Study reveals procurement professionals are struggling to digitalise | Probrand

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Study reveals procurement professionals are struggling to digitalise

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Probrand, the marketplace for business IT, has released a study highlighting the struggle many procurement professionals and IT buyers are facing as they attempt to digitalise their processes.

The research, which was carried out in partnership with CIPS, found that less than one in five (18%) had ‘fully digitalised’ – while a further three quarters (74%) who said they want to digitalise their processes are yet to achieve this goal.

Without access to solutions that provide live product data, a quarter of respondents said they were spending the equivalent of one day each week researching purchases – comparing products, checking price and stock availability. This is time that could be spent on higher-value activities, such as building strategic relationships with suppliers.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) also said they were still relying on manual systems to place their orders. While almost three quarters also said they spend a significant amount of time emailing (71%) and calling suppliers (70%).

Worryingly, a lack of digitalisation in the authorisation systems meant more than half (51%) were waiting more than three days for purchase order (PO) numbers – which creates a risk they will miss out on stock acquisitions as a result. Almost a fifth (17%) said they wait over a week on average for a PO.

The study also revealed that more than half of procurement professionals felt they either were not getting value for money for their purchases (23%) or didn’t know if they were (35%).

‘‘Given the volatility in the IT market over recent years, it has never been more important for buyers to deploy digital solutions to help them work faster and smarter,’’ said Ian Nethercot MCIPS, supply chain director, Probrand. “The research showed that procurement professionals face barriers when it comes to defining and implementing their digitalisation roadmap – with the ability to find budget one of the biggest hurdles. This is putting them at a competitive disadvantage.

“Any procurement team that is working with yesterday’s information is always going to lose out to buyers with access to live data. The IT market is just too volatile – it undergoes around 60,000 product price changes every day, and stock levels fluctuate all the time.”

He adds: ‘‘Procurement teams shouldn’t be wasting almost a week each month on processes that can be automated or be left hanging around waiting for purchase orders which could be approved almost instantly. By adopting digital ways of working, procurement teams can improve efficiency and free up time that can be spent more strategically – including building relationships with suppliers and planning future purchases to ensure they are acquiring the best products at the best time and at the best price.’’

The Probrand report includes recommendations on how organisations can move towards full digitalisation.