A professional vendor is an external organisation that provides your company with a product or service, and has been given access to your system. These days, enlisting the services of a professional vendor is becoming more and more commonplace – a good example would be the point-of-sale systems used by retailers everywhere to manage their electronic billing and payroll matters. These POS systems are usually provided by an external vendor, who also offers other accompanying services such a repairs, replacements and upgrades. As a consultancy, professional vendors make their skills, knowledge and experience available to an enterprise in an advisory role, including implementation.
Businesses generally have a group of staff with different individual roles and skill sets to keep the business running like clockwork. However, certain operations and tasks require specific knowledge that would be better sourced externally. In the case of procurement management, a professional vendor with the right expertise would be able to provide appropriate services such as managing orders and receipts, as well as reviewing and approving items from suppliers. Having the requisite knowledge in the area of procurement management also makes the professional vendor the right party to provide objective views and suggestions to help strengthen a company’s operational excellence.
In this article, we take a look at the pros of employing the services of a professional vendor for procurement management, and how they can help your business grow.
Provides solid recommendations
Procurement management involves sourcing, negotiating and selecting goods and services required by an organisation to function at optimum level. When it comes to purchasing a product or service to enhance your business, you may have a type of product or service in mind and what it needs to offer, but you’re not exactly in the know about what’s available out there, where to look for it, or even whether it would be suitable for your business. For example, if you were looking for an e-procurement system to enhance the company’s procurement management process, you would know that such systems can help with purchase orders, receipts and job tickets, but you wouldn’t know whether they come with additional features that can further enhance the procurement management process, or the suppliers that can be trusted to deliver a good e-procurement system.
In this case, a professional vendor can help you with all the dirty work and present you with the necessary information to aid your decision-making process. But what can you do with the information received if you have no idea how to use it? Again, professional vendors can help you see the relevance in the information provided and the latent opportunities for cost-savings in the process, and offer you the best recommendations for your business.
Diagnoses and resolves workplace issues
The e-procurement process is no less complicated than the traditional offline procurement process. For example, in goods procurement, the preparation of tenders is done online, with the elements of the e-procurement process including requests for information, proposals and quotations. These steps are usually implemented with an e-procurement system that can be accessed remotely. As with all systems, glitches or system errors are inevitable, and you may find yourself asking: What’s the most practical solution for a problem such as this in procurement management?
Much of professional vendor’s value lies in its expertise in diagnosing problems and implementing long-term solutions. In this instance, a professional vendor has a responsibility to help you define and determine the root cause of the problem at hand, as well as construct a workable solution to get your business up-and-running in the shortest possible time. Companies reap the benefits of having quick access to solutions for their problems as there would be minimal disruption to daily business operations, ensuring that monthly revenue figures are not affected negatively.
Building organisational commitment
In actual fact, a professional vendor’s responsibilities don’t just involve solving procurement management problems. They also encompass gaining the consensus of everyone in the organisation on implementing the right solutions, or the appropriate corrective actions. To provide sound and convincing recommendations, a professional vendor must not only have strong analytical skills, but also be a good communicator, with finely tuned powers of persuasion. To convince a client to agree to the recommended actions, the professional vendor designs and conducts a process to gain general consensus on the necessary steps to be taken, and establishes the momentum to see these steps through. Having good problem-solving techniques, he/she will guide the client on the logic of his/her recommendations, and gain the trust of key players in the organisation to proceed with the implementation of the solution. By getting everyone on board with their recommendations, professional vendors also indirectly improve organisational effectiveness.
Facilitate client learning
The value-add offered by a professional vendor is in educating clients on how to cope with problems that may arise in the future. In procurement management, professional vendors not only implement solutions to current purchasing issues, but also teach their clients ways on how to effectively manage other supply chain issues that could crop up in future.
They facilitate the learning process by training staff members on the necessary steps to take in the event of a problem, and provide instruction manuals or reference guides to further strengthen the staff members’ understanding. For example, teaching clients on what information to look out for in a Request for Proposal to minimise the number of process iterations and quicken the tender process. It’s not detrimental to the livelihood of the professional vendor to facilitate client learning because satisfied clients will recommend them to other companies, or employ their services again whenever required. Having strong client involvement in the entire procurement management process is beneficial to both the client and the vendor as there will be many opportunities for the client to identify the learning needs of the organisation, and it provides the vendor with a better understanding of the client.
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ThunderQuote is the most comprehensive business services portal in Singapore, Australia and ASEAN , where hundreds of thousands of dollars of procurement contracts are sourced every month by major companies like Singapore Press Holdings, National Trade Union Congress and more.