The current economic scenario requires faster responses from both companies and their employees. Aspects such as late deliveries of indirect material, for example, can generate a series of problems within the operations chain, impacting productivity and, consequently, financial return.
In order to try to respond to these demands, the Agile methodology becomes fundamental. In this text, we talk about the main concepts of agile mindset and give some tips on how to implement it in the purchasing sector.
What is the Agile mindset?
There are many cases that can exemplify the moment we live in: considering the field of technology, for example, extensive communication networks have been developed that allow instantaneous interaction between individuals in different parts of the world. Regarding the economy, we have seen supply chains become global, influencing and changing processes that involve a number of actors (suppliers, buyers, logistics companies, among others).
There are many experts and academics who seek to conceptualize what we live in the modern world. An example is the term VUCA, created by the US military to define scenarios and contexts of war, which has come to be used as a business strategy as well – long story short, VUCA is an acronym composed by the first letter of the words: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity.
More recently, in order to expand this concept, the term MUVUCA was also introduced, with the addition of two new elements: Meaningful (all actions are guided by a purpose as a result of the search for a meaning for life and the world) and Universal (concern about the global impact of what we do).
In order to find a way to follow up a reality in constant change, the agile methodology emerges: coming from the Information Technology sector, it seeks to reduce the rigidity of traditional organizations’ processes and procedures, encouraging smaller and faster deliveries, constant reviews and collaborative work. Read our Agile Supply Chain article to understand more about it.
What are the agile principles?
Even though it emerged in the IT area, the set of principles and processes that make up the agile methodology started to be used by different types of departments and organizations. In the purchasing area it is also incorporated as an alternative to the traditional model of acquisitions.
It is important to emphasize that the adoption of agile thinking is not an easy task, it requires organizational changes and the willingness of employees to change. The use of this methodology also depends a lot on the context, but there are some topics that can be applied in all situations:
1- Consumer / customer satisfaction is the main element: highest priority, with a focus on deliveries happening correctly and in a short time. This customer or consumer can be thought of in many contexts: in the case of purchasing indirect materials, for example, it refers to the company that needs a spare part to continue its production.
2- Change as an opportunity: this new way of dealing with challenges is extremely important, regardless of the context in which the change occurs, helping to increase the competitive advantages and the satisfaction of the clients served. The focus now is on solving a problem and not on the problem itself.
3- Speed and value go together: in short periods of time, high value-added deliveries must be made, whether the value is tangible or intangible. These deliverables can be products or services resulting from a process or project, which must be regularly revisited with updates. Here, “value” can be understood as the customer’s view (or expectation) of benefits and sacrifices in relation to what is offered.
4- Collaboration overcoming conflict: members of a project must develop the team mentality, in order to guarantee the transparency of communication and the shared commitment to guarantee success.
5- Power to people: projects are built and led by people and teams engaged. That is, they must be given the tools and working conditions necessary to succeed and complete the assigned tasks. Soluparts already understands and applies this concept since its creation, reflecting it in our purpose: Empowering Buyers, a maxim that reinforces the company’s focus on customer satisfaction.
7- Demonstrable values and results must guide each project: deliveries that meet or exceed expectations in terms of precision and value (tangible and intangible) become useful references for future initiatives and projects.
8- Keeping activities stable and sustainable: while delivering value is a priority, processes must be developed and optimized from a sustainable perspective to ensure that everyone is involved in a stable manner, without surprises that hinder decision-making.
9- Continuous improvement ensures agility: processes must be increasingly efficient through regular changes.
10- Simplicity is an essential element: maximizing returns using the least possible resources.
11- Self-managed teams are more successful: better results come from agile teams that are able to organize themselves.
12- There is always room for improvement: reassessing processes and making necessary changes to bring more efficiency and effectiveness are always welcome.
The twelve principles shown above, are based on the Agile Manifesto, which is the basis of mentality and all agile methodologies around the world. These principles were designed and coined by the Agile Alliance, a global non-profit organization committed to supporting people who explore and apply agile values, principles and practices to make the development of solutions and projects more effective, humane and sustainable.
