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Enhancing Value through Procurement in Financial Services

By: Yatheesh Chandrasekaran

Procurement is a critical function in financial services that can contribute to business growth and success by delivering tangible benefits such as cost reduction, improved financial performance, and soft savings through cost avoidance. Procurement can also provide value through strategic sourcing, process improvements, and sustainable practices. By embracing challenges and expanding into new venues of value creation, procurement can position itself as a strategic partner, incorporating innovation, resilience, and sustainability throughout the value chain. Furthermore, effective risk management and supplier relationship management are crucial for enhancing procurement value.

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Procurement’s Evolution

Procurement in financial services has traditionally been criticized for its retrospective approach, primarily focused on cost optimization and compliance enforcement rather than driving innovation. However, a significant shift is underway as procurement teams evolve to become proactive agents of change.

In recent years, both procurement and front office management have undergone a transformation in mindset. Procurement now plays a pivotal role in driving the success of companies across various industries, including financial services. Particularly in this sector, procurement is increasingly recognized for its contribution to digitization efforts.

Front office teams are now turning to procurement to facilitate their digitization strategies, acknowledging its crucial role in ensuring smooth transitions. Procurement teams are actively involved in establishing processes, engaging with suppliers, and ensuring accurate data management to support digitization initiatives effectively.

This shift signifies a departure from procurement’s traditional role as a mere cost-cutting function to that of a strategic partner driving business transformation. By embracing this forward-looking approach, procurement teams are positioning themselves as essential catalysts for innovation and growth within financial services and beyond.

How Procurement drive Efficiency and Alignment?

  1. Financial services were criticized for slow adaptation, prioritizing revenue growth over risk management and cost-saving.
  2. The shift in mindset towards recognizing procurement’s role in driving efficiency and alignment.
  3. Procurement teams tasked with addressing efficiency challenges post-COVID, focusing on workspace optimization.
  4. Institutions rely on procurement to enhance the resourcing of physical spaces for collaborative work.
  5. Financial institutions reconfiguring workspaces to promote efficiency and collaboration with procurement support.

Cost Savings

One of the primary ways procurement teams in financial services can enhance value is through cost savings. Procurement teams can identify cost-saving opportunities through various methods. One way is to analyze spending data to identify areas of inefficiency and waste. By identifying bottlenecks, unnecessary steps, and areas of redundancy, teams can streamline their procurement procedures and reduce the time it takes to source suppliers, process purchase orders, or manage inventory. For example, a financial services company may have multiple departments that purchase the same products or services from different suppliers. By consolidating these purchases and negotiating better terms with a single supplier, the company can reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Another way procurement teams can achieve cost savings is by implementing cost reduction strategies such as supplier consolidation, negotiation for better terms, and value engineering. Procurement teams can review existing contracts with suppliers to ensure they are receiving the best possible terms and consider consolidating their vendor base to leverage economies of scale. For example, a financial services company may have multiple suppliers for office supplies, each with their own pricing and delivery terms. By consolidating these suppliers and negotiating better terms, the company can reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Procurement teams can also leverage technology to automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks and reduce the need for human intervention. For example, a financial services company may use an e-procurement system to automate the purchase order process, reducing the time it takes to process orders and improving accuracy. By automating these tasks, procurement teams can focus on more strategic activities such as supplier relationship management and strategic sourcing.

Strategic Sourcing

Another way procurement teams in financial services can enhance value is through strategic sourcing. Strategic sourcing involves identifying the best suppliers for a particular product or service based on factors such as quality, price, and delivery time. By strategically sourcing suppliers, procurement teams can reduce costs, improve quality, and increase efficiency.

One way procurement teams can achieve strategic sourcing is by conducting a thorough analysis of the supply market. This analysis should include factors such as supplier capabilities, pricing, and delivery times. By understanding the supply market, procurement teams can identify the best suppliers for a particular product or service and negotiate better terms.

Procurement teams can also achieve strategic sourcing by collaborating with suppliers to develop innovative solutions. For example, a financial services company may work with a supplier to develop a customized software solution that meets their specific needs. By collaborating with suppliers, procurement teams can develop solutions that are tailored to their specific needs, reducing cost and improving efficiency.

Process Improvement

Procurement teams in financial services can also enhance value through process improvement. Process improvement involves identifying areas of inefficiency in procurement processes and implementing changes to improve efficiency and reduce costs. By improving procurement processes, procurement teams can reduce the time it takes to source suppliers, process purchase orders, or manage inventory.

One way procurement teams can achieve process improvement is by implementing lean principles. Lean principles involve identifying and eliminating waste in procurement processes. For example, a financial services company may identify bottlenecks in their procurement process and implement changes to reduce the time it takes to process purchase orders.

Procurement teams can also achieve process improvement by implementing best practices. Best practices involve identifying the most efficient and effective ways to perform procurement activities. For example, a financial services company may implement a standardized process for sourcing suppliers, reducing the time it takes to identify and select suppliers.

Risk Management

Effective risk management is crucial for enhancing procurement value in financial services. Procurement teams must identify and manage risks associated with suppliers, products, and services. By effectively managing risks, procurement teams can reduce costs and improve efficiency.

One way procurement teams can achieve effective risk management is by conducting due diligence on suppliers. Due diligence involves conducting a thorough analysis of a supplier’s financial stability, reputation, and compliance with regulations. By conducting due diligence, procurement teams can identify potential risks associated with a supplier and take steps to mitigate those risks.

Procurement teams can also achieve effective risk management by implementing a supplier risk management program. A supplier risk management program involves identifying and assessing risks associated with suppliers and developing strategies to mitigate those risks. For example, a financial services company may develop a contingency plan in case a supplier is unable to deliver a product or service.

Procurement Finance

Procurement finance plays a critical role in driving efficient operations, managing costs, fostering sustainable supplier relationships, and enabling enterprises to adapt to market changes, respond to disruptions, and outperform competitors in terms of efficiency and cost-effectiveness. It involves managing the financial resources required for an enterprise’s procurement function, thereby optimizing cash flow and ensuring that procurement decisions align with the enterprise’s financial goals.

One way procurement teams can achieve procurement finance is by implementing a spend analysis program. A spend analysis program involves analyzing spending data to identify areas of inefficiency and waste. By identifying areas of inefficiency and waste, procurement teams can develop strategies to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Procurement teams can also achieve procurement finance by implementing a cost allocation program. A cost allocation program involves allocating costs associated with procurement activities to the appropriate departments or business units. By allocating costs, procurement teams can ensure that each department or business unit is responsible for the costs associated with their procurement activities.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, procurement teams in financial services can enhance value through various strategies such as cost savings, strategic sourcing, process improvement, risk management, and procurement finance. By embracing challenges, expanding into new venues of value creation, and implementing effective risk management and supplier relationship management, procurement can position itself as a strategic partner and contribute to business growth and success. Furthermore, by leveraging technology, collaborating with suppliers, and implementing best practices, procurement teams can achieve cost savings, improve efficiency, and reduce risks associated with procurement activities. Effective procurement finance is also crucial for driving efficient operations, managing costs, fostering sustainable supplier relationships, and enabling enterprises to adapt to market changes, respond to disruptions, and outperform competitors in terms of efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

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