Prevent free text orders and optimize purchasing processes
When a department needs a number of products as soon as possible, it often ends up placing free text orders. Although they seem to make sense at first glance, they often end up causing more coordination effort in retrospect and also drive the product costs up. But companies that establish a strategy to back up their purchasing processes, plan ahead, and use digital tools to support their strategy can more or less eliminate free text orders.
Buyers are probably familiar with the following situation: the workshop needs three large screwdrivers, 500 hexagon bolts and three packs of instant coffee as soon as possible. Because it does not have all of the item names on hand, the fastest solution for the workshop is to put a free text order together: employees create a shopping basket in which they loosely describe the products they need for the procurement department so that the latter can order the goods. Before that can happen, however, they first of all have to make their shopping basket contents more specific by searching for the appropriate products and ordering them from a suitable supplier. But the procurement department itself can also place free text orders. They are often the purchase orders of choice when it comes to buying C parts, or when procurement does not want to set up a new vendor for a single product, but instead commissions a major supplier and accepts what might be a higher unit price in return.
So free text orders are only a convenient and fast solution at first glance. In the long term, however, this sort of spontaneous procurement translates into hefty process costs and additional work for operational procurement. This is because free text orders are not triggered as part of a standardized process, meaning that they often run in parallel to the procurement process that has actually been defined. This increases the coordination effort, for example if the procurement department still has questions, and can also drive up unit costs because the procurement department cannot plan the order in the long term and place it as a bundled order, meaning that it loses out on volume discounts. Frequent free text orders can also result in the creation of unwanted “shadow assortments” and significantly increase the number of suppliers.
Optimizing and standardizing procurement processes
The remedy is well-planned, strategic e-procurement: B2B procurement platforms, for example, can help procurement to maintain control over the buying process and prevent free text orders – while still supplying the workshop with screwdrivers, hexagon bolts and coffee as quickly as possible. On the Wucato digital purchasing platform, for example, various vendors can be bundled and requisition templates can be created for specific departments and employees. The intelligent search function of the B2B platform delivers a search result quickly thanks to stored synonyms, EAN codes or keywords, which users can quickly refine using the intuitive filter function to find the products they are looking for right away with minimal effort and as few clicks as possible. The guided buying function also makes it possible to define core and peripheral assortments. This makes it easier for the workshop, for example, to find the C parts it urgently needs – and procurement can be sure that it is sticking to the defined purchasing process.
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