In a volatile world, businesses start to evaluate their processes on how to improve and modernize processes to grow and stay competitive. For today’s business leaders, macroeconomic headwinds have made managing complex organizations even harder. According to McKinsey & Company, CEOs stated that during uncertain times, their top priorities are strengthening resilience, technological transformation, retaining talent, and net-zero goals. But have you thought about how a smart business buying solution can meet these priorities?
Here are four procurement tips to help you to use disruption to your advantage.
1. Increase efficiencies with digital tools
Companies are moving faster across six dimensions of resilience: finance, operations, technology, organization, business model, and reputation. When spend is a necessity, business buying should be easy. 54% of Harvard Business Review Analytics Services global survey respondents reported that agility and sourcing speed were top priorities for their purchasing operations. While 73% said increased operational efficiency is the top benefit, they hope to achieve this by digitizing more processes.
Implementing a digital procurement tool drives agility and speed. And in turn, agility and speed open up efficiencies for leaders. The desired outcome of leaders in using digital purchasing solutions is that digital technology boosts employee productivity, reduces costs, improves budgeting decisions, and, most importantly, leaves leaders having more time to focus on value-adding business priorities. Since technology constantly evolves, CEOs have more opportunities to transform their business.
2. Gain actionable insights to empower employee purchases
Organizations without insight into their spending can’t recognize opportunities to streamline orders, meet quantity limits, or guide employee buying. Better understand your employees’ buying behavior using advanced analytics and dashboards. A comprehensive dashboard will help uncover a holistic view of spending patterns and help you establish policies and workflows that empower employees to make better buying decisions and quickly get what they need.
When looking at the data, procurement decision-makers should be asking themselves the following:
• What happened?
• Why did it happen?
• What will happen?
• What should I do?
These questions will turn insights into action. It can also find trends or issues that will go a long way to simplify the shopping experience, increase employee satisfaction, and drive productivity.
But what if you have a restrictive purchasing policy? A paid solution from Amazon Business called Guided Buying helps achieve your organization’s purchasing goals by automatically steering employees to the right products or suppliers defined by your organization. This allows you to identify preferred products or suppliers, restrict categories, and save time for everyone by removing the mystery of shopping for work and providing clear answers to the question: What am I allowed to buy? Guided Buying helps buyers find what they are approved to buy and enables them to submit requests to purchase items from restricted categories. This is a win-win for efficiency and time saving, as employees no longer have to wait days or weeks to receive purchase approval.
Once you’ve defined Guided Buying policies, you can track whether employees adhere to your organization’s policies, spotlight specific products or sellers, check progress towards sustainability, DEI and corporate governance goals through responsible purchasing, and compare restricted and non-restricted spending based on Spend Visibility’s Policy Adherence Dashboard. To further help employees avoid products that violate your organization’s guidelines, such as alcohol or personal items, Business Prime paid customers can enable Blocking policies. When you block unapproved items, this disables the Add to Cart button for employees. Blocking unapproved items increases buyer efficiency and decreases the burden on approvers.
Combining data visualization tools and purchasing guardrails such as Spend Visibility and Guided Buying can help streamline day-to-day purchasing by consolidating suppliers to free employees’ time for more strategic assignments.
3. Increase cash flow and optimize costs
Even with significant headwinds, sustainability goals, economic competitiveness, and affordability continue to dovetail. Leaders need to adapt, mitigate, and bridge these concepts. One way to do so is to improve your cash flow by working with suppliers that provide extended payment options. This flexibility allows organizations to conserve cash, delay payments until the time is right, and avoid costly fees.
Cost optimization is another goal for many organizational leaders. It is essential to recognize that cost reduction and cost optimization are different. A focus on spending reduction can inadvertently compromise product and service quality and morale. Instead, as you build and grow your procurement process, consider ways to optimize efficiencies by eliminating waste and automating manual processes through digital technologies. A strategic e-procurement partner that allows you to streamline your list of suppliers and purchase products in one convenient spot will save money and time on administrative functions. This then lets you reinvest those resources in value-add initiatives that advance the organizational mission.
4. Strengthening resilience with Amazon Business
Disruptive innovation modifies how a company evaluates its processes and how to adapt. It will improve and modernize many company functions, further benefiting the company. By embracing a flexible purchasing system that can keep pace with your growing sourcing needs, procurement leaders at all-size businesses can build a stronger, more agile, and more productive team. Amazon Business equips procurement leaders with the tools and technology to simplify the buying process and accelerate sourcing. The user-friendly shopping experience and simple set-up of Amazon make Amazon Business an easy choice for organizations at every growth stage.
Discover smarter business buying solutions for today's organizations with Amazon Business.