As businesses return to a form of normal operations, executive teams are reviewing the last 12 months to understand what went well and where opportunities for improvement may lie. Technology played a critical role for most corporations, as they moved away from offices to home-based operations. Technology will play a critical role moving forward as these companies adapt to the changing environment.
For procurement teams, their review may uncover issues not only related to the pandemic but also technology challenges that can be addressed by leveraging more user-friendly, intuitive purchasing systems. If your procurement organization is struggling with any combination of the following issues, it may be time to add a digital transformation to your 2021 plans.
High Level of Off-Contract Spend
One of the clearest indicators of opportunities in the procurement process is a high level of purchases being made with non-contract suppliers. There are several reasons why this is happening. As the procurement team researches the issue, they will likely uncover that the users are struggling to make purchases through the existing technology, and choosing to make purchases another way - perhaps via P-card - outside of the purchasing system. Another scenario could be that the purchasing process starts in the system, but “punches out” to the supplier’s website, where the user selects a non-contract product.
Geographically Dispersed Buyers
Managing a geographically dispersed user group is extremely complex in most circumstances. Users face unique challenges related to their location and may forgo using complex purchasing technologies for the sake of expediency in purchasing. A cumbersome, complicated buying experience is difficult to enforce across time zones and geographies.
Certain industries struggle with high employee turnover. While not necessarily a procurement issue, the procurement team needs to provide purchasing technology and processes that account for users who lack the luxury to attend detailed training sessions on the use of the purchasing system. With new staff regularly taking on the buying role, a complex technology will have low adoption.
Empowered Local Buyers Purchasing Out of the System
Certain distributed businesses benefit from strong, empowered local branches, divisions or franchises. At the height of the pandemic, for example, decisions using local expertise and relationships helped businesses ensure available supply of items difficult to find at a global level. For local managers, buying may be a minor aspect of their broader responsibilities. A complex process for buying goods will drive these users to find other ways to acquire what they need.
User Feedback Indicating an Onerous System
Leading procurement organizations actively engage their user community to better understand the needs of the casual buyer and how processes can be improved. Working closely with internal user groups may uncover that the challenge is an overly complicated purchasing process.
A Solution: BuyerQuest Procure-to-Pay
Designed with the end-user in mind, the BuyerQuest Procure-to-Pay Platform addresses the challenges of buying in traditional business to business technology. With a B2C like interface, users can, with little or no training, find the products they need, add them to a shopping cart, and begin the purchasing approval process. This ensures high levels of user adoption, leading to more on-contract spend and greater savings.