A company looking to diversify and grow invariably needs deployment of technology across functions and procurement is no exception. Strategic areas like demand management, inventory risk management, value engineering, quality/service level management, commodity management and integrated demand or supply planning needs to be complemented by modern technological frameworks.
By launching procurement transformation as key projects, businesses can evaluate and analyse procurement activities holistically in order to build the capacity and ensure timely availability of input materials and supplies.
These measures can help mend the differences between supply chain and procurement. This will eventually prove to be advantageous for companies that have complex service categories that emphasise on good vendor management tools, marketing spend or enable lifecycle management of departments like IT, print and telecom or software. The application of right set of technologies will help service categories that focus on non-purchase order spend predominates.
Considering the convergence aspects of a company, namely business networks and technology, they will operate as a global network and not as just sole categories of vendor brand or supply market orientation. The emphasis will be on building shared infrastructure and business platforms to help software companies, suppliers as well as third parties to build niche applications or apps. The data from these apps will be gauged from social, cloud, advanced mobility and analytics and then be employed to make the procurement process easier for companies and help them manage spends better.
Technology holds the key to a company’s administrative and future business predictions. It enables companies to stand up for their vision in compliance with the local laws and regulations, changes in the country’s inbound supply activities or tax regulations. It helps companies to make decisions that stem from a technological perspective while considering the legal as well as administrative climate of the country. Turning big data into smart and useful data can save a lot of manpower as well as help companies make unique decisions that can help them build a niche and a brand value in the market. Procurement organisations can use the data to effectively drive engagement and supplier management.
The real work starts when simple data is interpreted and employed to enable organisations hit the right notes. The combination of right sets of data with clear insights can help the company in the broader areas like interests, supply chain topics, risks and opportunities in procurement initiatives. Integrated management business processes like Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP), inventory and working capital decisions will stand to gain and blurry the lines between operations and procurement.
In order to realise the true potential that technology holds by the benchmark year 2020, procurement leadership and technical teams need to reach out to IT more. All this will require companies to open up to process-oriented applications such as supplier management for compliance and tracking, link front-end analytics with supplier and user self-service such as portal frameworks or working on integrating internal systems in to conventional MRP and supply chain planning. Procurement leaders need to take a pro-active approach and need to decide the plan of action well supported by technological deployment. The process should not and must not be the other way round.