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SEA COVID-19: Unmask productivity in procurement performance like never before

By Noopur Mhapankar
In Sustainable Procurement
Mar 26th, 2020

In the last few months, COVID-19 has taken the world hostage, and in these times of increasing uncertainty, with South-East Asian countries having reported more than 4k+ cases of COVID-19 and approximately 100+ deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for countries to “act now” and urgently scale-up “aggressive” measures to tackle the disease. 

In the world of procurement, however, the work never stops, and there is one aspect that has become increasingly more certain: value addition in terms of performance and productivity matters more now than ever before – whether it is your productivity or that of your procurement organization. 

The changing landscape due to the ongoing pandemic has forced the world to sit up (in self-isolation and while maintaining social distancing) and re-draw the road map for improved business performance.

Businesses worldwide are bracing for the impact that potentially COVID-19 will cause, and the need of the hour is to have a solid foundation in the form of a stable procurement ecosystem in place that will convert your inefficiencies into savings.

Taking a step back and looking at the basics such as below will go a long way in unmasking productivity in your organization’s procurement cycle:

Evaluate your procurement ecosystem

A closer look at your current procurement cycle is needed to understand where the inefficiencies, if any, exist, are required. At every step, check for inconsistencies that may be taking away from your productivity. Are there manual processes that can easily get replaced with automation? Is there visibility in the organization-wide spend?

Does your team follow the procedures that get mapped early on?. Conducting a SWOT or GAP analysis to asses if your current processes meet your organization’s new goals and needs will help in understanding how they must evolve to keep up with the changing environment.

For example, given the current scenario, if your focus has shifted to optimize savings, then ensuring the procurement ecosystem is built up and ready to match your mandates of financial savings is crucial to success.

Identify areas of improvement

Once you have your procurement processes and system evaluated vis-à-vis the goals of your organization, you will arrive at the gaps that you need to fill or will be able to list down the areas where you can begin to focus based on your team’s priority. 

Being aware of critical areas where improvement – be it reducing manual errors, streamlining sourcing, maintaining better supplier relationships, controlling spend by improved spend analysis, improving visibility across the organization, better reporting of savings across the board – is the starting point to look out for solutions and best practices.

Brainstorming with your team by taking heed from best practices in the industry will help in firming up your next step – i.e., creating a plan of action to tackle your inefficiencies.  

Create a plan of action

While keeping in mind your areas of focus, the next step is to map out a strategy that suits your needs. Talk to key stakeholders, including those that will be impacted by the changes to get a sense of how the flow of work will materialize.

For example, if digitalization of your P2P process if the strategy you arrived at considering your organizations’ goals – begin by creating a designing a process map that makes sure all manual processes currently being utilized get taken into consideration.

Developing key capabilities to ensure the plan of action can be implemented and can take off is also essential to success. Read on to know more about how to go about digitizing your procurement organization.

Prepare for teething issues

Training your team and giving enough time to adapt to a new process and tool is essential. No matter how well planned the plan of action may be, in getting the organization’s stakeholder buy-in – lies the success of your hard work.

Create a value proposition for your team – and make sure key stakeholders are practicing the changes to realize the improvement in productivity that gets targeted. Teething issues when it comes to technology are inevitable when a new system gets adopted; 

Measure and publish progress

When moving at a fast pace of improvement and change, often the small wins are left by the wayside, it is equally important to track all the improvements and publish your results to key stakeholders. Measuring your initially identified goals to your ongoing achievements is necessary and is a constant process.

Determine a timeline by which you will abide by to ensure the performance is on track. Your team will need strategic KPI’s that will help your progress keep on track.

Currently, governments across South East Asia and worldwide are working hard to fight the pandemic with border closures, entry bans, and lockdown, and there is a lot out of our control right now. However, your productivity is still in your hands.

Small steps taken in the direction of your procurement organization’s productivity will go a long way in causing a difference and transformational changes over time. Give your procurement organization the chance to redefine itself and improve overall productivity by taking smart initiatives today.

Stay safe. Stay productive.

To know how Zycus’ can partner in the procurement transformation journey of your organization, click here.


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