Three ways to make your procurement more agile

posted by Richard Hogg
2 December 2019

Artificial intelligence, smart assistants, and predictive analytics are all transforming procurement. These tools can help you automate end-to-end processes, save time, and improve accuracy.

Technology can also increase your agility, allowing you to respond more quickly to changing business needs. Yet despite these benefits, only 2% of supply chain management professionals say they have fully automated processes.

Almost a fifth still rely on fax and paper. In fact, only half of those Jaggaer surveyed say they have up-to-date digital knowledge.

There’s no doubt it’s hard to keep up with new technology, especially when budgets are tight. So how can your team overcome financial constraints and become more agile?

Here are three ways towards agile procurement:

1. Make a stronger case to the c-suite about the value of procurement. Our survey showed the biggest barrier to digital progress is lack of budget. Your team can’t deliver the value that digital transformation promises without resources. That’s why you need to prove to company leadership that the return on investment far outweighs the cost.

The right technology will help your team directly improve customer service by changing how the organisation integrates and delivers products and services. In an era of hyper-personalisation and convenience, your company needs the creative solutions your team can offer.

2. Integrate, integrate, integrate. 94% of those we surveyed said data integration is challenging. Too many procurement teams store data in silos, which leads to conflicting information. That’s why you need a system that automates data collection across the full spectrum from analysis to source-to-pay. That data should be accessible in one central place; then it can be used to make better decisions at every level of the business.

3. Recruit staff who understand data, IT, and analytics, or up-skill the people in your team to gain these crucial tech skills. With routine procurement tasks automated, your team will have more time to spend on areas that deliver greater value to the business.

Training and recruiting might seem expensive. The good news is that companies with automated digital processes see a 21% reduction in labour costs and 29% fewer full-time staff costs, according to a 2018 Hackett Group study.

Ultimately, using new technology isn’t just about automating decade-old processes, it’s an opportunity to show how valuable your team can be to the business.

☛ Richard Hogg is managing director at spend management firm and software provider Jaggaer.

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