The IT industry is extremely fast-paced with multiple new products and technologies entering the market at any given time. A current trend is seeing technology development for adoption by consumers first and business second. Indeed, Bring Your Own Device is seeing business users bringing their own consumer devices into work for desktop use. This is becoming more prevalent as today’s employees blur the lines between devices used for work versus personal consumption.
The pressure is on procurement teams to strike a balance between securing equipment at the best possible price while ensuring that their investments meet the demands of a modern tech savvy workforce.
Here at KnowledgeBus, we’ve put together our top three tips for IT buyers and procurement teams looking to deliver best value.
1) Learn to navigate a three-tiered global supply chain
Achieving the best price is made even more difficult when buyers are faced with a three-tiered supply chain – from the manufacturer to the distributor to the reseller. These stages can have a knock-on effect on everything from delivery times – including air mail and/or sea transport when dispatching products overseas, for example – to availability of stock. Gaining a greater understanding of the process that IT products go through from development to delivery will provide IT buying teams with greater insight into where incremental costs are occurring and whether there are any opportunities to make savings or negotiate price rises down.
2) Keep up with advances in technology
Advances in technology are an important element to factor in, with industry giants often setting the bar when it comes to driving innovation. It’s key that procurement teams tap in to current and future market trends to identify devices that will become business critical – as well as those that a workforce can live without. Understanding that the technology market is driven by vociferous new product introductions and short product lifecycles also indicates how and when is best to procure for best value. It also means procurers can police suppliers who might enjoy offering inflated margins as a product price naturally goes into decline as the technology ages.
3) Use impartial and reliable information to beat a volatile market
Procurement teams in business often turn to search engines to obtain in-depth information about product prices and stock for benchmarking purposes. Not only is this hugely time-consuming, it’s also inconsistent as a long-term strategy, with information rarely validated as trade level data that often becomes dated in a matter of days, if not hours.
To keep pace with the hugely volatile and complex dynamics of product pricing and stock movement there are more sophisticated methods that companies can use for real-time insight. By using benchmarking tools that automatically compare against supply chain data, procurement teams can establish strategic buying times and what margin their suppliers are proposing. This means knowledge to negotiate better deals with suppliers and more informed purchasing.
☛ Al Nagar is head of benchmarking at KnowledgeBus.