How to become an agile procurement team

How to become an agile procurement team

Procurement teams operate in a very volatile environment. During the early stages of the pandemic, stakeholders saw real responsiveness from procurement teams: a sense of urgency, business problem solving and far less process demands. Now, the risk for procurement is that stakeholders will want this level of service all the time, not just during a crisis. 

In order for procurement to be more responsive to changing business needs, they need to become agile – to have the knowledge and ability to understand and adapt to changes in order to reduce risk, gain a competitive edge, and take advantage of new opportunities.  

Building an agile procurement team is not an easy task but with these tips you’ll progress fast and successfully navigate change. 

Build collaboration

Procurement needs to be agile in responding to its stakeholders, both internally and externally so that they can maintain open channels of communication. With open communication, you’ll gain even more insights. 

In the Deloitte 2021 Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey, supplier collaboration was second biggest focus for unlocking value. Collaboration can increase resilience both by helping organizations make better decisions and by fostering a sense of trust with more effective communication. 

However, it’s difficult to collaborate with hundreds or thousands of suppliers in a scalable fashion when you have minimal resources and tools. That’s why an agile procurement team needs a collaboration platform at their disposal. 

Improve visibility across functions

One of the best ways for procurement to become more agile is to improve visibility across your entire organization. Instead of running around your offices trying to track things down, you would be much better off implementing a rebate management system that requires all members of the team to store relevant data in one centralized location. That way, whenever you need to access specific data, you’ll know where to find it right away—thus giving you better insight into where money is flowing. 

Renegotiate regularly  

Agile procurement teams should never forget about their agreements. A proactive procurement team is constantly monitoring performance to make sure the suppliers are delivering on all that they promised. If they spot any risks to their deals or an agreement has come to its natural end, there is always an opportunity to renegotiate, to drive additional cost savings and unlock more value.  

Informed decision-making

In a rapidly changing world, there is no place for slow, inflexible decision-making. To compete, procurement must be empowered to make informed decisions at speed. When data is stuck in legacy systems or scattered across different spreadsheets, it is impossible to make quick and thorough decisions. . You need to be able to act on and utilize your data quickly and efficiently, to make informed decisions that will drive future success. All of this can be done with a rebate management system. 

Rapid issue resolution

Agile procurement looks for and anticipates uncertainty, rather than just managing the current environment. For example, if a key supplier fails then it is necessary to have an alternative plan. By being able to minimize the impact of issues that occur, organizations no longer have to devote resources to problems that become larger over time.   

What next? Download the Gartner report

According to Gartner research, less than one-third of procurement organizations maintain intelligence about business partners’ priorities and when or how they change, limiting procurement’s ability to remain aligned with business priorities as economic conditions fluctuate.  

To navigate the future with confidence and best understand how their function can best support business priorities during economic recovery and beyond, procurement require a new degree of agility, a more progressive mindset and the right technology resources that can enable them to respond to business priorities quickly and efficiently. 

Discover the 4 tactics agile procurement can use to sustain influence as economic conditions improve by downloading the Gartner report

Elizabeth Lavelle

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