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Sustainable Procurement

Competitive Sourcing in Procurement

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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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Ariba Snap procurement implementation

Procurement with a Purpose – SNAP! Implementation

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Marisol Buchanan, CEO of Premikati, Inc., had the pleasure to speak in NYC at SAP Ariba’s Business with a Purpose Summit – along with Step Up for Students (SUFS) COO, Anne White.  The challenges faced by SUFS and and solutions of implementing SAP Ariba’s Guided Buying and SNAP! tools are highlighted below.

The Problem

At a high level, Premikati had been tasked with giving parents and guardians access to their children’s scholarship funds AND providing easy access to the things they are allowed to buy including tuition, provider services and school supplies.

If we asked to partner on this project a few years ago it would have been very difficult from a change management perspective and we would not have recommended Ariba due to the complexity and all of the massive capabilities of the software, which is a good thing for large corporations but rather confusing for a basic consumer who may not even know what the word “Procurement” or “advance ship notice means”.

The Solution

Now, through the innovations made by SAP Ariba to the user interface and adding Guided Buying, along with the simplicity of SAP Ariba SNAP!, the implementation end user training has been drastically simplified.

This is imperative considering the landscape of the situation:

We have:

  • 100,000 families
  • not using corporate devices with standard operating systems
  • limited access to email
  • low user experience with business support technology like WebEx for training
  • multiple languages
  • many families with multiple children
  • 2000 schools which now are “Suppliers” who have limited experience with “e-Invoicing”

With this said, Premikati, Inc. has developed a robust and creative Change Management Strategy.  In addition to standard business communication vehicles, we are leveraging social platforms such as text messaging, YouTube, Facebook and twitter to engage and interact with these families in a way that easy and common for them.

So, essentially, we are taking complex procurement technology and best in class business processes and applying them in a way to make a positive impact on families, because that is what really matters.  That is truly procurement with purpose.

Premikati inc, SAP Gold PArtner

Why Procurement is the Best Job in the World

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When you pass someone on the street and mention procurement as a career, you’re likely to get blank stares and maybe even snores from the uninitiated. In reality though, procurement professionals have a whole host of opportunities to find joy and gratitude in their jobs as well as chances to make a real difference in the world. What makes this job so great? 

Friends In High Places… And All Places

When you’re in procurement, you’re constantly talking to people both in and outside of your company. You have the opportunity to form connections with suppliers all over the world (which can, in turSAP Procurement Softwaren, lead to even more opportunities) as well as folks from all manner of department within your own company. Procurement pros regularly interface with marketing, finance, PR, and everybody in between. If you play your cards right, this can result in real, meaningful interpersonal relationships just as it can career opportunities.

The Coolest Tech in the World

Procurement and technology go together like peanut butter and jelly. Especially at top, enterprise-level companies, the technology utilized in procurement departments can be staggering. Even in small and mid-sized businesses, though, it’s likely you’ll get to work with cool new tech like artificial intelligence and predictive analytics. This type of tech can be used for things like accurate supply and demand planning.

The Nomad Life If You Want It

Procurements pros can go literally anywhere if they’re good at their jobs. Have you always wanted to take the plunge and move to Costa Rica? France? Cambodia? There will be jobs ready and waiting to utilize your skills. Additionally, as with many other professions, lots of procurement workers are opting for the remote-work route, letting them work from coffee shops and shared workspaces in a new city every day of the week.

Life-Saving Superheroes

From avoiding environmental catastrophes brought on by poor human ethics to providing aid in the event of national disasters, procurement professionals are in the lineup to help save the world. In procurement, you get to help decide to utilize sustainable, environmentally- and socially-healthy suppliers over the ones who cut corners, pollute the planet, and take advantage of people through forced labor and other similarly heinous actions.

In the same vein, procurement pros step in too when humanitarian aid is needed, like in the event of hurricanes in Haiti.

Job Makers

We all know someone who has been passing resumes to everyone who will stop long enough to take one, but who still doesn’t have a job. It’s just the state of the economy sometimes, when skills and job openings don’t align, or the money simply isn’t there. By working in procurement, you get to help create jobs, allowing more people to sustain themselves and their families. In procurement, you impact business at a core level, opening opportunities to create more, sustainable, dignified jobs for the people who are happy to fill them.

Make Money, Spend Money

The name of the game in procurement is to spend other people’s money. You get the opportunity to learn all sorts of tactics for managing money, saving, budgeting, etc.—skills that can carry over to your personal financial life as well.

Speaking of personal finance, this is a job after all. In procurement, you can expect to get paid with some reliability and have a reasonable amount of job security. Luckily, procurement pros also tend to see decent raises and a growth in their value over time as they learn new skills—they may be less likely to stagnate on the income scale compared to other professions. And, with all your procurement skills, you’ll know how to negotiate and manage your money to get every bit of value out of each dollar you earn.

Are you a procurement professional who loves your job? Do you want to connect with suppliers who will make your day even brighter all the while getting great deals on the purchases you make for your business? Check out the rest of Premikati site!

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