. The right supplier must offer a good enough price so that the acquiring business can make a profit margin by trading or using the product in their production process, all while considering the actions of competitors.

Although often used interchangeably, sourcing and procurement are distinct but related concepts. Sourcing involves finding, vetting, and onboarding suppliers, whereas procurement deals with the steady flow of goods through the supply chain.

The Importance of a Sourcing Strategy

In order to attain a stable supply chain, it’s important to develop a proper sourcing strategy. A sourcing strategy serves several purposes:

  1. Consolidating purchasing power: A strategic approach to sourcing allows a business to negotiate for lower unit prices through bulk purchases. This can result in higher profit margins or lower selling prices, thereby increasing the competitiveness of a company’s products.
  2. Risk mitigation: By conducting research on prospective suppliers, a company can avoid suppliers who are not a strategic fit, perhaps in terms of capacity, culture, or regulatory compliance. This can protect the company from possible disruptions arising from a supplier’s non-performance.
  3. Scouring the market for opportunities: Strategic sourcing is an ongoing process of searching the market for new opportunities. New suppliers with superior product quality, more competitive prices, or even new production technology may emerge. The role of the sourcing team is to establish contact, gather intelligence, and lay the groundwork for future contracts, helping the business stay competitive in the long term.

The Sourcing Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

The sourcing process can be broken down into seven key steps:

  1. Analysis of Internal Needs: This involves determining the goods and services the company needs to acquire, as well as how much of each item is required based on past requirements and activity growth projections.
  2. Researching the Market: The organization should research the market to find potential suppliers and their offerings. This includes considering logistical costs and the risks that arise from working with each of them.
  3. Developing the Sourcing Strategy: The company comes up with a method of determining which supplier to work with, ensuring both reasonable costs and supply chain stability.
  4. Requests for Proposals and Quotes: Once potential suppliers have been identified, the company will invite them to send in their bids to supply goods or deliver a service. These proposals need to be detailed enough for the sourcing team to assess the supplier’s capacity to deliver.
  5. Negotiating Contracts: After receiving proposals, the company will shortlist suppliers they want to work with based on an objective criterion. This often involves negotiations for adjustment of certain terms.
  6. Onboarding and Integration of the Suppliers: Once a contract is signed, the supplier undergoes a formal onboarding process, which involves setting up communication lines.
  7. Assessment of Results: Sourcing is an ongoing process, and for current suppliers, the company has to monitor their performance against predetermined standards continually. This is a critical part of supplier relationship management.

Sourcing Strategies to Consider

There are several types of sourcing strategies, including near-sourcing, insourcing, global sourcing, sub-contracting, captive service operations, manufacturing, vertical integration, and joint ventures. Each comes with its own set of benefits and challenges.

For instance, near-sourcing can save on cost and time in transportation but may require a higher initial investment. Conversely, offshoring can offer cost savings but often incurs additional time and costs in transportation.

The Power of Technology in Sourcing

The use of technology can help streamline sourcing activities. From gathering information about suppliers and sending requests for proposals to performance benchmarking and assessment, digital tools have revolutionized the sourcing and procurement process.

According to a Gartner survey, 85% of businesses have already implemented, or plan to implement, digital procurement solutions in the next two years.

 

With a proper understanding of sourcing in procurement and the use of strategic sourcing practices, finance and procurement executives can unlock significant value for their organizations.

By adopting efficient sourcing strategies and leveraging the power of technology, businesses can streamline their procurement processes, reduce costs, increase competitiveness, and ultimately drive growth.

 

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Macro Finance and Procurement

By Procurement No Comments

Macro Financial Concerns and Procurement in 2023: Are You Ready? 

The year 2023 has presented itself as a period of financial restraint, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) echoed. Global growth is forecasted to fall from 3.4 percent in 2022 to 2.8 percent in 2023, and a more pronounced slowdown in advanced economies demonstrates a tightening macro-financial landscape.  

Furthermore, the financial sector is experiencing turmoil due to high inflation and ongoing geopolitical tensions, increasing market instability. Despite central banks raising interest rates, underlying price pressures are still proving stubborn, suggesting a prolonged period of financial strain.

 

The Impact on Procurement 

These macro-financial changes are placing a new level of pressure on procurement departments. In this context, procurement’s role has evolved significantly.  

The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) outlined key procurement trends for 2023, emphasizing the need for sustainability, timely payment to suppliers, investment in technology, and talent management. 