This alliance was created by a group of 17 developers who, at a meeting in Utah, USA, from February 11 to 13, 2001, developed the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Read more about the Manifesto and its principles on the alliance’s official website.
Agile thinking in the purchasing department
Unlike traditional models, most commonly focused on cost reduction, Agile thinking in purchasing seeks to generate value by supporting the organization’s objectives and business needs. Considering some crucial aspects of the procurement sector, it is possible to raise the main differences between the traditional and Agile forms of purchasing:
Instead of fixed and extensive planning and documentation, with the Agile methodology, a more responsive, objective and iterative position is valued, attentive to the real needs of the moment. Thus, identifying priorities becomes very important for purchasing employees.
The focus should be on elaborate more collaborative terms and built stronger relationships with suppliers, having as a result the gaining of shared success (questioning the competitiveness and rigidity present in traditional format contracts). Learn more about the topic.
They have to be iterative and responsive, in other words, suppliers can be changed after a round of work, as required by changing circumstances. On this topic, see the article we have specifically prepared on the application of agile methodology in the context of supply chains.
4 steps to make your purchasing department more agile, today
Below are some ways to make your purchasing process more agile:
1- Daily meetings at the beginning of the work day: lasting between 15 and 30 minutes, these meetings help to establish the day’s tasks, encouraging collaboration between team members to solve possible problems. In many companies, to encourage agility, it is proposed that participants remain standing;
2- Apply the notion of sprints, which would be small projects or project fragments, sequences of iterative work (with repetition of actions) in order to have a more compartmentalized notion of the whole, speeding up possible reevaluations and changes in the acquisition path;
3- Definition of priorities: in the face of frequent changes within the company, establishing priorities and regularly reviewing them helps to streamline the purchasing process;
4- of software that helps in Agile management: technology can help centralize data related to a purchase, in addition to facilitating communication and alignment between dispersed teams. There are a series of programs aimed at the application of Agile methodology in companies.
In this article, we show how Agile methodology can help a lot to optimize the projects and processes of purchasing departments. Even though the method was originated to meet the demands of software development, many business areas have adopted these guidelines, resulting in more effectiveness and efficiency. Responding quickly to market changes has become a competitive advantage.
The purchasing department has a lot to learn from Agile, but for that it is necessary to be sure that its organizational culture and professionals in the area are flexible and resilient. To help you optimize your purchasing department, we suggest the following readings:
Another way to streamline the activities of your purchasing department is to count on a company specialized in the search for spare parts (MRO) from more than 15000 brands anywhere in the world, such as Soluparts.
In the last few years, we have been following significant changes in the global economy that bring a lot of barriers and opportunities for organizations (digital transformation, concern with more sustainable practices, among others).
For the purchasing area, there are also other challenges: reducing expenses, making right decisions, optimizing the department’s processes and contributing to the company’s success.
An excellent way to increase the department’s efficiency and solve its main problems is to count on the right partners. We list below some reasons to partner with a company specialized in international indirect material procurement, helping to deal with these complex challenges faced in the current context. Keep up and get good results!
1. Premium service
Getting the right guidance, at the right time, is fundamental for decision-making in a company’s daily routine.
A supplier chosen hastily can bring a series of problems: a delay in a delivery of a lot of materials, for example, can generate the paralysis of a part of the operations for a certain period, which brings great losses to the company.
To guarantee the purchase of reliable suppliers, here at Soluparts, we have developed an internal supplier ranking that evaluates essential questions such as delivery time, prices, agility in response, among other factors.
Soluparts has great market experience and access to over 15,000 manufacturers. With a clear and transparent communication, our entire team of specialists strives to provide buyers with an experience of comfort and security by doing everything to meet their expectations.
We have a constant concern with the customer’s well-being. By facilitating the acquisition process, we give, through our premium service, the possibility of finding the indirect material they need, no matter the country, manufacturer, if the part is obsolete or not, which improves their work routine.
