As commerce has gone global, so has the supply chain that supports the system. This has created both challenges and opportunities for procurement professionals.
The complexity of today’s cross-border commerce has put those companies that haven’t automated their processes at a distinct disadvantage. In a recent article in Supply Chain Digital, Reggie Peterson, Director of Indirect Products for AmeriQuest Business Services reveals the four key global procurement trends challenging businesses in 2017 and some tips on how to deal with those challenges.
Trend #1: Supply Chain Digitization – With so many suppliers in so many countries, the ability to maintain control over all transactions is nearly impossible when relying on manual and paper-based processes. This new world requires integration of the entire end-to-end payables process. Digitizing and automating the process streamlines the relationship between buyer and seller and simplifies the order-to-cash continuum.
Tip #1: Seek out procurement providers with solutions that are flexible, scalable, and add value.
Trend #2: Enhanced Data Reporting and Analysis – Using data within the payables cycle, executives from CEO to CFO to CPO can make decisions based on actionable intelligence rather than guesstimates. Enhanced reporting helps maintain system-level controls and that can result in “decreased risk from security breaches, compliance failures, and potential fraud.”
Tip #2: Look for procurement solutions that provide complete real-time visibility into spend.
Trend #3: Enterprise-wide Education around Procurement – Although controls are often in place when it comes to direct spend, the same is not true for indirect spend which is too often decentralized. It is absolutely essential that policy is clear and is adhered to throughout the organization. A digitized procurement solution enables, encourages, and enforces company-wide compliance.
Tip #3: Make sure the procurement solution you choose includes access to in-house procurement experts.
Trend #4: Collaboration – Never has the need for close collaboration between departments been more important. Silos must be discouraged and the barriers between procurement, accounts payable and accounts receivable must be broken down. The data that all stakeholders share will give procurement valuable information that can then be used to make “more strategic decisions regarding product expansion, inventory capacity, choice of suppliers, and more.”
Tip #4: Any solution you choose must have and integrated system with a holistic approach to the entire procurement process.
It is vital that the solution you choose meets the specific needs of your organization since procurement programs are not a one-size-fits-all function of business.
For more detailed information, read the full article and to learn more about controlling your indirect spend, download Reggie’s white paper, “Defeating Dark Purchasing: Take Back Control with a Strategic, Digital Approach to Procurement.”