Challenges Faced by a Buyer

The world of a procurement manager is one that’s inadvertently clouded by mystery. They’re sometimes viewed with both awe and suspicion, often by others within their companies as well. They’re revered for what they manage to get done with the limited resources allotted to them but at the same time, due to the sometimes opaque nature of their positions, questions are raised.

This isn’t necessarily by design, they’re usually just left to their own devices to solve the problems they face. While their job is critical and contribute wildly to the success of a company, top management tend to not get into the nitty gritty of it.

Efficient procurement is seen like the cleanliness of a hotel room. When you enter a room you’ve paid for, you expect a certain level of cleanliness,sheets to be clean, fresh towels etc. But you’re not going to notice or care about a room that’s exceptionally or ridiculously clean, there is marginal utility to customer satisfaction in that regard. Similarly, procurement is never questioned or given a second thought while things run smoothly. But if a stock out were to happen or material costs jump, like finding a wet towel in your room, all hell would break loose.

While building a procurement solution to both drive costs down and increase transparency in this space, we at Procol have had the opportunity to interact with purchase departments of a variety of companies and different industries. To be honest, we began with the same assumptions you all would be having as well but these discussions and the challenges and obstacles we’ve faced while implementing change has made us understand the challenges faced by a buyer, other than the ones mentioned above -

Supplier Relations

A lot can be covered under this and that’s because a large chunk of the buyers time is spent interacting with suppliers and vendors.

It is a relationship that begins with struggle of finding new vendors, understanding their ability and capacity to deliver consistently, the quality they provide and whether it meets the stringent standards set by the company.

It evolves further down the line as the supplier and buyer often butt heads over price, quality, payments and a variety of other factors. Even getting a quote from them on time can be a struggle involving multiple email, phone calls and follow ups which are then followed by multiple emails, phone calls and follow ups regarding payments! It can be stressful and time-consuming, maintaining and keeping up those relationships.

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Recognition

It happens painfully too often. You make an airtight procurement plan, you adapt and evolve it. You source multiple new vendors, you reduce costs through gruelling hard work, negotiation and planning but it all goes unnoticed.

Beyond a certain point, no KPI is going to reflect how much you’ve influenced the operation of your company. Strangely enough, transparency of the purchase process is something that management wants as well. In our interactions with companies, it’s one of the most requested features that we’ve been able to provide.

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Price Volatility

The following probably applies more to the agricultural commodity buyer more than anyone else but volatility in the market can be very harmful.

Commodity prices are defined by the market itself and the supply and demand dictated by it. In commodities whose supply and availability can’t be predicted with reasonable accuracy but whose demand continues to grow, this volatility is something that keeps Purchase Managers up at night. How does one gain the best price for a product when the prices keep fluctuating based on factors beyond your control?

How Do You Take Back Control?

This is where services like the ones offered by us at Procol can come to good use. We allow customers to conduct auctions for their requirements on our platform and ask interested suppliers to bid on it, making the volatility of the market work for companies. This ensures better price realization and gains that can reflect directly on the bottom line.

Suppliers compete against each other on our platform based on parameters set by purchasers which can be as specific as they want it to be. Gone are the days of multiple calls and emails with suppliers and waiting to hear back. We’ve worked to boost the efficiency of buyers, automating the process of buying as much as possible and allowing them to focus on things that matter, like procurement plans, discovering new vendors, finding cheaper and better quality products.

We provide end-to-end transparency and accountability for all purchases done on our platform

We provide end-to-end transparency and accountability for all purchases done on our platform, allowing management to view the purchasing process and for purchasers to showcase their performance and efficiency to the management directly. We identify and source vendors to our platform, verifying them and constantly rating their performance with respect to quality of product delivered, quality of service, dependability and other metrics based on customer feedback.

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As we can see, the challenges facing buyers are several and in some cases, it can be a struggle to stay on top of them. But at the same time, solutions exist. It’s never a one-size-fits-all solution, it constantly needs to be analysed and reworked and understood at every juncture and at Procol we try and do just that. Standing with you along the way, helping you help your company improve. We’re doing it at Future Consumer, at Haldirams, at Spencers and at several other companies as well.

So reach out to us today and we can tackle these challenges together, head on.