How to Handle the Purchasing Needs of Remote Employees

The sudden transition to remote working due to the pandemic has presented many challenges. A year later and with the possibility of remote working becoming the norm, organizations are faced with the task of ensuring that employees can get what they need to work with no disruption. This needs to be easy and efficient while still controlling costs.

For example:
  • How are employees buying office supplies or equipment?
  • Are they purchasing it and claiming back through expenses?
  • Or do you provide a way for them to purchase what they need?
  • Is it a manual process with a lot of back-and-forth emails for review and approvals?
This is actually a huge opportunity for Finance and Procurement to improve, streamline, and digitize their processes and start thinking about solutions that support the remote workforce.  A modern eProcurement solution, with updated remote worker policies, can make it easier not only for Finance and Procurement professionals but for employees who regularly buy office supplies or need services.

Here are five tips that you can take right now to start supporting remote employees, while also making your job a lot easier:
  • “Don’t leave money on the table” by missing discounts. You’ve most likely already negotiated contracts that included extensive work setting up. Communicate to the wider team that you already have a discounted contract in place for them to purchase goods and services. This is an easy cost-savings exercise that requires a simple email or better yet by making those contracts visible in a platform that all buyers have access to.
  • Purchase from approved suppliers. Give remote employees an eCommerce shopping experience via your procurement solution. Present different catalogs that have been approved so they can easily browse and search for what they need and within a few clicks, approval is done, and the shipment is on its way.  
  • Provide quick approval. Timeliness is crucial. Those purchase requests and purchase orders can be approved immediately if you have automated workflows set up based on your policies in place. Don’t make it hard for approvals to happen as this is when workarounds take over, and rogue spending takes place.  
  • Enable quick purchasing. Whenever possible, expedite the purchasing of equipment or supplies such as laptops and monitors, and prioritize the development of new processes. By implementing procurement procedures, you can help ensure there are no PO bottlenecks. This limits employees from purchasing at will.
  • Stay on budget. Providing all of the above helps your Finance and Procurement teams to stay on budget. With the appropriate purchasing solution you’ll have access to real-time and accurate insights into spend for full visibility and forecasting when deciding what essential goods and services are needed now and in the future.
This is an unprecedented time, but with disruption comes the opportunity for great change. Now is the time to transform your processes and choose solutions that fit in with the new way we are doing business. Contact us for more.