2. Better payment terms
Negotiating prices with suppliers is something that demands dedication and energy from the purchasing department. It takes time to contact the manufacturer, explain the demand, wait for the budget to be sent, question the values, try to get to an ideal price and define the forms and deadlines for delivery and payment (the latter is often one of the most complicated moments, since the supplier wants to get paid for the material as soon as possible while for the company it is better to pay with a longer deadline).
With a company specialized in the purchase of spare parts, it’s not necessary to have negotiations with each supplier, which reduces the time spent for the execution of these activities. Also, with Soluparts, it’s possible to pay with deferred payment.
Soluparts is a partner of its clients, we understand that we are all playing in the same team, so the client’s success is our success.
3. Purchase contracts suitable for your needs
Optimizing the purchasing team’s time by reducing the amount of quotations to be worked by the professional of the department can be done through purchasing contracts.
This modality allows the quotations to remain valid for a certain period. In this case, the specialized company receives the list of products to be bought and makes the quotations. The client receives the quotations of the several pieces for approval. When there is demand for one of the materials included in the contract, the client requests the purchase of these materials at the prices already established (within the validity period of this contract).
At Soluparts, you have the option of getting an Annual Purchase Contract, which offers to our customers crucial convenience, by reducing bureaucracy and generating savings for the company.
4. Culturally diverse team to assist in negotiations
With globalization and the development of the media, the cultural dimension has become an important ally for the purchasing area of companies.
Whether dealing with other branches of the organization or partners from other states and countries, knowing more about the other party (heir customs and values, for example) ensures greater alignment, which reduces the possibility of noise in communication.
In this context, being able to count on a team located in different countries, who is capable of communicating in several languages and is experienced in making acquisitions in multiple cultural contexts, becomes a differential.
At Soluparts, our employees, of various nationalities, have international experience, essential for purchasing management with suppliers from all over the world.
5. Access to relevant content for professional day-to-day life
In today’s world, information and data are the new oil. In the purchasing sector it is no different: having the access to information about market trends (such as the regionalization of supply chains, predicted by specialists, in the post-Pandemic world of Covid-19), is something extremely relevant when strategies are being defined and there is the interest to remain competitive and updated.
Soluparts empowers indirect material buyers by providing quality content on challenges related to international purchasing, supply chain related innovations and new technologies and also provides information and tips for you to improve your personal skills, that are essential for your professional growth.
Tip: access our blog to keep up to date with news that will make your routine more productive and effective!
Soluparts: security, trust and comfort in your indirect material procurement process
Maintaining productivity and optimizing time, in a period marked by intense and rapid changes, is a challenge to be faced by the various areas of a company.
To ensure more security in your decisions and make purchasing indirect materials more efficient, count on Soluparts, our team is specialized in providing support, solutions, commercial conditions and better prices for our partners, ensuring that all your demands are met.
We have offices in several countries (Brazil, Germany, Portugal, Hong Kong and United States) and we count on experienced negotiation professionals.
For more information, visit our website and take the opportunity to request a quote with our team.
Conflicts can arise during a negotiation and means to resolve them must be found. But what is the best strategy to achieve positive results for the negotiating parties? Check out this post and find out!
Identifying the difficulties of negotiation
We can define conflict as the lack of understanding between two (or more) parties, causing tension on at least one side involved in the negotiation process.
There are two ways of looking at conflicts when it comes to negotiation. The first is to think that it is harmful and that the people who produce it are emotionally disturbed. The other way is to see it as an opportunity to work to minimize losses and maximize gains for all.
For those who want to do well in a negotiation that involves different opinions, only the second view on the subject is possible. But before resolving a disagreement, it is necessary to know whether it is an affective or a conflict of perspective, teaches the negotiation teacher, Paulo A. Alves de Almeida (PUC/MG), who has among his students many professionals from the purchasing department.
