Written by: Mike Edmunds
Posted on: 30/05/23
The Dynamic Role of Software in Collaborative Procurement
How are you leveraging collaboration to benefit your everyday working practise? In past articles I’ve discussed the benefits of different changes and updates in order to drive further success for your company – but how do you bring it all together? Let’s explore.
Working in procurement, building and maintaining professional relationships is part and parcel of the role, so ingrained you likely don’t even consciously have to think about it. How effectively you can do this is often the deciding factor of success; after all, it takes a village.
Therefore, accepting sub-par methods of communication and collaboration, and allowing these to negatively impact your process and consequently your company’s success, simply doesn’t make sense. Without a foundation of collaborative process, everything thereafter becomes less stable, more time consuming, and harder work.
Collaboration can be seen in many forms. It is an infinitely personal approach, and it likely looks different depending on who you are collaborating with and what the ultimate goal of the collaboration is. Between a buyer and a supplier, for instance, collaboration is also negotiation. Both parties are seeking assurance that their time is being considered and appreciated, that their hard work will be recognised and rewarded duly. The price, quantity, and timing of the product in question are superfluous and transient – what counts is the relationship being forged. Mutual respect and visibility are key while information is being traded.
Collaboration is also seen between suppliers and stakeholders in internal departments. These stakeholders dictate the requirements and expectations of the supplier beyond price, considering points such as environmental ratings, product quality, and social policies in-keeping with ESG. Certain needs must be met in order to ascertain that your own company is upholding standards across the business, and effective collaboration eases the pathway to success in this mission.
Collaboration between senior stakeholders and procurement is paramount. Stakeholders have a unique perspective and oversight over the business, and this insight identifies and creates the drivers for the business. More specifically, this oversight informs the procurement team of their targets and goals to keep in mind while they are, in turn, collaborating with the suppliers in question. It is crucial, therefore, that solid and trusting collaboration exists between these two factors in order to nurture success.
Collaboration also exists in less direct forms. When speaking digitally, or for businesses undergoing digital transformation, the expectation can be one of instant, no-effort results. This is rarely the case. A digital transformation, or the implementation of SaaS, is no guarantee of improvement without continuous endeavours and commitment from all concerned parties to support the change. While this can appear like more work than it is worth, it is merely a matter of shifting perspective to shed more positive light on the process. This is an opportunity for self-assessment and reflection of the processes you currently adhere to, and an occasion to embrace change for the benefit of your everyday professional life. The advantages exist, believe me.
In fact, it is only once you have implemented the digital transformation that the next instance of collaboration becomes evident. As much as digital solutions tout collaboration between persons of interest within the company as one of their key benefits, the software itself collaborates as well, if it is clever enough to. Some software offers integrational APIs, which streamline the process of collecting accreditation information from official sources. This information is then consolidated against the supplier and stored securely for review. It can even notify concerned parties when the information is due to go out of date. All of this is reducing the number of tasks on your to-do list, streamlining your performance to allow you more time to work effectively towards more rewarding tasks.
I would encourage the sceptics among you to embrace the potential of a digital solution as a means of improving collaboration. You may not give much active thought to the process, but the impact of effective collaboration is extensive, rippling throughout a business in order to nurture a success-driven environment in which great achievements can be accomplished. It is as much a mindset, a determination, as it is a phenomenon to be assisted through external assets like technology and software. Whichever avenue you choose to follow, my personal recommendation would be to place collaboration at the heart of your process in order to ensure full visibility across the spectrum of your business, thus smoothing the pathway to success.
On the 13th of July at 2pm BST, I hosted a webinar featuring Jeffrey Rajamani as a guest speaker entitled ‘How can you Source a Sustainable and Ethical Supply Chain?’. I touched on points not mentioned in this article, so it is definitely worth watching the replay if any of what I have said resonates with you, or even just vaguely interests you.