7 things you need to know to implement a procurement system

Big Data in procurement. Revolution or evolution?
16 November 2017
5 reasons why millennials are perfect procurement candidates
30 November 2017

…and not only a procurement system as that should be a title of this mini guide. Every system implementation brings a huge change in an organization. Very often the biggest pain for a company is not making a decision on buying a new system, but rather the system implementation. What to do to avoid disappointment?

Taking advantage of our own experience in project management and basing on other sources, we have identified 7 main mistakes made during implementation process of innovative business IT tools. That’s why today we are suggesting how to simplify a procurement platform implementation in 7 steps. We do believe that the hints are so universal so they may be useful in other processes.

Step 1: Engage end users

Although we are using innovative systems more often, we still forget about the end users. Even in 7 out of 10 cases a system end user is not engaged in the implementation process. The reason may be both lack of devices as well as incorrectly structured process. It happens that there is no time scheduled for employees to get to know the changes. The lack of engagement may be already visible during the initial phase of the project.  Practical experience shows  that including people on operational positions at the beginning of the implementation process may be an important success factor.

Step 2: Methodological management

The next step on a way to the effective implementation is appointing a Project Manager. Choosing a decision maker on a client side will improve both internal and external  communication. Moreover, a project manager is engaged in a change management process, draws up an agenda as well as monitors particular project phase statuses.

Step 3:  Automate gradually

Although there are many benefits of procurement process automation (and not only procurement), it’s essential to do it reasonably. A good procurement platform is flexible which means a lot if there are many exceptions in an organization or some processes need to be done out of the system. Gradual automation allows to eliminate the issues and provide solutions answering end user real needs which may be difficult to define at the beginning of the project.

Step 4: Define real needs

Defining company real needs may seem to be obvious, but regarding B2B systems it’s is a key. Too excessive requirements vs. real needs may have a negative impact on an organization and cause unnecessary costs. Switching on functions which are not going to be used  or are going to be used only to a small extent is one of the reasons of implementation failures. The recipe may be implementing a minimum version of the system and switching on additional functionalities later.

Step 5: Cut your coat according to your clothes

Every company wants implementation to be quick, effective and low cost. But practically it’s not possible. The implementation may be quick and effective, but at a high cost. Quickly and low cost will mean not effective. The decision regarding the costs needs to be made by a customer reasonably. To complete procurement platform implementation objectives (cost cutting, workflow improvement, centralization and automation) we suggest not to rush.

Step 6: Don’t print, give a hint!

Some habits may be a source of absurd situations. It’s quite common that employees still print  documents which may be easily stored in an electronical version. The reason is not only a bad habit, but lack of trust in digital space or internal procedures. The solution would be changing the procedures, but primarily educating employees to use printed version only when it’s necessary.

Step 7: Focus on one problem and its solution

During implementation processes we may meet with the expectation that one system can solve all various company problems, not really connected with purchasing. Eventually, the specification becomes extended and results in budget exceeding. That’s why defining a problem which we want to solve and focusing on its elimination is essential in the process.

If you want to consult your company procurement process with one of our experts and learn how the NextBuy implementation would look like at your company, schedule a free demo.

Damian Czernik
Damian Czernik
He has more than 6 years of experience in implementing purchasing systems in both the private and public sector. He participated in over 20 implementation projects carried out for medium and large companies from the railway, energy and FMCG sectors. In addition, he has expert knowledge of the organization of negotiations using e-auctions. From 2016, he was responsible for the implementation work of the NextBuy purchasing system.