An Affective Conflict involves interpersonal incompatibility among negotiators, making it difficult to exchange information and causing the energy of understanding to be directed towards solving people’s problems rather than seeking solutions for business.
But in a Conflict of Perspective there is a disagreement of thought among the elements that are participating in the negotiation, which is natural, after all, each individual has his own ideas and perceives reality in a particular way.
William Ury, founder of Harvard University’s School of Negotiation, says that conflict is natural and will always exist, and it is up to the negotiator to find ways to overcome it.
But the expert also says it is a mistake to believe that good negotiators are born ready. For him, to be successful in a negotiation that involves conflict is something you learn, and for that he gives the first tip: before influencing someone, you must influence and dominate yourself!
Solving conflicts in a negotiation
This is an essential point in a negotiation: the participants must be able to persuade and modify each other’s ideas. How can this be done? Follow the tips that follow – they are very useful for those working in the purchasing department.
Overcome interpersonal conflict
By considering each other opponents, there is no chance for dialogue and the negotiation will not progress. The negotiator should focus on resolving the deal, preventing personal feelings from being a part of the negotiating table.
The Harvard professor says that a classic mistake in negotiation is to think that being soft on people means being soft on the problem. Or the opposite: to imagine that a firm approach to the problem requires being tough on people.
According to the expert, what successful negotiators do is separate people from the issue discussed so that they can be calm with people while remaining firm about the problem.
In addition, if you notice that other members of the group have this kind of disagreement, you cannot get involved in the situation or take sides. The best way out is to value opinions, creating space for all group members to express themselves.
When all participants have the perception that their opinions have been listened to in a respectful way, even without being adopted, there is a feeling of collective responsibility for the final decisions.
Find similar points
No matter how different the opinion of people who are taking part in the negotiations is, there will always be at least one point in common. And you have to identify it before they are camouflaged by differences.
The negotiator must therefore find the similar points of the two parties and start the conversation on this item and gradually introduce the disagreements.
Another important point is to take the initiative in the negotiation because, according to experts in this field, those who have this attitude can have greater control of the situation, increasing the chances of success – those who work in the purchasing department need to know this.
Know how to deal with problems
Preparing for uncomfortable situations can help the negotiator deal with them, when (and if) they happen – at such times, it is essential to control anxiety and maintain balance.
One way to overcome a conflict is to apply the active listening technique. Also known as empathetic listening or reflective listening, it consists of listening and responding to the other party in a truly understanding way, capturing not only the words (verbal language), but also their feelings, manifested by gestures, posture and even looks (non-verbal language).
Calling the person by name, using the same tone and volume to the other party and always being very polite are simple attitudes that help to establish greater interaction and closeness.
The active listening technique allows you to:
- Increase trust and mutual respect;
- Release emotions and reduce tension;
- Encourage participants to disclose information;
- Create a safe environment for problem solving.
Act as a mediator
In complex negotiations, the way out for conflict resolution can be to act as a mediator. This is one of the concepts taught in the Harvard Negotiation class by Professor William Ury.
What he calls the third side is a negotiator who, even though they have interests in the issue to be resolved, manages to advocate for the interests of all. In order for this to work, however, this negotiator must be trusted from both sides, otherwise they will not be able to establish themselves as a mediator.
A well-conducted negotiation leads to the difficulties being overcome, allowing everyone to be sure in the end that they have been heard and that the decision was the best possible one for all parties.
However, it is worth noting that it is not only the result of the transaction that should be considered, but the way the process was conducted. If in the course of the transaction there was an exchange of concessions between the parties, the necessary balance was established so that everyone felt comfortable and left the process satisfied – and ready for future negotiations based on mutual respect.
If you want to know more advanced negotiation techniques, it is worth knowing other relevant tips that we have prepared to help you get the best results. Click, read and perfect your way of negotiating:
Have you ever heard of Strategic Sourcing? This concept has become very widespread among professionals in the purchasing area and in the business environment.
