How Small Businesses can Access Strategic Purchasing

The modern business world expects small businesses to be able to compete with success on the same stage as large multi-national corporations. This can put great strain on small businesses to ensure they are as efficient as possible to capitalise on the lower running costs and flexibility associated with small enterprise.

Large organisations invest heavily in strategic procurement managers to drive the key targets for the organisations and employ complex techniques to leverage every gain available. Smaller enterprises don’t have the resources or requirement to employ the best strategic procurement managers on a permanent basis.

Lack of resource and requirement need not be an obstacle against utilising the same level of services offered by the top procurement managers. There is a change happening with the strategic functions, with more organisations preferring to employ the services of specialist contractors on a short term basis to focus on specific tasks or projects which have been identified as adding the greatest value.

There are a number of benefits to employing this type of service which may not be readily understood and which more than outweigh the perceived increased cost incurred:

  • Strategic purchasing for small businesses is generally required periodically as a ‘health check’ and to provide specialist support and guidance on obtaining greater savings and efficiencies.
  • Having a ‘one size fits all’ purchasing person generally does not work in practice, the strategy element takes a back seat to the day to day purchasing, with strong opportunities missed or not maximised.
  • Employing a full time Strategic Purchasing Professional to manage negotiations and strategy implementations is costly and may not be required for the size of business and the opportunities available. To effectively manage your business need may only require the services of a contract 1 or 2 days per week for a short period or in bursts spread out over the year as needs arise.
  • Contracting a strategy specialist allows for focus on the tasks which will add the greatest value including sourcing, contract negotiations, supply chain optimisation, cost modelling, waste removal etc.
  • Contracted specialists bring a wealth of experience gained in different sizes of companies and different industries and will be confident in complex techniques in-house operational buyers may not have experience of.
  • Contracted specialist will be more up to date with current industry best practises and trends which may assist in raising your companies profile with large customers.

Although it may appear counter-intuitive to contract a specialist at an increased rate for short periods of time when a much lower rate can be paid to a competent operational buyer to manage both day to day spend and all strategy. However the value a Strategic Procurement Specialist can bring quickly outweigh the cost, the results of effective sustainable Procurement Strategy can continue to reduce cost long after implementation.