March 16th, 2017

How to become a Procurement Superstar?

How to become a Procurement Superstar?

One of the key characteristics of a successful procurement professional is the ability to organize their projects in a way that causes them to get the most done in the least amount of time. Efficiency is at the core of the skill set you need to possess if you’re going to solicit, manage and complete multiple projects. However, you need very specialized skills to do the job right. But no worries, if you apply some of the most basic business principles to your tasks, you’ll quickly excel at your job. Let’s take a look at how these common traits can be used to propel you to procurement perfection.

Why do Procurement Professionals Need to be Efficient?
The life of a procurement professional is a busy one. After all, you are the one working with several departments on multiple projects at one time. You are also the one to ensure that all company purchases are not only made on time, but also with the best possible terms and price. In order to do that, you have to focus on quality, quantity, price, availability, vendors, service options, and delivery methods.

In other words, your company couldn’t run without you.

And that brings us to our current topic: Efficiency. With all you have on your plate, it’s wise to improve your efficiency so you can become a super star. Here are 7 efficiency practices you can easily apply to your procurement tasks to make them more efficient.

Think Carefully Before Making a Purchase

One of the most desirable traits of any procurement professional is the ability to reduce costs while procuring the items a company needs. However, if you automatically create a purchase order for every request that comes across your desk, you could be unnecessarily spending more money. In fact, according to research conducted by the CAPS Research, for every Rs.60/- you spend on supply management gives you an estimated return of Rs.500/- . That means when you take the time to identify, research, acquire, and manage the products and services your company relies on, you’ll substantially reduce your expenses. For example, if you have a running order for copier paper from multiple departments, why not check to see if it’s being stockpiled because those departments have begun storing their documents in the cloud?

Build Virtuous Supplier Relationships

A procurement professional without a group of qualified, happy suppliers is just spinning his wheels. Sure, you can put out a bid request to new vendors every time you need a product or service, but you’ll spend an inordinate amount of time on those bids. By starting from scratch every time you issue a bid request, you’ll have to research each new supplier, learn their industry position, and identify their negotiation tactics.

A better method is to develop good working relationships with a select group of suppliers you can trust. This will not only help you streamline the procurement process and become more efficient at your job, but a happy supplier will likely tell others about how good you are to work with, and that may lead to new sourcing avenues.

So, how do you build good supplier relationships and make them happy? Start by being fair with them in all your business dealings. That includes putting out detailed and straightforward RFQs, and then negotiating fairly with the vendors you choose. Ensure your vendors are paid on time, and that they know you appreciate their professionalism and skills.

Don’t be an Island

While it may be tempting to do the job on your own terms, it’s not the most efficient way to handle things. Instead, if you invite stakeholders from various departments to give you input about their needs and the vendors they want to use, it will go a long way in helping you efficiently accomplish your goals and complete your projects. For example, if you insist on using a supplier, but the department head doesn’t like that supplier’s quality of product, the strength of your project will be weakened. But, if you allow the department head to provide input about positive past experiences with other vendors and you remain open to working with them, he will view you as a team member, and probably help push the project through to completion.

Use Your Analytical Skills to Make the Right Decisions

If you’re in procurement, it’s a safe bet that you’ve got some killer analytical skills. After all, if you’re responsible for planning and executing projects, vetting multiple vendors, analyzing bids and negotiating the best possible deals, you’ve got a good head on your shoulders. In order to use those analytical skills to improve your efficiency, you’ll need to apply them to more than one area of the process. For instance, you’ll need to have a thorough understanding of all types of quantitative data in order to make the best financial decisions for your company. And when a project is over budget or running behind schedule, you’ll need to put those analytical skills to use to come up with creative ways to get it back on track. In other words, successful procurement professionals use the skills they naturally have in order to make them even better at their jobs.

Sharpen Your Negotiating Skills

In many lines of business a good negotiator is one who drives a hard bargain and shows little mercy for the opponent, but procurement professionals don’t have that option because they have to develop good relationships with their opponents in order to build a reputation so other vendors will want to work with them. That means you must walk a fine line. You obviously want to make the best deal for your company, but at the same time, you don’t want to alienate suppliers during the negotiation process.

In order to develop the right negotiation skills, you will have to develop strategies and well-honed practices that accomplish both of these goals. You can ask your company to pay for training or do a little self-training to better your skills.

Think Globally

In today’s world of procurement, professionals have to look beyond their borders in order to secure the best deal for their business. Most likely, your need for products are more complex than they were few years ago, and you have to look to global supply chains in order to fill the needs. That means you’ll need to think globally by developing flexible options and logistic arrangements. This is another area where your analytical skills will come into play.

Move Forward with Technology

If you’re still shuffling paper contracts back and forth between parties, you haven’t kept up with the times—a key attribute for successful procurement professionals. Today’s savvy professionals take their contracts to the cloud to make the process more efficient. With an automated contract management system in place, you’ll drastically increase your efficiency by being able to create drafts online, negotiate in real time, utilize e-signatures to speed up the signing process, and set compliance reminders so you can stay on top of everyone’s commitments.

Chances are, you already have all of these necessary skills, and you might actually be few steps away from becoming a procurement super star. Make a list of the traits mentioned above where you feel you could improve, prioritize them, and gradually work on them. Take the time to sit down at the end of each week to see how well you did in each area, and then determine what should be your next goal to becoming a procurement super star.