Basically, this methodology intends to analyze the total cost for the aquisition of products or services through observation, mapping and analysis of the specifications of materials, service levels and suppliers.
Read down below so you can understand a little more about Strategic Sourcing and how it helps you to have a more strategic purchasing process.
What is Strategic Sourcing after all?
Issues such as political and economic volatility, technological transformation, among other factors, make the market increasingly competitive. For this reason, it is essential to adopt effective sourcing processes to maximize business performance and efficiency, which helps you stand out from the competition.
Directly linked to the financial health of a business, this strategy is based on evaluating all angles of the acquisition of a material or product, by identifying the impact generated on the organization’s finances. This method starts from the premise that even if the purchase is made to meet the needs of an industry, it is part of the overall strategy of the business.
The use of Strategic Sourcing allows a thorough analysis of all external and internal costs that influence the value of the end products – among them: logistics, storage and procurement. In this way, it is possible to obtain, among other advantages:
- Cost reduction in purchased products and services;
- Improvement in the delivery time of suppliers;
- Improvement of the negotiation capacity with suppliers and speeding up the acquisition flow.
- Standardization of processes according to the formalization of routines, which are now documented;
- Greater knowledge of the supplier market;
- Rationalization of the supplier base;
- Improvement in the internal and external relationship of the organizations’ purchasing department.
In a practical way, with Strategic Sourcing, purchasing organizations can stop focusing only on transactional aspects of purchasing, incorporating greater intelligence into the process as a whole, including the choice of suppliers.
This avoids problems such as buying the same category of materials/products from different suppliers, paying different amounts – which is not good for organizational costs.
How to incorporate Strategic Sourcing
Given the importance of strategy, the consulting firm AT Kearney developed and popularized seven steps in the Sourcing process:
1. Analysis of the product categories used by the business, spending patterns and processes and departments involved
Identifying areas of spending by categorizing them because of their criticality – this categorization will help prioritize the purchasing process. If necessary, other categorization criteria can be created (direct or indirect, international or domestic expenditures, for example).
2. Development of a strategy based on business objectives
The strategy must be based on the objectives of the company, establishing a communication flow in which all those interested in procurement have visibility into the purchasing process as a whole.
3. Market evaluation and creation of a supplier portfolio
In-depth analysis of current and future suppliers, checking their market position and assessing the risks and opportunities they offer.
4. Preparation and formalization of documents for proposal request
Inform suppliers, of expected performance expectations, in addition to the desired material data, allowing them to have a clear understanding of what the organization needs. After these arrangements, which must be repeated with each of the suppliers, the only thing left for you to do is wait for their offer and only then select the ideal supplier.
In fact, this process can be optimized by hiring a company specialized in spare parts, which is responsible for the quotation with the main suppliers in the world and which, among other advantages, still offers the manufacturer’s warranty- see the article and discover the practicality of this type of service.
5. Negotiation with selected suppliers based on careful analysis
It aims to get the best possible deal for the company. This is a very important and detailed step, so we suggest reading the article: Advanced Negotiation: prepare yourself for great results
6. Choice of suppliers and agreements signed
This is the bureaucratic step in which documents and contracts are written, that is, it represents the end of the purchasing process. But be aware: Strategic Sourcing does not end here, since the relationship with suppliers is constant, especially when they are responsible for delivering strategic resource to the organization.
7. Performance monitoring and supply plan optimization when needed
Effectively measuring supplier performance against the organization’s requirements and objectives is an ongoing job that will help you understand risks and plan strategies to minimize possible supply chain disruptions.
Among the forms of monitoring, it is possible to adopt the QBR (Quartely Business Review) technique, which, as the name says, consists of talking quarterly with the main suppliers of the company and discuss topics such as cost reduction and improvement of service.
Doing a satisfaction and quality control survey with the departments that requested the services of the purchasing sector is a good way to collect other data and evaluate the performance of suppliers, as well as identify whether the contract is being fulfilled. This data will be very useful for the QBR meeting and also for directing improvements and seeking the best solutions to anticipate and/or solve problems.
