5 Obstacles to Peak Procurement Performance and How to Solve Them

Jay Goldman, Co-Founder & CEO

Procurement is often a fast-paced, sometimes undervalued operation. While each team operates in unique circumstances, improving procurement performance, achieving a low functional cost-to-serve, and delivering measurable value to the organization are some of the common, shared challenges that all procurement teams face.

Some of the most forward-thinking companies, including global procurement experts A.T. Keaney, run on our collaborative work management platform, Conductor. We wanted to share some lessons we’ve learned from them on how to deliver exceptional supply management.

Here’s our breakdown of some of the common challenges and how Conductor helps to alleviate them.

Team Isolation

Procurement teams often need to communicate with virtually every other department in their organization. One of the most challenging situations for procurement teams then can occur when the team operates separately from the rest of the organization. This isolation can cause important details to be overlooked, leading to missed opportunities, increased costs, and other side effects.

How Conductor Helps Teams Procure Better

Conductor connects the procurement team to the rest of the organization. It gives the whole company a unified place to work together, collaborate on tasks, communicate, share files, and get work done.

By having a unified workspace, teams benefit from efficiencies plus gain a better understanding of the needs of the teams they serve and can therefore provide better service. By creating closer bonds between the procurement team and the rest of the company, Conductor also helps to encourage empathy and reduce friction.

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Inconsistent Vendor Communication

Just as closer connections internally help to reduce friction and encourage smoother working relationships, having a strong bond is important to create trusting relationships externally – with vendors, suppliers, agencies, or partners.

How Conductor Helps Teams Procure Better

Conductor’s custom dashboards tailor the display of data pulled from work performed in the platform to create transparency. Its clear and simple access controls also maintain discretion when needed, to foster strong relationships with partners.

Using Conductor’s Project Reviews feature, people from both sides of a project – internal project team and external stakeholders – share their gut feeling on how a project is progressing. This gives the team an early warning system to flag upcoming issues before they derail the project. It also lets the team compare their view of progress to how their external partners are aligned and can trigger a conversation to address any concerns early, getting everyone on the same page sooner.

Projects can also be tagged with each partner, making it easy to sort and filter information across initiatives for each partnership. By quickly and easily surfacing the relevant data for each partnership, Conductor gives team the information they need to more effectively manage that relationship.

Green Project Review

Yellow Project Review

Red Project Review

Undefined or Uncoordinated Processes

Many important procurement practices that businesses use daily are not well defined. They differ from team to team, or even from individual to individual. These inconsistencies cause confusion, but also lead to items being forgotten or duplicated – so teams spend time reactively fixing issues rather than proactively driving business forward.

How Conductor Helps Teams Procure Better

Conductor’s Playbooks codify best practices, either from your team existing practice or from experts like A.T. Kearney. Procurement teams can draw on these best practices across the team to create a unified practice. As the team and practice evolves, the Playbook can be updated and built-upon so your team is always on their A game.

Conductor Task

Measuring the Wrong Data

Is your procurement team measuring the right data points to help them drive real and sustainable value? Standard metrics often only show a portion of the whole. By harnessing the power of data, procurement teams can create the right balance of information: data and analytics that give insight into spend, category, suppliers, performance, and compliance.

How Conductor Helps Teams Procure Better

Conductor’s dashboard can be customized to track the information that you need. Tailor your dashboard to deliver the most relevant, up-to-date data and give your team the information they needs to make informed, data-backed decisions.

Conductor Dashboard showing savings targets and forecasts and other project data

Not Proving Procurement’s Value to the Bottom Line

There’s no doubt that procurement teams deliver real value to their organization, however, it can be hard to get recognition in the broader organization without hard performance data to point to. By having close ties and clear communication with stakeholders, tracking the right data, and creating a sense of transparency, CPOs can elevate their teams within the broader organization.

How Conductor Helps Teams Procure Better

As the central hub of all work performed across the organization, including all procurement activities, Conductor makes it easy for the procurement team to connect and collaborate across the company. Conductor’s customizable dashboard can track any metric that is key to demonstrating the team’s value. Dashboards can easily be exported in Excel or PowerPoint to share with others. Presentation Mode dynamically visualizes the dashboards directly from the platform, allowing interaction with the data and surfacing different data points by hovering or clicking on the visualizations to demonstrate in real-time how the team is driving real and sustainable value for the entire company.

By increasing visibility (through automated access) and allowing everybody involved to be on the same page.

Conductor Presentation Mode

Final Thoughts

A. T. Kearney’s Assessment of Excellence in Procurement Study, found that leaders in supply management are more likely to invest for the future by:

  • Leveraging digital technologies
  • Driving innovation with suppliers
  • Measuring procurement’s contribution to the business

Leading teams around the world leverage the power of Conductor to orchestrate their most critical initiatives, drive innovation, and measure their team’s contribution to the business. Request a demo, we’d love to show you how it can help your team procure better!

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