There is a massive amount of technology out there aimed at procurement or purchasing teams. If you don’t have a specific purpose for technology in mind, it can often be excessive (and expensive!). It can also lead to you having so many programs and portals you don’t use any of them properly! You need to review each process; is it necessary to use technology for this and will it actually improve the process?
This article will go over 6 ideas for how you can use and leverage technology as you purchase items (such as workwear & PPE) so you get more for your money!
When you read the title of this blog, ‘e-commerce’ or online buying was probably what entered your mind first. And yes, you can certainly use online purchasing to improve the way you procure items, especially consumables like workwear and PPE. Some of the key benefits of electronic ordering include:
- Standardisation: using e-commerce platforms such as Badger’s QuickFit, you can lock down the range your employees or sites can access, helping you to standardise what your staff buy and wear. This will allow you contain costs and improve your brand image.
- Increased data accuracy: when you place purchase orders electronically, these are stored on the website or system you use. This means your procurement data is much more accurate than manual stats you may keep.
- Budget tracking: Platforms like QuickFit allow you to track your spend against a budget. This can be done across your whole company, or per employee. An example could be that you allow your staff to order $300 of uniform per year, and the website you use shows a notification if you exceed that for a staff member.
This is a simple one but using cloud storage makes it really easy for you to organise the files and data you commonly use. Using a cloud storage platform like Dropbox or Google Drive, you can access your most important files anywhere, on any device, and share them quickly with colleges or suppliers. Cloud storage is especially beneficial if you travel and work from different sites.
Analytics & data
Technology has made detailed data and analytics very easy to compile and access. From a purchasing point of view, you can use online ordering portals that store your purchasing and usage data, allowing you to create useful reports later. An example of this includes reports you can pull from Badger’s QuickFit platform, such as spend per employee, spend per site and so on.
A recent report from Deloitte Global claimed that analytics will have the greatest impact on the procurement process over the next 2 years for cost optimization, process improvement and management reporting.
Having this granular and extensive data on hand allows you to accurately analyse your spend on certain categories, such as PPE, and then focus your efforts on reducing your usage on items that are costing your company. You might think you waste a lot on gloves, but without accurate data to back it up, how do you know its not boots that are blowing your budget out?
Once you place an order for consumables, you may your colleagues asking for an ETA. Rather than needing to call the supplier to try track down the parcel, you could use websites like ParcelApp to key in the consignment number and see where it’s up to. Some supplier (like Badger) may automatically send out status updates as well, so you can keep a finger on where all your shipments are.
The finance side of purchasing consumables is often what takes times: collating invoices, checking which ones have been paid for, tracking budgets and employee usage. Some suppliers have electronic portals that keeps all this information for you in one spot. For example, Badger’s portal allows you to download invoices, check if they’ve been paid, review budgets and so on.
Obviously, technology has totally revolutionised communication, and you can exploit that to improve how you purchase. You could use video conferencing platforms like Skype or Zoom to have ‘face-to-face’ calls with your suppliers. These platforms are great for building your relationship with others, and when you’ve got a better relationship, you can work with your supplier to tailor their supply agreement or offering to better suit your needs.