Making a detailed analysis of your suppliers using the Strategic Sourcing Kraljic Matrix (below) is another way to track supplier performance.
Strategic Sourcing Kraljic Matrix
After the 7 steps of Strategic Sourcing we recommend the formation of the so-called Kraljic Matrix – download here our spreadsheet that will help you design your Kraljic Matrix!
It is basically a chart divided internally into 4 quadrants – see the model below:
We have prepared a Kraljic Matrix model to help you map your suppliers! To download the material click here!
Analyzing the Criticality/Business Impact axis, we will see at the top the items of greater financial weight for the company, representing greater strategic importance for the business. At the bottom, we have the items with less financial weight and less relevance to the company.
Difficulty in Obtaining/Complexity of Market is the axis where, on the right, we have the materials inserted in a more complex market (few suppliers, influenced prices, monopolies, cartels, etc). On the left side, we see the products or services that are in a more competitive market, with several suppliers fighting for supply contracts.
Positioning each product on a chart like this helps purchasing professionals to have a broader view of the company’s needs and their respective financial impacts on the business.
Don’t forget to access here the material we prepared to help you with supplier mapping!
Therefore, the implementation of Strategic Sourcing in an organization requires collaboration and awareness of the importance of data collection. In addition to technology management, operational intelligence is required – see the article Essential skills for the 4.0 purchasing manager – and the use of platforms and systems, such as Business Intelligence, for example.
Take the opportunity to try Soluparts’ services, a specialist in indirect material procurement, that counts on the world’s leading suppliers. We negotiate the best prices and payment conditions to optimize your company’s purchasing process: request a quote with Soluparts!
Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been issuing daily reports with recommendations to combat COVID-19.
Among the various advises, one of the most important is social isolation, even for those who are not part of the risk group. It is not just a matter of avoiding contagion, but of reducing the spread of the virus, enhanced in agglomerations or in environments with many people, such as factories and offices.
In this scenario, the home office appears as an excellent alternative for many companies and employees – including purchasing professionals – ensuring that, even from a distance, people remain engaged, producing and moving projects forward. On the other hand, employees, while remaining in isolation, reduce the chances of contracting and transmitting the virus – which, according to recent studies, has airborne transmission and can survive for up to 3 days on surfaces such as plastic or stainless steel.
In this blog post, we will bring you some tips to optimize your time while in home office. What is the best way to set priorities? How to divide attention between work, children and home chores? Keep reading to find out.
See how to make your Home Office safe and productive in times of pandemic
Remember: despite being in the comfort of your home, the home office should not affect your productivity.
It is necessary to maintain a routine – and more than that, a mindset – focused on work. After all, even in times of pandemic and isolation, the production cannot stop.
Most of the people who are working from home these days have been taken by surprise, with no time to plan this change of workplace. Therefore, it is even more important to know the tips we have prepared and which we list below.
There is a right time for everything!
Many may find it easy and comfortable to work remotely. But the home office requires unique discipline, as it becomes even more difficult to separate moments of relaxation, home chores and professional activities.
Working at home does not mean producing while lying on the couch watching a movie. So, first of all: reserve a room or space in the house to be your workstation. When it comes to producing, privacy and silence are essential, especially considering online meetings and video conferences.
Rest and relaxation are also an important part of the day. Optimize your time by dividing it between work tasks and rest periods.
A great way of doing that is to have a schedule well defined. In the period dedicated to work, eliminate everything that can cause distraction. Strictly follow the hours you set, without delays, the same way you do when you go to the office – if you don’t respect your own hours you won’t be able to produce well while in home office.
In this same note, in moments of relaxation, do not do anything for work. Turn off your computer and work chat so you can focus on your family and on yourself.
The challenge of caring for children
Dealing with work commitments at home in times of Coronavirus also implies, in many cases, sharing attention and time with the little ones.
