The purpose of business is to work together to achieve a common goal, but too often a company’s departments become siloed.
That breakdown is bad for business because multiple people are needed to make decisions that drive businesses forward.
If the experts across your business are siloed, you may be making bad decisions, missing deadlines and losing out on business opportunities if you can’t react to market changes. But the cause may rest with how they’re asked to work together.
Take for example, the procurement department. It is often the hub of any organization — especially as bids are made for new vendors, new services and new goods to support the overall organization. Procurement is a critical component when it comes to releasing RFPs, awarding contracts, gaining approvals from evaluators and facilitating feedback from stakeholders to manage contracts and vendor performance.
That said, if stakeholders across the company don’t have a means of completing sourcing activities quickly or whenever they want and with ease, then they can’t support the procurement workflows — and effectively, the business. It’s not only the procurement team that experiences friction and frustration, the entire business can feel the impact of not getting the best value or vendor. For this reason, stakeholders for procurement activities need a means of adopting, engaging and participating in workflow activities that is easy to learn, easy to use and is collaborative.
The Right Procurement Software Can Speed Up Approval Times
Procurement software that’s easier to use can provide a sense of teamwork that encourages stakeholders to get more involved. It also helps to break down the misconceptions that formal procurement processes are always difficult or time-consuming. If users can make an evaluation for a purchasing decision online (rather than taking home binders of information), complete evaluations whenever they choose to work, and do them quickly and easily, the chances of an organization coming to a decision in a shorter amount of time go up drastically. In fact, some providers of user-friendly sourcing software have seen that evaluators complete evaluations seven days before the evaluation deadline (when traditionally it would be within 24 hours of the deadline).
On the vendor side of things, easy-to-use sourcing software is just as important when it comes to bidding. The benefits are virtually the same in that they can submit online, on their own time and track their progress. Tools that offer a way to communicate between vendors and buyers means that information stays centralized. If vendors feel engaged in the process, have access to communication channels and have the ability to complete activities with ease and efficiency, it will allow them to feel that they can build a rapport with the organization. Afterall, vendors who feel they have a strong relationship with the buyer may be more inclined to offer a more competitive pricing package. All of these elements help to engage users in a way that generates faster, and ideally, more valuable results.
User-Friendly Software Makes Procurement a Strategic Player
Visibility into the RFP submission, evaluation and management process is invaluable. Tools that allow people to see into the business operations have a better chance to know where they’re spending money and how to manage it — and a better chance to see progress on several projects at once. That visibility also allows procurement managers to allocate resources in a more meaningful, strategic way.
Technology that is able to unify sourcing and procurement operations through a centralized process — while providing an interface that is accessible, easy to use and insightful for vendors and buyers alike — helps procurement team to step out of the shadows and be viewed as a strategic player in the organization, rather than a burden. Results matter and value can easily be reported on. Not to mention, the fact that it allows teams to do away with the administrative headache of paperwork (and turn storage rooms of old RFPs into new office space!) is a bonus.
Furthermore, a comprehensive tool that everyone feels engaged with and encourages users to join the process will lead to better decisions for clients and your business. Your solution provider should be able to offer a checklist of best practices like this to improve user adoption among your staff and vendors. If the tool is easy to use, it will facilitate the centralization of data and enable strategic procurement decisions — improving the overall operation of the business.
So if you’re ready to embrace the benefits of user-friendly solutions, look for procurement software that allows your team to be more strategic. Instead of trying to figure out how to persuade stakeholders to complete evaluations on time or find vendors to submit paper copies through the mail, you’ll be able to make quicker decisions, get to market faster, improve margins — and be ready to scale up your business.