Procurement during a pandemic

How eProcurement has kept businesses on track through COVID-19

The global COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the business world. Between remote work requirements, border closures, and increased demand for medical goods and services, procurement has become significantly more complicated. Companies worldwide are facing the imperative to expedite procurement projects faster and safer, while meeting all legal requirements for transparency, security and auditability.

The best way to maintain, and even improve, procurement operations amidst a threat or crisis is to implement a digital procurement system.

Find out why digital procurement practices are increasing in importance.

1.   Faster procurement cycles

During a crisis, organizations are under pressure to procure things more quickly, such as masks, ventilators, cleaning supplies, remote workstations and more. If not managed properly, urgency can result in cutting corners and ignoring mandatory administrative processes required by law for buyer transparency. Failure to complete all necessary steps and procedures associated with procurement can lead to:

  • Vendor fraud
  • Internal mismanagement
  • Counterfeiting
  • Capacity issues
  • Price gouging
  • Bad contracts

By improving process efficiencies and automating time-consuming procedures, digital procurement can reduce procurement timelines by 35%, while meeting the latest trade agreements and legislative requirements. eProcurement systems only accept bids that reach 100% compliancy, ensuring no time is wasted reviewing non-compliant submissions and no required information is missed. At bid close, the system will automatically generate a bid comparison report, send out reward and regret emails, and create tasks and reminders for contract management, significantly reducing the risk of bad contracts.

2.   Greater vendor reach

Not all organizations have an extensive list of approved vendors they work with regularly. If one of these vendors can no longer accommodate requests due to the pandemic, some organizations could be left with a gap in their supply chains.

Digital procurement platforms have thousands of vendors subscribed, so posting solicitations reaches a larger audience of vendors looking for new opportunities. Platforms with the ability to review performance evaluations written by other buyers help guide organizations to select new vendors. Advertising bids to a larger vendor pool also increases the number of bids per procurement, resulting in more competitively priced bids. This helps organizations, particularly in smaller or more secluded areas, to find the best-priced vendors despite office closures and limited resources.

3.   Brings procurement online

As offices close and remote working conditions and physical distancing protocols are mandated, it is practically impossible to continue service delivery using traditional procurement practices. Imagine trying to coordinate receipt of paper-based submissions without an office or staff!

Moving these processes online allows staff to manage projects remotely and vendors to submit bids digitally, avoiding business disruptions caused by office closures. Web-based purchasing team dashboards and automated workflows give internal stakeholders the ability to oversee and approve processes remotely, without the need for any in-person interactions.

Next steps for organizations

Organizations should calculate the return on investment (ROI) they will see from implementation, and will likely find that the benefits outweigh the costs. The earlier digital procurement systems are introduced, the greater the return.

While the current pandemic isn’t going to last forever, a digital procurement system provides resilience against all types of crises and supply chain disruption, which are inevitable in a global market. We may never return to business as usual – organizations that can evolve and innovate are destined to succeed despite whatever challenges may emerge.

Want to see how your organization can take advantage of eProcurement? Schedule a demo today!