With children at home, more than ever, the home office becomes a multitasking marathon. And they don’t always understand the urgency of working in silence. Therefore, the first step is to explain to them the need for mom and dad to have privacy during their work time.
Show them the schedule with your working hours, the place where you will be developing your professional activities, set limits and, in a respectful and loving way, make sure they are met.
For example, they should know that when their parents are on a phone call or in the middle of a negotiation, loud noises and interruptions must be avoided. A practical way to do this is to tell them that whenever parents are wearing headphones, for example, more silence is needed.
During periods of isolation like the one we are going through, with interrupted classes, closed schools, and indications against agglomerations in public spaces, separate films, videos and series for the children to watch – always checking its Parental Advisory labels and if they show the values you want to pass on to your children. Again: talk to them, establishing what can and cannot be seen. By giving an explanation rather than simply prohibiting you will have more chances to see your rules being followed.
Internet access for games and chatting with friends can also be allowed, but, of course, if the rules you find convenient are respected. In addition, to ensure the well-being of the little ones, you should also educate them about cybersecurity – you will find some tips about that matter below.
As much as electronic devices are very effective when it comes to entertaining children, it is important to take a break and propose other distractions. Here are some suggestions:
- Encourage reading – establish a family reading time, with games and story discussion;
- Tell stories – they can be from books or even stories experienced by people you know;
- Create a game night – games are good options to have fun together;
- Create new hobbies – use creativity to invent games, especially the ones that allow you to move (within the possibilities of your house space);
- Include physical activity – it can be as simple as stretching!
- Assign daily tasks – depending on the age of the child, he can already collaborate with small chores, including: putting dirty clothes in the basket; making the bed; drying and storing dishes, etc.
If the children realize that, outside of the time dedicated to work, parents find time to be with them and have fun, they will respect the “office hours” much more, facilitating the home office.
Attention to Information Security
At home, we do not always have all the technological resources we find in the company – even when remote access to office documents is easier, due to the Digital Revolution.
For this reason, we should be even more attentive to cybersecurity when working remotely. The first step, therefore, is to know your company’s security policies.
If there is no rulebook, reach out to your company’s Information Technology sector and ask for guidance on the security procedures that should be adopted while in home office and make sure you follow them correctly.
Each company adopts a specific digital security protocol, but there are some precautions that are valid for all employees who work outside the organizational environment. See the main ones:
- During work, avoid opening personal items on the same computer;
- Use strong passwords that are difficult to guess;
- Whenever you leave your computer unattended, make sure you lock your computer screen to prevent someone from accidentally tampering with it;
- Just use your home’s Wi-Fi signal and don’t pass the password on to people who aren’t completely trustworthy – don’t use public Wi-Fi, as they are more vulnerable to cybercriminals;
- Be careful when accessing unknown websites and, especially, when granting your data for internet purchases – only do this when you are completely sure about the reliability of the website / company;
- Any strange happenings during the performance of your tasks should be reported to your company’s IT department.
With proper discipline and organization, the home office can be very productive. For the purchasing department, specifically, one way to optimize the routine in these days of seclusion, is to have a company specialized in the supply of indirect materials, such as Soluparts, as a partner.
Find out more about Soluparts on our website and, take the opportunity to read other important content for the development of your work:
How does the purchasing process work in your business?
In general, purchases occur very similarly in most small, medium or large businesses. This is because the procedure is quite similar, and what changes is mainly the size and volume of orders, depending on the performance of each company. Check below the steps of the purchasing cycle that are often repeated out there, and how each should work – in theory.
The purchasing process in theory
1. Purchase requisition analysis
This is the first moment of the cycle. Here, the purchasing department receives a requisition, a document that expresses the need that another department or employee has for a product. Upon receiving it, the purchasing manager must review the actual need for that purchase, as well as the specifications, quantities and delivery date required. With this information in hand, the purchasing department moves on to the next step.
