Expressing your needs: the key to a good purchasing process

expressing needs for a better purchasing process

A successful expression of needs is certainly one of the best ways to work efficiently within a company. This work leads to the definition of criteria and technical specifications, which in turn define the specifications to be communicated to suppliers. This is the first and most important stage in a company’s purchasing process. After all, a well-articulated requirement is a well-executed purchase! And we’re going to show you how to do it effectively.

Identifying the need

Before a need can be expressed, it must be identified. It can be generated by anyone in the company, which is why effective communication between the various departments is essential. A purchase request must then be forwarded to the buyer, or to the person in the company in charge of purchasing. Often expressed informally, digitizing a purchase requisition makes your process more reliable, as it provides the person who will hold the contract with a working tool.

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Define the right need

The requisition should include as many elements as possible to help you understand the end-user’s needs. From the production process right up to the management chain, the human resources that make up a company’s organization have their own vision of their profession and their own characteristic expressions. That’s why it’s important to specify as precisely as possible the technical or functional specifications to be taken into consideration for the rest of the purchasing process. This is also the time to provide the buyer with additional information so that he can understand the need in the right way:

  • Supplier recommendations,
  • Desired delivery date,
  • Company department,
  • Equipment concerned (registration, reference, event…),
  • Price / budget.

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Share to buy

Before rushing headlong into a purchase, soliciting input from your colleagues is a way of improving your company’s purchasing process. In fact, offering transparency and inviting other members of the organization to take part in a purchase has two advantages.

This small steering committee enables participants to add volume to the purchase or order, and to achieve significant economies of scale:

  • Negotiating advantage,
  • Reduced shipping costs,
  • Optimization of workload (the purchase is made once rather than x times),
  • It’s also an opportunity to bring out an internal resource that may be suited to the need expressed. Avoiding purchasing to optimize inventory management is a good alternative.

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Inform the buyer or purchasing manager

Once the information has been gathered and the need clearly expressed, the purchase request must be communicated to the right person. This may be a buyer in a purchasing department, as is the case in large companies, or the person responsible for placing purchases or orders in a smaller structure. Including this type of contact in the preparation of your requirements is essential. This parameter is essential, as it is in the case of local authorities, which operate via public procurement contracts. This parameter is essential, as it is in the case of local authorities which operate via public procurement contracts.

This is also the case in the private sector, in a less strict but equally important format: supplier relationship management, market vision and execution, risk management and cost control. Their central role within the company ensures that the purchasing process runs smoothly. He or she will be able to define the right criteria for evaluating suppliers, carry out sourcing if necessary, or judge whether or not the purchase is feasible. His or her vision, focused on the company’s results in terms of commitment (CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility), profitability and image, means that he or she must be involved in the expression of needs.

Define the right validation circuit

Corporate purchasing demands responsibility. Involving several decision-makers enables this responsibility to be shared. However, care must be taken to identify the right people, because a purchase can be more or less demanding in terms of human resources, depending on its complexity, as can the purchase of intellectual services. The validation circuit for a purchase request inevitably includes a signature stage, which acts as validation (budget / search criteria / supplier relations / supplier contracts, etc.) This validation can be carried out directly by the internal stakeholders, or by means of delegated signatures, in cases where the decision-makers in charge of the request are not available. This validation stage can be a real pain for the company, if it does not use the right digital tools to facilitate the transmission of information (requests / validations / signatures).

Since the end of 2018, public administrations and local authorities have been introducing electronic signature systems to facilitate the public procurement process.Involving a member of the production process in the circuit can, for example, promote proper execution of the contract once the purchase has been made. A project manager can keep a closer eye on the budget and ensure that commitments made upstream via working groups are respected. The buyer will know the right criteria for evaluating suppliers and will be a driving force in this circuit. This is often the case in large companies, where a multitude of employees can be involved in the validation process, particularly if a steering committee has been set up beforehand. But smaller companies also need to make sure that their top management is informed about the preparation of a purchase, as the managing director is often the only person responsible for all these functions.

In conclusion, a well-expressed and well-prepared requirement is the key to a successful purchasing process. Change management within your organization can be orchestrated by a purchasing digitization tool. This is what our purchasing tool offers through process automation and digitized approval, to ensure that all your employees get it right, without constraints.


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