May 17, 2020

Firms embracing tech to enable smarter procurement

Supply Chain
Procurement
wax digital
Procurement
James Henderson
2 min
Plug and Play is looking for it next class of innovative supply chain companies
New research has shown that UK procurement teams are aiming to achieve a broader set of goals and improved benefits through the adoption of new, more in...

New research has shown that UK procurement teams are aiming to achieve a broader set of goals and improved benefits through the adoption of new, more integrated technology.

The survey of 200 senior professionals by Wax Digital predicted a 71% rise in the number of UK organisations that will adopt integrated Source-to-Pay processes over the next two years - supported by a single eProcurement system.

By contrast, organisations are moving away from using a mixture of disparate procurement tools for individual processes.

The survey also confirmed that procurement is targeting different types of benefit - from ‘quick win’ improvements through to longer term high level business goals. 36% of expected eProcurement benefits are strategic – such as contributing to broader business success.

Some 32% of anticipated benefits are ‘opportunistic’ - such as realising quick savings on easy spend categories. A further 32% are ‘tactical’ - such as improving purchasing and requisitioning processes.

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eProcurement also seems destined to deliver a wide range of specific departmental improvements, with ten key outcomes considered ‘important’ to at least one third of respondents:

  • 44% want to remove time-consuming manual data entry to speed up payment
  • 43% need to save time and reduce risk through the use of eSourcing
  • 40% want to gain insight into what’s being spent by the organisation to improve sourcing
  • 40% need faster order to delivery timescales by automating requisition approvals
  • 40% want to improve spend visibility for more accurate budget and cash flow management

But for many, achieving these benefits is reliant on the adoption of broader eProcurement systems. Currently 32% don’t have eSourcing systems, 40% don’t have Contract Management systems, 43% don’t have Purchase to Pay and 47% don’t have eInvoicing tools.

The research predicted a decline in the reliance of piecemeal or disconnected systems to manage separate procurement processes.

Commenting on the findings, Daniel Ball, director, Wax Digital, said: “It’s really encouraging to see that procurement professionals are setting their sights high and wide in terms of what they want to attain through the adoption of eProcurement.

“What seems critical is to have one system, whether achieved through adoption of a single software suite, or integration, mapped across the entire Source to Pay cycle.”

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Jun 10, 2021

Will Public Procurement Budgets Increase in 2021?

supplychain
Procurement
budgets
strategies
3 min
Often overlooked, government procurement professionals will play a critical role in helping communities, and local businesses recover from the pandemic

Procurement is more than just a private enterprise. COVID-19 reminded us that sourcing materials is an essential part of the government’s role. Throughout 2022, tiny departments sourced massive amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies, and emergency vaccines and testing kits. Even non-procurement professionals were pulled into the fray, as frantic timelines demanded nothing less. 

According to Celeste Frye, co-founder and CEO of Public Works Partners, the crisis brought procurement to the attention of skilled employees who had never considered it. As non-procurement personnel stepped up to help their coworkers, many found that they’d stumbled upon a critical and rewarding job. “Existing public employees have seen the essential nature of the work”, Frye said. “[They’ve] gained some critical skills and possibly [grown] interested in pursuing procurement as a longer-term career”. 

Small, Local Suppliers Take Charge

Frye, whose firm helps organisations engage stakeholders and develop long-term procurement strategies, thinks it well worth the effort to open one’s mind to new opportunities. Cooperative contracts, for instance, can help public departments and municipalities save money, time, and effort. By joining together with other towns or cities in the region, public procurement teams aggregate their purchasing power and can drive better deals. 

These cooperative contracts have the added benefit of advancing equity. Smaller suppliers that struggle to compete with established firms for government contracts can act as subcontractors, helping big suppliers fulfil bits of the project. Once they get their foot in the door, small, local, and disadvantaged suppliers can then leverage that government relationship to take on additional projects. 

Especially as governments start to pay attention to procurement resilience, public procurement departments must expand their requests for proposals (RFPs) to take into account innovative solutions and diverse suppliers. According to Frye, Public Works Partners—a certified female-owned firm—has benefitted from local and state requirements that specify diversity. 

Post-Pandemic Funding Swells Procurement Budgets 

And the pandemic won’t be the end of it. City governments need to build sustainable energy infrastructure such as solar panels, charging stations, and recycling plants, ensure that masks and medicines are never in short supply, and source new technologies to keep up with cloud and cybersecurity concerns. 

Public procurement budgets will likely increase to match demand. As Peter Ware, Partner and Head of Government at Browne Jacobson, explained, “in a non-pandemic world, the [U.K.] government spends on average around £290 billion on outsourced services, goods, and works...anywhere between 10% and 14% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Post-pandemic, city procurement will only increase as national governments provide local divisions with emergency funding.
And in truth, government employees might jump at the opportunity. Frye noted that public procurement could give immediate feedback on new programmes: “[Procurement] is where new laws and policies ‘hit the road’ and are implemented”, she said. “Professionals in these fields get the satisfaction of creating real change and seeing quantifiable outcomes of their work”.

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