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

By Noopur Mhapankar
In Sustainable Procurement
Mar 26th, 2020
0 Comments
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procurement practices

In this blog, we take a look at procurement practices to improve productivity and efficiency in times like these, when COVID-19 disease has taken over the world.

Current scenario in SEA:

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

The changing landscape due to the ongoing pandemic has forced procurement leaders to sit up and re-draw the road map for improved business performance and productivity using best procurement practices. Businesses across South East Asia are preparing for the impact that potentially COVID-19 will potentially cause.

As a result, there is one aspect for the procurement professional that matters more now than ever before –  value addition in terms of performance by increasing productivity, be it your own or that of your procurement organization.

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.

We take a look at some procurement practices:

Evaluate your procurement ecosystem

You need to take a closer look at your current procurement cycle. This will help you understand where the inefficiencies (if any) exist. At every step, check for inconsistencies that may be taking away from your productivity. Are there manual processes that you can easily replace with automation? Is there visibility in the organization-wide spend?.

Does your team follow the procedures that get mapped early on?. Conduct a SWOT or GAP analysis to assess if your current processes meet your organization’s new goals and needs. This will help you in understanding how they must evolve to keep up with the currently 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 practices, processes and systems evaluated vis-à-vis the goals of your organization – you will arrive at the gaps that you need to fill. You will be able to list down the areas where you can begin to focus, based on your team’s current priority.

You must be aware of critical areas where improvement is needed. 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. This 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. This will help you 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 or designing a process map that ensures all manual processes currently being utilized get taken into consideration. This can be done by following standard procurement practices.

Developing key capabilities to ensure that 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. Make sure key stakeholders are practicing the changes. Hence, they will realize the improvement in productivity that was targeted. When you adopt a new system, teething issues will come.

Measure and publish progress

When moving at a fast pace of improvement and change, often the small wins are left by the wayside. Hence 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. They are doing so with border closures, entry bans, and lockdowns. It is evident that this ongoing threat has taken a toll on our daily lives. However, your productivity is still in your hands and remains critical for keeping the cycle of work running.

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

Stay safe. Stay productive.

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