How to win the market with procurement tracking

Procurement tracking is one of the most important aspects of supply chain management. Referring to the process of acquiring goods, services or work from an external source, procurement enables construction firms to source world-class materials and deliver exceptional results. This means seamless procurement tracking should be one of your biggest concerns. From managing your orders to tracking your deliveries, here’s why procurement tracking matters.

What is procurement tracking all about?

When you’re dealing with a complex global supply chain, there’s simply no room for error. Delays, damage and miscommunication during the procurement process can all throw your project off track. Procurement tracking offers a solution to this, helping you keep an eye on the entire procurement chain, whether you’re sourcing materials from China, getting things fabricated in Singapore, or hiring help in Australia. 

What’s on the horizon for procurement tracking?

The pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic forced procurement tracking to change radically in 2020, and into the future. Global supply chains were heavily disrupted by restrictions and business closures, with poor accountability, a lack of transparency, and inefficient collaboration all setting back the process even more.

And we’re certainly not out of the dark just yet – countries all around the world are still in the process of vaccinating their populations and new strains are constantly posing further challenges to businesses. 

In order to withstand another global crisis, procurement and supply chain management needs to become a more resilient, transparent and flexible process. According to GEP Worldwide, this can be achieved if procurement and supply chain partners are able to collaborate and communicate better.

Technology, therefore, becomes a critical tool, helping complex global networks respond to disruptions more promptly. This complexity also necessitates a more sophisticated use of technology in order to keep on top of it all.

Thankfully, tracking tools can hold the key to creating a more robust and resilient procurement process by offering the “end-to-end transparency” that the GEP calls for. 

What can a tracking tool do for you?

Gone are the days of using convoluted Excel spreadsheets to track your procurements. These days, it’s all about software instead. 

Procurement software centralises all your information and automates the process of purchasing materials, replenishing inventory and tracking supplies. Using procurement software can offer a whole host of benefits. 

Greater efficiency 

Having everyone on the same page is an instant boost to efficiency and productivity. When you consider the fact that 35% of a construction professional’s time is spent on tasks like looking for project information and correcting mistakes, it makes perfect sense to invest in a tool that boosts productivity and efficiency.  

Improved visibility  

Procurement software offers unprecedented visibility across your global supply chain. This helps you anticipate and correct any problems ahead of time, as well as offer a greater degree of transparency to your stakeholders. 

Reduced risk

As the construction landscape becomes more complex, 78% of companies report feeling that project risks are increasing too. The visibility and transparency offered by procurement tracking can help to reduce this risk.

This could mean reducing human error, tracking down misplaced items, or avoiding the risk of accidentally being double-billed for something that’s already been delivered to site. 

Unparalleled insights 

Perhaps one of the most powerful benefits of using a procurement tracking tool is that it offers invaluable insights. You might notice issues with your spend patterns and management, pick up on fraudulent spending, or identify other inefficiencies thanks to the use of your software solution. 

Getting ahead 

Despite the critical need for procurement tracking, not all companies are using technology to the fullest. According to PurchaseControl, “fewer than 10% of companies have deployed procurement solutions based on key technologies such as the Internet of Things, Big Data, and blockchain technology…60% of companies either use no tools at all or rely on systems primarily based on Microsoft Office to handle their workflow and supplier relationship management”. By using a state-of-the-art procurement tool, you can immediately put yourself ahead of a big chunk of your competition. 

What features should you keep an eye out for?

Think about the areas of your business that are currently underperforming. Are you always suffering the consequences of delayed deliveries? Or have you been double billed for materials in the past? Identifying your most frequent or damaging pain points can help you figure out what features you should look for in your chosen procurement tool. Some popular features include: 

  • Automate invoices
  • Digitally manage documentations 
  • Automate workflows 
  • End-to-end tracking
  • Purchase order management 
  • Onsite accessibility 
  • Contract management
  • Supplier management
  • Integration with accounting tools 
  • Location tracking 
  • Automated notifications
  • Audit trail

Our top 3 tracking tips

  1. Utilise tracking identifiers 

Tracking identifiers provide every material unit with a unique identity. This allows you to track materials all the way from the procurement stage to the final installation. Some commonly used identifiers are barcodes, QR codes, RFID and lots. A lot of products are shipped with UPC barcodes already, which you can use for your inventory identifiers. 

  1. Manage your supplier relationships 

Maintaining a good relationship with your suppliers, particularly if they are overseas, is crucial to your operations. Some handy tips to keep up good relations include: 

  • Be fully transparent with suppliers 
  • Identify and manage risks ahead of time 
  • Clarify key performance points like delivery dates, prices and expected product quality ahead of time
  1. Make the most of your KPIs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) give you a benchmark to understand the performance of your procurement processes and help you identify how to improve. Having a procurement tracking tool on hand makes this even easier – you can clearly see where you’re losing money, time or anything else, and set targets accordingly. 

Getting started with procurement tracking software

Procurement tracking looks different for each and every business. Your top concern could be managing risk, reducing costs, or simply providing a higher level of customer satisfaction. Streamlining, centralising and automating the procurement tracking process can make all of this possible for your business. Make sure to trial a few solutions and give your employees a voice in the decision-making process to ensure the tool you adopt will be readily embraced by all. 

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