By definition, a company’s procurement department takes care of the acquisition of physical goods as well as services from external third party organisations.

A sole trader would normally take care of all purchasing decisions, but in a large company or organisation that responsibility falls upon buyers that work in a procurement department.

The trouble is, like with any department in a large company or organisation, certain ways of doing things can promote inefficiency – which as you will know can cause productivity to drop, and ultimately affect your bottom line.

On that note, here are 6 top tips to help improve your company’s procurement processes and encourage high levels of efficiency and productivity:

1. Invest in your Employees

You would be surprised to learn how many organisations spend vast amounts of money on new computer systems and office renovations but forget to spend money on the things that make their business earn money in the first place – their employees!

Spend some company cash on your staff by ensuring they are proficient in what they do.

2. Invest in New Software

It is no secret that computer software helps to automate many repetitive or time-consuming tasks, freeing up people to work on other things and generally be more productive.

Therefore, you should think about investing in some decent procurement software to help your staff make your procurement department work like a well-oiled machine!

Find Out How These 6 Tips Can Improve Your Company's Procurement Processes

3. Develop your Team’s Cultural Skills

Buyers for many large companies often have to deal with suppliers (both existing and potential) in all sorts of different countries around the world.

In order to encourage good relations between your company and its international suppliers, you should work on developing your team’s cultural skills. Some firms even hire people from certain parts of the world to foster such fruitful connections with foreign suppliers.

4. Develop your Team’s Interpersonal Skills

Some buyers might be really awesome at discovering the best deals for your company, but can be painfully shy and reserved.

Such low social confidence levels can often have a negative impact both on themselves and the people that they must work with on a daily basis. Consider hiring a business coach to help them overcome their social barriers.

5. Encourage Employees to Think Outside of the Box

Although they don’t know it, the procurement department in many companies often contains employees who think in a certain way and often fail to think of things outside of the box, as it were.

Encouraging them to think of or do things a little differently every now and then can be extremely beneficial both to the persons concerned, and to your business.

6. Foster Creativity

People from other areas of the business will often come to a buyer requesting a specific product or service. You might think a buyer’s job is to simply research and find the best deals on those items, it is often better to come up with alternatives that might be a better fit for the requester’s needs – and subsequently cost the company less money.

For example, a requester might want a specific type of laptop with a touchscreen, but if all they are needed for is web browsing (and running web-based applications) and email, a cheaper tablet device will be a better fit and cost significantly less.