In the global business environment today, supply chains have become global and interconnected, making them more complicated and vulnerable. In this scenario, supply chain professionals are finding it very challenging to respond to numerous challenges like supply chain visibility, data accuracy, risk management, cost savings, supplier issues, etc.
Conventional procurement strategies and processes often become inefficient in building an efficient supply chain. The current disrupted market demands an efficient, demand-driven, transparent and smart procurement process. For this, your procurement function should be driven by strategic decisions that allow you to overcome the supply chain challenges and add more value to your business.
Even if your company uses an ERP, it really might not be sufficient to manage your sourcing activities. Most of these conventional enterprise systems take care of the transactional procurement activities alone, and you may find it difficult to follow up on your strategic procurement activities internally and externally, leading to delays in making decisions. The use of traditional tools and spreadsheet based analytics are insufficient and can only make it difficult to generate essential analytics to make your purchase decisions. Speedy decision making is an essential factor for an optimised procurement process. It gives a significant competitive advantage for the whole business to improve its bottom line.
So how exactly can you make your procurement or purchase decisions faster, smarter, cheaper and efficient, adhering to the 5 Rs of procurement – Right Quality of materials, Right Quantity, at the Right Price, at Right Place and at the Right Time? Undoubtedly, digitisation of your procurement activities is one of the best ways to accelerate your purchase decisions.
Digitisation of procurement activities has been following a steady ramp up for many years. But in recent years, it has gained significant momentum with procurement technologies evolving rapidly and many organisations deploying these technologies to improve their speed and agility. Digital procurement platforms today offer a combination of tools for Advanced Analytics (Spend, Program and Project Analytics etc.), eProcurement, Sourcing, Supplier Relationship Management, eCatalogs, etc.
Sourcing software offers immense possibilities to professionals who continuously worry about making decisions on sourcing the goods, selecting suppliers, de-risking the supply chain and obtaining high-quality products at the best prices for their organisation. It leverages technologies like AI and machine learning algorithms to categorise and manage spend in real-time and predict demands. With digital procurement solutions, professionals can get to know the cost of any commodity from alternate suppliers or countries, predict future sources of supply, and act on timely alerts from negotiated agreements through smart contract management.
Here is how digital procurement capabilities can work together to make your procurement decisions more efficient, smarter and faster.
- Utilise Big Data for richer data sets – It can create a master data source by collating disparate data spread across various sources including physical data files (Items/Parts, PO, Bill of Materials, Specs, etc), unstructured databases of spend information, data related to demand and delivery of raw materials captured through sensors, and third-party data (supplier data, commodity trends, social media, local media, etc).
- Use Predictive and advanced data analytics to enable improved decision making – By applying modelling and statistics on the data from the disparate data sources and using machine learning algorithms and AI, predict most likely scenarios for cost/price fluctuations, demand, supplier or country risks, etc to enable proactive decision making.
- Visualization simplifies decision making– Transform the data collated into organized information and produce user-friendly visualizations that can give fresh insights and recommendations simplifying decision making.
- Interconnected Collaboration Networks – Provides a platform that enhances collaboration between buyers and suppliers aiding transparency and ability to plan and make decisions together.
Procurement software can thus help organisations generate data-driven insights and strategies to uncover new sources of value, increase efficiency, and mitigate risks successfully to ensure a stable supply. Given the growing pace of technological innovation fueling digital procurement solutions today, procurement professionals should embrace these technologies to the utmost to make smarter decisions, become more agile and have a competitive edge.
RheinBrücke’s MeRLIN is a Strategic Sourcing solution that provides the strategic platform enabling value optimisation of your procurement function. It simplifies the complexities around Strategic Sourcing through higher levels of automation, enhanced supplier and internal collaboration and advanced analytics. It allows you to make smarter purchase decisions that can impact your bottom line positively. Contact us to know more about MeRLIN.