2. Selection of suppliers
At this stage, an extensive search is conducted to raise possible suppliers for the required purchase. Here, the purchasing department must check all the suppliers already approved, that is, that already have active service contracts. In case of a first purchase, it is necessary to search for new suppliers and to check prices and conditions of payment, delivery and support. It is the role of the purchasing department to find the supplier that offers the best conditions, and that does not necessarily mean the lowest price. After the choice of supplier, the purchase order is issued.
3. Issue of the purchase order
The purchase order is issued, sent to the supplier and to the accounting department, in addition to the ordering department and also the one that will receive the shipment. From now on, it is necessary that the purchasing department accompany the process, ensuring that delivery is made within the given time. If any problems occur, by following the process closely the purchasing department can get around the situation more easily and quickly.
4. Delivery of the order
When receiving the goods, it is necessary to inspect and verify that the requested specifications are in order, as well as the right quantity and the conditions of delivery – if there are no defects or damages caused by transport. If everything is in order, the good is forwarded to the requesting department or to the company stock, and the purchase order and a receipt report should be forwarded for billing to the accounting department.
Purchasing process in practice
By following these steps, everything should work in order, right?
Wrong. Remember that at the beginning we said that these steps are the way things should work? Yeah. Each of these steps has its risks, and however closely the procedures are followed, the entire operation can be compromised by a slight oversight or slip. And, in the business’ daily flow, problems in the process are more common than we would like, especially in large companies dealing with many requisitions and deliveries simultaneously.
There are simpler and safer ways to perform each of these steps, to ensure that they occur correctly, and to make your purchasing process really effective. Check them out:
1. Purchase requisition analysis
By establishing protocols and properly training employees, the chances of errors in completing and submitting a purchase requisition are noticeably reduced. Requisition data are critical to the supplier search procedure and purchase decision, and mis-filed or erroneous information can undermine the entire process. It is interesting to invest in ways to automate this step of the purchasing cycle, reducing paperwork and making the activity of submitting a request more optimized and simplified.
2. Selection of suppliers and Issue of purchase order
Here’s a golden hint! A purchasing department in a large company handles hundreds of purchase requisitions per week, which ask for the most different types of goods, which will come from several different suppliers. The person responsible for the requisitions should analyze each of them individually, categorize them, search for specific suppliers for each of the reported needs, search for the best prices in the national and even international market… It is already tiring to read, isn’t it? That’s where the danger is!
To facilitate this part of the process, there are companies that specialize in the purchase of materials for maintenance and replacement parts, that go after the best suppliers around the world and find the best prices and conditions to meet your needs. So you can focus multiple orders in one place, reducing the number of different purchase orders, making the process more organized.
Closing partnerships with this type of company is very valuable to your business, since it reduces the workload of the purchasing department, streamlines the routines and allows the process to be conducted in a more coordinated manner. It’s a typical example of a win-win situation!
And by optimizing routines, purchasing managers are given more time to deal with other procedures, such as better organization of the purchasing documentation, which has a direct impact on the control of each supplier’s deliveries and deadlines.
3. Delivery of the product
With less paperwork to handle, it’s easier for the purchasing manager to track supplier deadlines and deliveries, paying more attention to this step of the process. As a result, the risk of problems going unnoticed decreases, closing the purchasing cycle with a golden key!
It’s also important to say that most of those companies we cited in the last topic manage to also take care of the transportation, making everything easier for you and your business!
How to purchase effectively
In this article we showed you how the purchase cycle should work in every company, the problems usually found in each step and how one can ensure that the process runs without many disturbance. Here, you’ve learnt that the primary concern must be to easy the parts than can be eased, by optimizing routines and getting rid of unnecessary paperwork.
Companies that participate in the purchasing process with you, searching for new suppliers worldwide and ensuring the best conditions for your business’ needs are the best way to turn the purchasing cycle into a well handled and guided process. By doing that, you leave the purchasing department free, to worry about other steps that are as essential to your company’s success as the purchases are.
How do you manage the purchases at your company? Do you think your process runs effectively? Tell us in the comments below!
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