Procuretopia (n.): the ideal, utopian environment that Procurement organisations thrive in; a perfect world where 100% of spend data is visible.

Last week, I attended the Procurement Leaders America’s Procurement Congress 2019 in Miami representing Basware. I was honored to facilitate a roundtable discussion to discuss how to achieve Procuretopia with a group of very talented Procurement professionals.

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Procuretopia living wall where the flowers denoted different Procurement strategic focuses for 2019.

One of the topics we discussed was, as Procurement leaders, what initiatives we’re most focused on in 2019 to gain better spend visibility and create a positive spend culture. Ultimately, we were in search of the answer to the question “How can we achieve Procuretopia?"

Procuretopia Garden Wall results

After asking the question, we offered attendees the opportunity to share their answers on our Procuretopia Garden Wall. They placed a flower on the wall to represent four different strategic focuses, each colored flower corresponding with a goal.
Here are the results:

  • Positive Spend culture—16%

  • Buyer experience —24%

  • Aligning procurement and finance—14%

  • Change management—46%

Graph-for-Patch-to-PCT

So, how can we achieve these 2019 initiatives?

How to create a positive spend culture.

First, it’s important to market and communicate the value of Sourcing and Procurement teams. To make this happen, you’ll need senior level management support and you’ll need to include stakeholder input.

Sourcing and Procurement are both departments frequently overlooked and underemphasised. Many times, it’s easier to see when these departments have issues versus when they succeed. So, in order to put Sourcing and Procurement at the forefront, don’t be afraid to attack and leverage spend for quick wins, and don’t forget to celebrate those wins when they’re achieved. Your team deserves it!

Then, share these savings and the value of the results to stakeholders, so others can see the hard work you’re doing. Don’t be timid to show off how Sourcing and Procurement maximises the value brought to the company’s table.

How to design an intuitive buying experience.

Another important focus for Procurement and Sourcing in 2019 is making the buying experience as easy (and dare we say “fun”) as possible for users.

Having an end-to-end source-to-pay (S2P) solution is probably the best way to do just this. End-to-end solutions provide total visibility into your Procurement and Sourcing processes and make it easy to use for both users and managers.

An intuitive buying experience also comes from collaboration between requisitioners and buyers. Having purchasing policies and procedures in place provides the correct steps for users and simplifies the process. No guess work makes for a much more intuitive process and ensures compliant purchases and mitigating risk to the business

Punch-out sites provide the opportunity to update contracted catalog items and pricing for goods and services. As an integrated element of your procurement solution, users can then easily order directly from suppliers through an intuitive marketplace experience. Plus, punch-out sites provide control over the purchasing process, keeping users within compliance and helping to mitigate overall risk. 

How to close the gap between procurement professionals and buyers.

Getting Procurement professionals and buyers on the same page will help to attain Procuretopia. But it must be done in a way that encourages both sides to work together, recognise their differences, and willing to take steps together in the right direction.

This might come in the form of additional training and pivoting the traditional focus of Procurement employees towards something more strategic. It should be an initiative focused on strengthening Procurement’s role beyond merely creating purchase orders (POs).

Additionally, all roles, even those that are deemed “entry level” should have strategic goals at their cores. In this way, you’ll provide more challenging, less repetitive, and more valuable roles—roles that will catch the eye of those with supply chain and data analytic skills, and perhaps those who are soon graduating from college.

How to stay agile in the everchanging procurement landscape

We all agreed that it’s equally as important to recognise and accept the fact that Procurement is constantly changing. With new technologies, advanced artificial intelligence (AI), and change occurring all around us, it’s important to remain agile, not rigid, throughout these changes.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to ensure your company stays agile:

  • Keep up with current technology

  • Work with your IT department to stay ahead of the curve

  • Decide on processes before you adopt a purchase-to-pay (P2P) solution

  • Have a solid change management plan ready to go

Ready to learn more?

Read more about how to reach a state of Procurement Utopia. Questions? Contact us!