What’s the Role of Technology in Procurement?

{authorName}

Emily NewtonEditor-in-Chief at Revolutionized

Friday, February 17, 2023

Analyzing demand, budgeting and supplier research are only a few aspects of the procurement process. It was long dominated by paper-and-pen methods, slowly adapting to technological improvements to streamline operations.

Article 5 Minutes
What’s the Role of Technology in Procurement?

The role of technology in procurement becomes more relevant as companies embrace its usefulness. Tech can execute tasks like budgeting, ordering and handling communications. Businesses that maximize these benefits will notice higher profit margins and productivity for a more prominent competitive advantage.

Using technology for procurement departments

Imagine using frequently updated and improved programs instead of technology that’s hard to boot and several decades old. Options exist for modernizing teams with specific or generalized goals.

Cloud access is the most notable item procurement teams want. Technology with cloud functionality allows remote teams and international correspondents to connect immediately, and changes upload in a flash. Providing cloud access is simple across organizations. It lets companies update and organize procedural documents, evaluate technological permissions, and reduce hardware and software expenses.

It also increases process automation — a technological necessity for almost every sector in the modern age. Internet of Things (IoT) technology or AI assistance could raise the value of existing procurement technologies. Some options include:

  • OneTrust
  • Gatekeeper
  • Ecovadis
  • Procurify
  • HICX

There are systems for more niche procurement facets, like data governance or more generalized hubs for more comprehensive views.

Consolidating and streamlining app stacks

App stacks are a bane among companies attempting to over-optimize their technological incorporation. Procurement departments may use multiple outdated technologies, wasting time and resources flipping through websites for each supplier or Microsoft Office documents of receipts, records and budgets. These programs are antiquated and don’t provide as much insight into the procurement process as new technology can.

Bringing every data point into one location allows businesses to operate within one ecosystem, seeing spending data, inventory stores and negotiation progress without app fatigue. Modern interfaces and reliable updates promise higher cybersecurity and newer functionalities as developers improve the procurement program over time.

Technology in procurement isn’t about accumulating as much as available — it’s about refining the least amount to the most significant advantage.

Expanding knowledge and process discovery

The benefit of centralized information means every team decision becomes more well-informed. The app consolidation is a boon. However, exposure to real-time analytics and data updates from internal teams and external suppliers allows companies to make financing choices and draft contract proposals more wisely.

Perpetual analytics access will continually inform companies of their bottom line’s health. It will show the company’s wasted resources and where budget cuts can occur. It could outline productivity metrics, showing areas where training can improve or what procurement teams should phase out for potentially more diverse or reliable options. Risk management has never been more straightforward.

Knowledge like this puts businesses ahead, especially in the international market. It’s easy to shuffle through currencies, time zones, contracts and compliances in multiple languages if a program handles the administration.

Additionally, having a more knowledgeable team grants insights into more organic process discovery. eProcurement technology can highlight areas that consistently exceed budgets or what suppliers always need to meet expectations. It may become a focal point of the team to create workflow standards or attempt to eliminate unnecessary process steps. Procurement technology could reveal these needs and assist with completing them.

The technology can expedite process improvement shifts from nothing except a willingness to adopt procurement technology.

Increasing efficiency and responsiveness

Companies can accomplish more if they don’t have to rely on workers to remember every step and nuance. Procurement technology can prompt employees to submit invoices or respond to direct messages from suppliers. Technology is more than just software — physical assets like advanced labels allow for more efficient and accurate inventory management.

These tasks exemplify how technology in procurement improves efficiency by reducing human error and wasted time. It expands communications, ensuring exceptional responsiveness and accountability from everyone in the procurement process.

Every benefit of technology in procurement adds up to one central role — increased productivity. Allowing technology to automate processes or be an option for delegating responsibilities opens staff for more high-impact assignments that technology can’t do. Workers can focus on oversight alongside creative ideation and enacting process discovery improvements. Even if there is a time-sensitive task, combining a less-stressed workforce and technology can tend to it efficiently.

Technology in procurement shines when it comes to compliance. Developers embed templates into these systems to review processes, ensuring multi-region compatibility and prompt updates when required. It can also inform procurement teams what suppliers are compliant, assisting with bid insight — teams will know where to place their trust. Departments will see the status of signed contracts and bid arrangements.

Responsiveness — or lack thereof — allows procurement to develop B2B trust, bolstering the industry’s success by increasing the value of these relationships.

Solidifying ESG and CSR goals

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives stem from customer and government pressure. Every sector and department, including procurement, must focus more on sustainability and social impact.

Technology in procurement allows companies to align with their ESG and CSR obligations more instinctively. Programs analyze suppliers based on their commitments to the environment or social good. They can discover more diverse suppliers or small-business outfits to support local economies or empower marginalized demographics.

Learn more: What is ESG? Environment, Social and Governance 101

Some programs even analyze suppliers for certifications and qualifications. The software can verify if a company meets the requirements for a preferred third-party certification or if it has contrarian values.

Analyses like this prevent contentious B2B relationships. Company profiles provide more holistic pictures of operational standards and priorities. Departments can find perfect supplier matches early on instead of dissolving the agreement years into an arrangement because the procurement team wasn’t aware a supplier didn’t meet their standards.

Technology in procurement will revolutionize acquisitions

Antiquated Microsoft Word documents preventing companies from real-time collaboration are dying in the sector. Every communication sends at instantaneous speeds, automated negotiations shave hours off meetings and regulatory standards are embedded into purchasing technology.

Technology in procurement saves everyone time, including competing bidders and in-house staff. Increasing demands for almost every product — while attempting to accommodate raw material and supply chain shortages — make every time-saving technology essential for success.

Emily Newton

Editor-in-Chief at Revolutionized

revolutionized.com/

Emily is a tech and industrial journalist with over four years of experience writing articles for the industrial sector. She’s Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, an online publication exploring innovations in manufacturing, technology and science. 

Comments

Join the conversation...