Sustainability has become a primary concern, as customers are increasingly sensitive to ‘greenwashing’ and demand more transparency about the environmental impact of their purchases. This trend pushes organizations to ensure sustainable practices in their supply chains and avoid falling foul of regulations. 

The challenging financial environment has led to 36% of businesses extending payment terms for suppliers in the last 12 months. This contributes to a vicious cycle that impacts cash flow and liquidity, emphasizing the need for improved supplier relationships and strategic payment practices. 

Investment in procurement technology solutions is also growing. Companies are seeking more consumer-like, intuitively designed, and agile solutions to improve efficiencies and work with leaner staff. 

Finally, with the predicted economic environment, there’s a new urgency to fostering a company culture and strategic problem-solving to attract and retain talent​3 

 

Navigating Economic Uncertainty with SAP Ariba 

As predicted by the IMF, the global economic outlook for 2023 presents a complex landscape characterized by financial sector turmoil, high inflation, geopolitical uncertainties, and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In such an environment, businesses need robust, flexible, and intelligent tools to navigate the choppy waters of global commerce. 

With its comprehensive suite of solutions, SAP Ariba is perfectly positioned to help businesses adapt and thrive in these uncertain times. Its intelligent sourcing tool, for instance, allows companies to identify savings opportunities and assess market dynamics, giving them a competitive edge even in challenging conditions.  

As inflation remains high, the ability to efficiently source and manage direct and indirect goods or services within a single platform becomes a crucial advantage, allowing businesses to reduce their time, effort, and risk associated with sourcing events. 

 

Aligning with Sustainability Trends 

Sustainability is no longer a niche concern; it’s a core business priority. Businesses are increasingly under pressure to demonstrate that their operations and supply chains are sustainable to meet regulatory requirements and appeal to increasingly eco-conscious consumers. 

SAP Ariba’s Supplier Management tool can be a crucial asset. It provides comprehensive tools to help buyers onboard, qualify, segment, and manage supplier performance according to parameters that matter to them. This means businesses can drive spending towards preferred, sustainable suppliers, reduce overall risk, and ensure compliance across their entire supply base. In doing so, companies can turn sustainability from a challenge into an opportunity, bolstering their reputation and gaining a competitive advantage. 

 

Embracing Technology for Greater Efficiency 

SAP Ariba is at the forefront of the trend toward increased investment in procurement technology. Its suite of solutions embodies a consumer-like, intuitively designed, and agile approach that can significantly improve business efficiencies. For example, the SAP Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration tool automates the direct procurement lifecycle, reducing reliance on emails and spreadsheets, shortening cycle times, and increasing productivity. 

SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing further streamlines the indirect goods and services procurement process. Automating and regulating the management of the entire procurement process helps business leaders eliminate errors and exceptions, manage more spending with less effort, maximize savings and profit margins, and respond flexibly and swiftly to changing demands. 

 

Winning the Talent War 

In the predicted economic environment, fostering a strong company culture and attracting the right talent will become even more essential. SAP Ariba’s user-friendly, intuitive design is crucial in this regard. It makes procurement tasks more engaging and less cumbersome, improving employee satisfaction and retention. 

Furthermore, the Guided Buying feature of SAP Ariba makes the procurement process more intuitive and compliant, making it easier for employees to adhere to procurement policies and procedures. This enhances the effectiveness of procurement teams, freeing them to focus on strategic problem-solving and relationship management, which are crucial skills in the modern, complex business environment. 

In conclusion, SAP Ariba is a powerful tool that can help businesses navigate the challenging economic conditions predicted for 2023, align their operations with key procurement trends, and drive significant efficiency and cost savings. By leveraging its comprehensive suite of solutions, businesses can position themselves to survive and thrive in the uncertain times ahead. 

 

In a time of financial restraint and uncertainty, organizations must leverage tools and strategies to help them navigate these challenges. Armed with solutions like SAP Ariba, procurement departments can play a pivotal role in driving cost savings and efficiencies. The time for organizations to act is now – to survive in the current financial climate and thrive in the years to come. 

 

The Future of Work: Women in Procurement

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The past 22-months have dramatically altered both how and where we work. And women have been disproportionately affected.

How will this change as we begin to emerge from the pandemic? How can we build a networked economy and create new opportunities for women?

Join Dawn Tiura, President & CEO of the Sourcing Industry Group, in conversation with Marisol Buczynski Buchanan, President & CEO of Premikati, and Elizabeth Lizotte-Brown, Sr Director for Channel Partnerships, The Mom Project, for a discussion on these topics and their perspectives.

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