The past couple of years have been quite extraordinary. The pressures created by the responses to the global pandemic have changed the ways our expectations have been met. IT supply chains have been disrupted, delays have become more frequent and just-in-time shipping has taken a beating. However, the changes that have occurred have also provided an opportunity for fine-tuning our procurement processes and ensuring that best practices are implemented. When dealing with new challenges, it’s good to go back to the basics and ask yourself, “What are some IT procurement standard practices that can help ensure success?” In this article, we’ll go over some of these basic standard practices.
Traditionally, the practice of procurement required a lot of repetitive, manual data entry. Creating orders, updating records, implementing approvals, and following up often involves repetitive tasks that increase the chances of errors while underutilizing employee skill sets. Procurement automation software can speed up these tasks, reduce errors, and lower procurement costs. Many software packages can be customized to fit the needs of your IT procurement processes. Implementing them as a standard practice, however, is up to you.
By creating well-defined procurement processes, you’re ensuring that your employees know exactly what’s expected of them at any given moment. Having process standards in place will spell out priorities and best practices while leaving no doubt as to what task needs to be completed next. Well-defined procurement processes remove guesswork, reduce inefficiencies and streamline operations. By detailing each step of the procurement process in writing, employees are given a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities and what needs to be done in any given circumstance.
Allowing everyone involved in the procurement process to have access to relevant information reduces instances of redundancy, negligence, and disruption. Transparency allows all the stakeholders to have access to data that affects their ability to do their jobs correctly. No longer is the left hand ignorant of what the right hand is doing – or not doing. Transparency improves accountability, increases efficiency, and reduces costs. Automation software can be implemented to increase information accessibility which can reduce bottlenecks and disruption of procurement processes.
Providing stakeholders with a central repository of all the essential documents related to the procurement process increases efficiency and ensures consistency. Frequently used documents such as contracts, operational standards, and purchase order and invoice templates should be centralized to allow easy and efficient access by all concerned parties. Having a centralized document hub ensures document consistency, reduces contract management problems, and streamlines access to information. Quite often, creating a centralized document hub is a simple fix with positive disproportionate results.
Having too little or too much stock on hand will almost always lead to problems. Optimizing stock levels is generally considered the linchpin of procurement, but it’s a difficult balance to achieve manually. This is where data analyzing software can be extremely effective. AI and data software are becoming more powerful every year and should be part of every company’s IT procurement practices. Transferring the responsibility of stock level optimization to AI and data software is something that every company should be implementing.
Limiting your IT procurement source to a single supplier can lead to catastrophic consequences if anything goes wrong. Cash flow problems, management turnover, or natural disasters can quickly turn a reliable supplier into a major procurement problem if you have no one else to turn to. Diversifying your supply chains can reduce procurement disruptions and insulate your company against problems that aren’t of your own making.
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