As a manufacturing company, one of the biggest concerns you should have on an ongoing basis is the efficiency of your procurement processes. The reason for this is simple: You never want to have too much or too little under your roof when it comes to the raw materials and packaging items you need every hour of every day. Getting that just-right balance for everything your company buys from suppliers is critical to business operations.
So how do you get there? The following tips should help you take a big step toward a more efficient purchasing process:
1) Be proactive
If you're not continually striving to improve procurement in much the same way you seek to refine production and staffing processes, you're potentially leaving efficiency on the table, according to LeanLinking. For that reason, you need to be more assertive when it comes to taking a top-down view of all your processes in this regard and always seek to find areas of inefficiency (existing or potential) that you can iron out. Trying to improve what you already do is a key part of growing as an organization.
2) Improve communications, externally and internally
Along similar lines to sorting out your various processes, making sure communications are streamlined is critical, LeanLinking added. Certainly, this should include internal communications so that one hand always knows what the other is doing — especially between the procurement department and other teams under your roof — but it must also entail communications with all your supply chain partners.
3) Manage risk more effectively
When rethinking processes, it is necessary to ensure you are insulating yourself from risk, according to Supply Chain Minded. That starts with evaluating past instances in which you encountered procurement problems (late shipments, lack of communication, etc.) and determine how and why those arose, so you can craft contingencies to deal with similar issues more effectively going forward.
4) Invest in your talent
As with any other part of your business, you never want to suffer from "brain drain" in your procurement department, Supply Chain Minded said. As such, you need to not only do more to make sure your employees stick around for the long term — such as by providing them higher salaries and better benefits than what the competition may offer — but also ensure your invest in the resources they need to take that next step as a team.
5) Streamline purchases
Finally, it's important that every purchase you make is tailored to your organization's needs both at that moment and in the near future, according to Verenia. Again, you never want to fall short of production goals because you ran out of raw materials, but you also don't want to have too many of those raw materials taking up shelf space for longer than is necessary. Finding that perfect balance and working to ensure it's upheld on an ongoing basis should be the goal of any high-functioning purchasing team.