Best-in-class Procurement Tech

Published Oct 12, 2023

What Technologies Best Support Procurement Optimisation?

The previous article in our ‘Moving From Purchasing Thinking to Procurement Thinking’ series explored the benefits of digitalisation and automation for procurement optimisation.

This article will take things one step further, revealing the specific technologies that support best-in-class procurement.

The current manufacturing and supply chain climate demands more of businesses — what was enough yesterday will not suffice tomorrow. To compete with industry leaders, organisations must leverage the strategic potential of every business function, procurement included.

Anyone who works in procurement understands that it does not operate in a silo. Instead, it is an integral part of a company that involves operations, finance, logistics management, supply chain, and vendor relationships. Procurement thinkers know digital technology is key to unlocking mutual benefits from these business areas while mitigating ongoing external risks, such as rising inflation.

That’s not all. Technology can enhance operational and procurement process efficiency while lowering costs. It can empower resilience through data collection and analysis, giving decision-makers access to a wealth of practical insights that shape best-practice management and ultimately pave the way to sustainable growth.

In this article, we will discuss the digital technologies available that support procurement optimisation. But first, how do you know if your existing software solution is enough? Or whether it’s in need of an overhaul? Let’s find out.

Signs Your Current Business Software Solution Needs a Makeover

Selecting the right business software solution is vital for building a lasting competitive advantage in today’s rapidly changing business environment. However, not all solutions are created equal. What may have seemed like the right choice for your organisation may no longer deliver the increased efficiency and improved profitability you need to achieve a positive return on investment (ROI). 

Think about it this way: As businesses evolve and grow, their software requirements change. Like an old pair of shoes, the software doesn’t fit anymore. It causes tension in all the wrong places and provides inadequate support for optimal performance. Worse yet, you’ve changed your running technique. Your old faithfuls are simply built for a different kind of movement. With a new pair tailored to your specific needs, you can run further, race faster, and outpace your competition. 

It’s about more than just fit too. Technology moves fast, whether that means new lightweight materials for running shoes or more advanced capabilities in software solutions. What was cutting-edge five or ten years ago is lightyears behind the top tech today. If you are not regularly assessing your software solution to ensure it meets your current and future business needs, you are undoubtedly missing out. 

Of course, determining whether your existing software is enough to enable your business to reach its potential isn’t always cut and dry. It’s a complex and nuanced process. To help you unravel the variables and gain clarity on where you stand, here are three of the most common signs to watch out for, according to the 2022 Epicor Industry Insights Report: 

  • You need better functionality. Your existing software’s functionality is limiting your business capability. You find yourself dreaming of new features or experimenting with convoluted workarounds to optimise your processes, streamline your workflows, and improve productivity — even marginally. For example, you might have fallen into the habit of making assumptions using the limited data you have, only wishing you knew for sure whether your guesses are accurate. 
  • You’re facing significant integration challenges. Your existing software cannot connect or communicate with other devices and solutions. Or it can connect, but communication is restricted. You cannot access real-time data, track inventory, or manage customer relationships effectively. Your data differs between systems thanks to a mix of monitoring inaccuracies and human error, and you’re unsure which figures to trust. 
  • You’re searching for more competitive pricing. Your existing software is a significant expense that fails to deliver a meaningful ROI. Your business needs a solution with a more competitive (and, ideally, scalable) pricing model so that you can dedicate more resources to other mission-critical areas. 

How Does an ERP Solution Optimise Procurement? 

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is a powerful solution that consolidates various parts of a business into a single secure and centralised platform. It provides unparalleled visibility into business operations, enabling companies to achieve their DIFOTQ targets, reduce waste, and empower their employees. 

By integrating financial, supply chain management, planning, customer relationship management (CRM), product management, project management, business intelligence, and analytics capabilities, ERP software creates a seamless, all-in-one system that streamlines operations, improves decision-making, and enhances business performance. 

When it comes to procurement, an ERP must provide end-to-end support, enabling procurement teams to save time and costs across all steps in the process. Crucially, it must allow the essential convergence of procurement and supply chain. This is a big ask, and software solutions in the past have failed. 

But now, accelerated innovation has resulted in software that seamlessly integrates ERP and procurement software. This advancement is huge news for procurement thinkers who acknowledge procurement as a core business function. An ERP system adapted for tighter operational control through advanced requisition management awards procurement leaders and decision-makers greater flexibility in purchase management and significant efficiencies in their procure-to-pay process. 

In addition, cohesive and unified procurement and ERP software ensures seamless requisition management and efficient workflow solutions. Together, they maximise automation, delivering immense time savings that not only supercharge ROI but also empower people — the heart of every organisation — to innovate, think critically and creatively, and use their talent to propel your business forward and upward. 

Harness the Value of Large and Complex Datasets

Beat Procurement Optimisation Obstacles with the Right ERP Implementation Partner 

Implementing new software will almost always be met with resistance and roadblocks. Growing pains are normal but should not cause long-lasting impacts on your business and its people, customers, or bottom line. 

When automating and digitalising procurement, the key to overcoming challenges and obstacles is fairly simple: choose the right software implementation partner. It might even surprise you to hear that making a decision about which company you choose to partner with is just as important as selecting the software itself. 

The right partner understands the common challenges businesses face and won’t impose unrealistic expectations or demands on you or your team. The right partner also recognises its role in improving the employee experience and easing pressure. 

Importantly, they are prepared to dive deeply into the issues unique to your operations, team dynamic, and goals. They proactively anticipate obstacles and devise mitigation plans before minor hiccups escalate into unscalable mountains. In short, they become a partner in every sense of the word, someone whose genuine industry expertise and comprehensive understanding of ERP software becomes your competitive advantage. 

How do you find the right implementation partner? Get clear on your goals and make logistical decisions about the type of software you need. Then, research potential solution providers that tick your boxes. Finally, reach out to prospective implementation partners. Take note of how they interact with you. Do you feel heard, understood, and valued? If not, look elsewhere. 

For more on navigating ERP system change management, check out these articles: 

Make Your Move from Purchasing Thinking to Procurement Thinking Today 

We hope you enjoyed reading our article series on the journey from purchasing thinking to procurement thinking. The insights we shared are designed to help you shift your mindset towards a more strategic and holistic approach to procurement. Adopting this approach can unlock a whole new world of possibilities for your organisation, from driving innovation to achieving cost savings and mitigating risks. 

We are excited for you to start implementing these learnings and seeing the positive impact they can bring to your business. Here’s to future success! 

Find all the articles in our ‘Moving from Purchasing Thinking to Procurement Thinking’ series below:

Inspired to Act?

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