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October 26, 2012
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Procurement Best Practices 7 : Smart Use of Advanced Technology


Procurement Management Information SystemEvery business needs to have a good strategy for incorporating the latest advances in technology into their working environment. When utilizing a procurement management plan the goal is to research a list of qualified vendors and make a purchasing decision based on need, cost savings and ongoing maintenance factors. Technology has the ability to streamline operations and make things run smoother in the organization. Some companies hand over technology purchasing to the IT department, but it is wise to include this function into the overall procurement strategy so that contract clauses, customer service and delivery dates can be more closely monitored. 

A procurement management information system team can be set up to handle all facets of buying technology for the company. In addition to the IT department, team members can come from other departments as well. This cross-functional approach allows for more back and forth discussion about what exactly is needed by those who are directly involved in using specific technologies. The team might even use procurement management software to help them evaluate current uses, reliability and what problems must be resolved. 

Getting Prospective Vendors to Respond Quicker 

It is common for the purchasing team to prepare either an RFP or a series of questions to give to vendors outlining how their technology fits in with the company’s current needs. Vendors can sometimes drag their feet in responding to these requests, which can annoyingly slow down the final selection process. Reasons vary, but a vendor may be at the end of their sales quarter or view a small order as a backburner item. Either way, you want to get the ball rolling. Think about ways you can cut down on the size of your proposal by giving vendors no more than 50 straight to the point questions to answer. Also, set a strict deadline for responses. This lets vendors know that you’re serious about expediting the buying process. If they snooze they lose.

 Use Seasoned Negotiators 

Something that really bogs down buying decisions is having too many people involved in the negotiation process. Your negotiation team should have no more than five members. It should also include people who are seasoned in doing business negotiations. Sure, your IT guy knows his stuff, but he’s not qualified to understand how to get the best deal on the best terms. The negotiation process can begin as soon as you have your short list of preferred vendors. This will also save time. 

Set Your Own Standards 

It is smart to begin the buying process by having vendors agree to your contract conditions. Be upfront in stating your terms and let them know which ones are non-negotiable. Avoid working strictly from the vendor’s contract. Setting contract standards allows you to gain the advantage and get quicker responses on your desired technology needs faster.  

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