One of the biggest challenges most procurement professionals face, is managing the day-to-day madness of having too many things to stay on top of, and not enough information to work with. A very common frustration we hear about from procurement officers is their constant battle with “emergency procurement”. A feeling as if they are always behind, in an ongoing reactive state – having to make sudden purchases with next-to-no advance planning. This is obviously pretty risky, since for a successful construction project, procurement should be executed from a position of firm control, proactively planning and managing contracts and vendors, with detailed information at their fingertips. When vendors get a whiff of a client that’s in a state of emergency with little-or-no options, you can be sure they’ll take advantage of that with some highly leveraged negotiations. Good for the vendor – bad for the client.
Procurement management software is all about helping purchasing staff eliminate emergencies like that. It enables the team to plan-ahead with planned-purchase-orders, prepared material requests, shell RFQs, and an abundance of planning dates at both the contract level as well as the detail item level (for material, services and equipment). Software that also has the logic built-in to determine all the required-at-site dates – well ahead of time –so that it can notify users about upcoming events or actions that need to be taken.
The procurement team that can additionally forecast potential planning gaps so that they can make informed adjustments well before they become chaotic emergencies, is the procurement team that is truly in control. In construction, timing is everything; and information is gold. Managing project procurement using spreadsheets just invites chaos and reactive contract management, and can cause enormous spikes in project costs.