Can procurement save the day?

How better buying leads the way through economic and environmental straits

Can procurement save the day? Sounds dramatic but these are dramatic times.

Corporations of all sorts are realizing the potential of optimized procurement to save time and money where we need it most. With our global economic and environmental challenges coalescing in a unified call to streamline and simplify processes, purchasing power is set to be a cash cow of the foreseeable future.

Gone are the days where sustainability audits render cautious suggestions for food waste cutbacks and fewer printed emails. As businesses all over the world reckon with unforeseen challenges, sustainability has taken on an existential meaning.

The post-pandemic economy and the heightening awareness of environmental urgency have shifted the values of sustainable business practice from the green end of the spectrum to the heart of corporate spending.

This unprecedented moment calls for a more strategic approach to spending, an area where investments in efficiency reap rewards in savings of effort, time, and money.

Strategic spending

In the trending global emphasis on the critical nature of efficiency, procurement has been heralded for its untapped potential. Making purchases is something all companies have in common, so concentrating on better purchase management can be an effective rule of thumb, regardless of the fluctuating conditions of your market, industry, or political landscape. Tightening ship – whether to make it through difficult times or to build on record earnings – follows similar steps.

Keep it simple

“The methods of sustainable purchasing can be applied to a wide array of organizations,” says Jason Pearson of the Sustainable Purchasing Business Council.[2] Buyers can be much more strategic in their purchases by developing a system of guidance for best practices, measurement, and recognition, he says.

One common denominator: reduce complexity. Payment solutions and services should simplify the procurement process, for instance by grouping as many similar purchases as possible under single invoices, offering virtual card options for online transactions, and maximizing available transaction data, which can be leveraged to make smarter decisions and enter negotiations better prepared.

Go green to save green

Regardless of the color of your currency, this Americanism means more money in your pocket – or your company’s coffers.

“The purchasing power of procurement professionals has the potential to make sweeping changes,” writes Lisa Palmer for the Guardian. Not just for “greening the supply chain” but for implementing concrete savings reforms without having to change the mindset of a corporate culture that may still mistakenly associate sustainability with additional costs. Misconceptions cost us more than money, and this is one we can’t afford any longer to make.

[1] Banner photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash
[2] The Guardian Sustainable Business Blog

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