Strategic Procurement: Three Quick Wins that People Want Most

Ashley Ridsdale
Ashley Ridsdale,
Do you see strategic procurement like a fiendishly-complex Rubik's Cube — with too many moving parts to handle and master? If so, you're probably not alone. But don't give up. 
As we discussed in our recent blog 'Are you still on the dark side?', strategic procurement is something you cannot crack on your own. It requires a Finance/Procurement alliance that's led from the top. Chief Finance Officers must use their influence and join forces with their colleagues in Procurement. Unless all the parts are moving in harmony, nothing much works at all.

Unfortunately, the Impact of Strategic Procurement 2017 Survey found that this kind of close co-operation is lacking in around half of global enterprises, national companies, public sector agencies and not-for-profit organisations.

But what are the incentives for getting it right – and what are the returns you'd see soonest?

Look but don't touch
Although many organisations admit they're a long way from mastering strategic procurement, they can see the business benefits glinting in the light – tantalisingly close, but just out of reach.  

Research found that almost 80% of organisations could recognise untapped opportunities for maximising efficiency through strategic procurement. In fact, 61% could see 'many' possibilities ahead of them. So where are those quick wins to be found?

Respondents were asked to select their best opportunity for realising rapid and direct cost savings through strategic procurement. From the choices presented, here's how people voted:

#1st place: Supplier agreement savings
Almost two thirds of organisations (62%) reckoned that quick wins could be achieved by reducing purchasing costs from improved supplier agreements and the greater use of those contracts.

People's instincts are correct because strategic procurement can deliver the answers. Reducing purchasing costs from improved supplier agreements can be achieved by avoiding bad sourcing processes and replacing them with state-of-the-art eSourcing that combines the right tools and expertise.

But savings cannot be realised unless new contracts are used to full effect, by following strategic procurement principles. Put simply, a contract is only as good as the way it's managed up and down the line. Neglected supplier agreements have a nasty habit of biting back but you can succeed by following effective ways to ensure contracts always deliver on their promises.

#2nd place: Improved analytical capabilities   
Almost one third of respondents (29%) had their eye on savings derived from improved analytical capabilities. When strategic procurement is functioning properly, you can start to get those elusive business-critical insights. Then, with the right information, you can make the key decisions to sharpen up your sourcing, mitigate risk, improve processes and drive up efficiency. For more details, take a look at how to get effective spend analysis.

#3rd place: Accounts Payable employee savings
Without the right processes, Accounts Payable staff can find themselves at the sharp end – branded as a bottleneck, criticised by suppliers and colleagues. But when strategic procurement starts to get all the parts moving and the right tools are added, then efficiency opportunities will start to ripple through an organisation. Suddenly, AP has the ability to win three vital battles and staff can switch onto more value-added activities.

Want quick wins? Get your copy of the report here
Take a closer look at how strategic procurement can benefit your organisation. Get your copy of the 2017 survey here. The report asks nine revealing questions and finishes with five vital steps to follow. See why the issues matters to you and how they impact your bottom-line.