The last few months of the global economic state of emergency have shown that terms such as digital, networked, proactive and smart, especially regarding strategic procurement, have gained severe significance. The association of strategic with long-term, set in stone or even rigid is out of place in the modern world of procurement. The increasing complexity as well as the rapid speed of the market require flexibility and support in the definition and implementation of strategic goals, crisis-proof concepts and solutions in order to survive economic maelstroms in one piece and thus to remain on the market. With the help of the keywords stated above, a modern, efficient and dynamic procurement can be represented, which relies on high-quality stability and is also prepared for crises by means of conceptually elaborate solutions.
Digital, the ultimate keyword since Corona. But there is much more to it than just an online meeting. Digitization within processes means that existing stand-alone solutions can be integrated into the holistic process architecture. Large savings can be achieved by eliminating manual processes through automation of the procurement procedures, which then again implicate a cost reduction of company tasks and release tied-up resources for valuable activities. In addition, strategic goals are implemented more effectively by seamlessly linking operational processes with strategic control parameters in real-time and in an automated manner.
Networked means integrated collaboration in all areas, i.e. across departments and even company boundaries. This can be realized with the help of centrally organized system architectures and collaboration platforms, which provides measurable and valuable profit. The tedious creation, review and the exchange of documents and information can be rationalized through integrated solution approaches. Digital networking enables a shift away from administrative expense drivers and towards value-adding activities.
Do not defend future-resistant existing systems and procurement strategies, but openly and pragmatically recognize the chances of modern developments – this proactive way of thinking and acting is the safety net for the high-wire act of profit maximization. The ongoing process of strategic procurement is a proactive, permanent and holistic evaluation of purchasing criteria and the consequent evaluation, prioritization and application of strategic parameters.
One more term is left, which at first glance does not seem to have anything to do with strategic and procurement: smart! But this soft fact is ultimately crucial for an optimal realization of the procurement process and can be exemplified by looking at two approaches of the term. Elegant, agile, clever, savvy – these are labels we associate with the word smart. And exactly that is how today‘s strategic procurement should be designed in order to meet or exceed the high demands. The second meaning stems from marketing; here, SMART (Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Realistic – Time-bound) is used as a formula to define goals, which is equally valid in procurement and must be used in the definition and the continual evaluation in order to eventually realize the required benefit.
Modern procurement organizations have internalized these terms as well and have already started walking the path of integrated processes that harmoniously incorporate innovative technologies, optimized operative and strategic processes, permanently changing market situations and complex supply chains. For this, the shift of procurement management into the cloud offers the ideal requirements for integrating further functions and thus using synergies and enabling transparency and efficiency within the entire company processes.
Author: Aljona Merks
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