February 27th, 2017

One Feature that is Going to Clasp the B2B Commerce Industry in India

One Feature that is Going to Clasp the B2B Commerce Industry in India

How can just one feature change the way businesses purchase online in an Indian setup?

This feature is something that the B2B shopping experience awaited for years together. The feature that is going to ease a lot of work has finally arrived into the Indian market and it is something that is going to take your surprise factor to the next level.

Purchase Order as it is used today-

Purchase orders are typically used when a business buyer wants to purchase Products or inventory on account. Usually, the supplier delivers or ships the purchased items prior to payment, with the purchase order serving as risk protection on the electronically placed order. Along with legal protection, purchase orders are significant in both inventory management and payment tracking. Purchase orders help suppliers compare ordered inventory to inventory shipped and on hand for accuracy. They also allow the supplier to track when payments have been made on specific orders. Buyers hold copies of orders they place to monitor timely receipt of the items. These items are very often tracked online with the PO number by the seller and it has always been a practice that the required items and the quantity is also verified through the contract that it becomes post the PO is raised.

How does a PO work?

A PO is usually issued by the business buyer and the PO contains the requirements of an order that has to be processed electronically by the seller who works on electronic ways to fulfill an order. The PO has a well known format that has no major changes with different organisations. The PO contains details of quantity of products required, the pricing of products that are required, the time of delivery that the product is expected to be delivered and the PO also contains the shipping address entered through a Software System that the buyer utilizes to make business purchases.

PO is useful for both the buyer and the seller. The buyer can often match the PO number with the shipment packages and track down the order statues with the number that is provided in the PO. The buyer keeps it as a record of purchase made and the PO speaks as a valid document to claim any sort of reparations in case of order mismatch by the seller. The seller usually receives the PO and push the order for further processing. The seller can keep track of the order to inform the buyer about the status of the order. The seller refers the PO to verify the shipments in the depot and the seller would often hold the PO till the order is delivered to the client. Once the PO is raised by the buyer, an in-process Purchase will be made by the seller to procure the necessary items and the inventory is physically received. The buyer usually holds the responsibility of processing the payment to get an order delivered based on the reference of the PO number. In case of credits given to the buyer, the PO stays as a ho-crux where it clearly notifies about the Credit period and the deadline to receive the payment by the seller. When all the process is duly verified and put on the right track, the PO is still kept both the buyer and the seller as a proof of order placed or completed.

What if the PO helps you to make an entire purchase?

A PO? Entire purchase? That is a right question and the quench to get the answer to this question should be every business’ anticipation for a very long time. A PO is usually merely treated as a formality that exists between two businesses to make a purchase. A PO is also seen as an extra work that has to filled with precision and proper number of products. But, what if a PO becomes your only work to place a bulk order?

Small businesses will be devoid of software that create automated PO based on the requirements entered. These software are often useful in creating a customized PO for the usual purposes that it is used for between businesses for a transaction. Small businesses usually use Microsoft Excel to generate their PO. They have their own format of creating a PO and they are often sent to the seller for further processing. Microsoft Excel- .xlsx or .xlsm formats are the most used formats by businesses to generate a PO. The Procurement team responsible for making purchases required by the firm as a whole will be filling up the PO and further send it to the seller who is wanting to make a bulk purchase or their usual monthly requirements.

A usual conversation that could possibly be happening between two people working for two different businesses looking to make a transaction will surely have-

“Could you please share a PO in the name of our company?”

“I will get back with the PO shortly and I will also process the payment that has to be made for the order”

How would it feel if the conversation changes to-

“Could you please place an order by uploading your PO in Excel format in the portal?”

“Should I just enter the quantity and upload it to place an order?”

“Yes! You just have to upload the PO to the portal and it will lead to the checkout with all the products in it being listed along with all the specifications and Pricing”

No more surprise! We are very proud to release this exclusive feature that we personally recommend to your utility and efficiency

Kobster, a leading B2B procurement platform firm in India has come up with more advancements and bug fixes to our existing e-Procurement Tool- Kobster Elite. The tool had greatly changed the way businesses used to shop few years ago. It made a furious entry to the B2B market in India as the best Procurement tool as rated by hundreds of users throughout the nation. Kobster Elite is not revamped and has been cobbled to fit your usage. Kobster Elite is the new tool that is to be launched soon with never seen features in any Procurement tool in India. It is a stand alone Procurement tool that is designed elegantly with subtle colors and the advancements in searching of products is really quick! Kobster Elite’s very special feature is a dream come true for the developers and designers of the product. The feature is Upload PO and Check out! it’s as simple as this, just upload the PO of the list of products that are required in the prescribed format as mentioned in the Elite portal and just UPLOAD it. The user will be routed to the check out page where the list of products in the excel sheet appears as electronic entities that are to be further checked out to receive the actual product by the buyer. The data that is entered in the excel sheet is read by the server as rapid as ever and the products are listed with the quantities and pricing as entered.

Can’t wait to use the feature? Sign Up now! Exclusive Kobster Elite launch offers are in the line waiting for your attention. Don’t miss out to use the most advanced e-Procurement tool in the nation, yet.

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