It has been a rough few years around the world for the economy, big business, and small business. Everyone is fighting to make their mark and improve profits or to simply hang in there until the next wave. Pick up any business publication especially around the end of a quarter and you’ll see companies lamenting profits falling, less than expected sales, missed forecasts and the list goes on. Then the article nearly always includes a positive spin or some change they are making to right the ship. But why wait? Get your business prepared and take steps now through improved procurement to enhance the business, improve efficiencies and increase profits.
Does your business import any raw or finished goods from overseas? If so, it’s time to reevaluate every step of the process. Is your preferred vendor still the best choice? Test the waters and see if there are better options. Maybe there was another supplier that was close in the bidding process that has since improved and would be better able to handle your needs.
Then look at the process of getting from the country of origin into the United States and again from the port to your location. Are there other options available to you now that weren’t before? With fuel rate changes does it make more sense to consider a different shipping method? Has your volume increased or decreased and do those changes give you an advantage with another method or another shipper?
You will also want to take a very close look at the suppliers themselves and more than whom the supplier is, what kind of a relationship your business has with that particular supplier. Obviously you want to cut costs or increase the value you are getting for the money you are spending. But go deeper. Are your suppliers just nameless, faceless companies? Do you know the people behind them? Do you consider them a “supplier” or do you look at them as a “strategic partner” that is an integral part of your business success? Strategic suppliers engage in regular, ongoing conversation, know your business almost as well as you do, and are extremely reliable. And when things get tough, situations occur that put in your business in a tough place, your supplier is able to go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure you are well taken care of. Is that the kind of relationship you have with your supplier? If not, why not? Can you build that relationship or do you need a new supplier? Certainly questions to ask and explore.
These are just a couple of specific examples, but you will want to consider all aspects of procurement. If you are interested in a complete procurement transformation, take a look at the previous post with some pointers on how to get started down that path.