Quality procurement software is essential for running an efficient operation. Your business’s purchasing process could be made incredibly simple if you select the correct software type. Whether you’re seeking an improvement in supplier management, increased visibility into spending, or just simple cost reduction, procurement software can answer all of these problems and more.
The trouble comes down to ensuring that the software that you choose is the best for your business. Let’s go through a brief framework for selecting the right procurement software for your needs.
Understanding Your Unique Business Needs
The first step in choosing the right software lies in a thorough analysis of your existing procurement processes. Ask yourself questions about who is involved, what kind of tasks need to be performed, and what systems you currently use.
It’s also beneficial to define a list of solid pain points that you can spot in your current process. This can be several factors, including:
- Time-consuming manual labor
- Lack of spending insight
- Difficulty managing supplier relationships
When you’ve deciphered these pain points, the next step is to evaluate what goals and objectives you have for your business, both short-term and long-term, for growth, cost reduction, and supplier management.
Finally, consider what kind of financial state your business is in. What budget do you potentially have for selecting this procurement software? There are many factors to consider when determining this number: upfront costs, ongoing maintenance, and potential savings, to name a few.
Key Features to Hunt For
There are many procurement software out there, and each has its own unique array of features and benefits. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, seek out software that is all-encompassing and features order management, supplier management, contact management, and e-sourcing. Match your business needs with these software features and see what makes the most sense to invest in.
An important feature to consider, particularly for start-ups or small businesses, is scalability and flexibility in software. A reason why someone might want to use ProcureDesk instead of software like ProcurementExpress.com, for example, is because it is better equipped to accommodate changes in your business over a long period of time. If your business is well-established and doesn’t expect much future growth, though, you may not consider this factor.
Vendor Evaluation and Selection
When selecting your procurement software, it is important to first spend some time shopping around. Don’t jump onto the first option you see. Take the time to research and shortlist potential vendors based on their compatibility with your business. While everyone has their own set of criteria for a quality vendor, things like reputation, functionality, support, and pricing are all fairly universally considered.
A good way to see not only if a system works for you but also if a vendor is respectful and trustworthy is by requesting demos and trials of the software you’ve narrowed down to. More often than not, the vendor will allow this, and you can see firsthand whether or not the software is a good match for you and your business.
The Importance of Implementation
Once you finally have selected a procurement system for your business, one that you feel fulfills all of your business needs and is vendored by someone respectable, the next thing to consider is how you plan to implement this software. Implementation is an incredibly important, sometimes overlooked, step in successful software adoption.
A few things that are typically done when new software is being implemented are setting up a knowledgeable project team, setting a hard timeline for the implementation, and ensuring that the software has been fully tested and checked for potential errors before go-live occurs.
To take additional measures, provide user training to ensure that employees use the software effectively and maximize its benefits. In the months following implementation, be sure to provide ongoing support, whether that be through the form or technical support, or training updates. When these steps are utilized, continual success is nearly guaranteed.
Build The Best Business You Can
Though finding and using procurement software is a process that has quite a few initial moving parts and complex considerations, it is something that will be incredibly worthwhile in the long run for the efficiency of your business. The amount you’ll save in reduced costs and spending visibility will make this software pay for itself tenfold. Just be sure to conduct the proper research and take the time to slowly implement the change. Then, sit back and watch as your procurement processes improve exponentially!