I am always surprised when I see companies using email to manage the request for quote (RFQ) process and the subsequent supplier responses, it’s just not an efficient way to do business.
In some ways it’s easy to understand, everyone has email, it’s simple to use and after all, email offers the least path of resistance, but does it mean your team and business is complying with good procurement practice?
Email has its place, but as a sourcing tool it has a number of downsides that could be costing you more than lost productivity.
Lack of Visibility
First of all, a business that allows its team to use email for sourcing, lacks visibility not just of spend, but of specification data, the supplier selection process, pricing and all other communications that occur through the quoting process.
This is business critical IP that while not lost, is tied up in an individual’s email and not easily accessible to the business.
The reality is, the information belongs to the business, not the individual, and just like a CRM system, good procurement software delivers tools to both the user and the business to ensure that all information is both visible and easily accessed by all stakeholders.
We all know that your greatest strength can also be a weakness, and this applies to email.
Anyone can send and receive an email and typically there are few, if any, controls over content.
This means that businesses that use email to source have no way of managing procurement compliance. The checks and balances needed to ensure approvals, adherence to best practice, audibility and probity are simply not in place.
If you’ve ever been on the end of a procurement audit, it can be a harrowing experience as external consultants demand access to your information and data.
When we hear about a sourceit client going through an audit process, we know they’re comfortable as they don’t just have access to spend data, they can demonstrate a structured and standardized process for all sourcing activity undertaken on behalf of the client.
Remember, you’re spending your client’s money and your ability to source and manage the process effectively is how and why you can add a margin.
It’s very common for people to confuse business with productivity, they think if they do a lot of work they are productive.
In the sourcing process email keeps people busy, responding to individual suppliers, checking returned emails, printing supplier quote letters and comparing prices.
Clients are demanding more and in order to improve performance, you need to get your productivity on.
Check out the video by clicking on the image and you’ll see first- hand just how sourceit’s Market module drives more productive outcomes for users by standardizing and automating as many steps as possible in the sourcing process.
In fact, in just 83 seconds, the user creates a quote, sends to suppliers, reviews supplier pricing, margins the quote, generates a quote letter, sends the quotes to the customer and awards the job to the supplier
This is the level of functionality that email cannot compete with and why continuing to use email to source simply makes you less efficient and adds additional cost to your business.
No single points of dependency
Using email as your sourcing tool creates a single point of failure in your business that must be addressed.
People get sick, they go on holiday or they leave your business, and this has the potential to create havoc as other team members attempt to locate the ‘missing’ data from other user’s emails.
Implementing an application such as sourceit that centralizes and standardizes the sourcing process onto a single platform that all team members can access, provides multiple levels of redundancy and back-up in the event that any team member is away or can’t access quote and job details.
Risk is mitigated, compliance improved and importantly you can manage customer inquiry quickly and efficiently.
If you’re managing larger contracts, delivering cost savings is usually a key outcome or KPI that your performance will be measured against.
However, cost savings are most likely not a key driver for your team who simply want a convenient way to source and award jobs to favoured suppliers.
Email cannot capture or record savings for your business, which limits your ability to demonstrate the value that you deliver to clients.
Applications such as sourceit, not only help with the sourcing process, but ensure your business is capturing and measuring realised savings, supplier performance, milestone conformance and wide range of other procurement initiatives that can help build stronger relationships with your clients.
There is no doubt that email is a good business tool, but it’s not fit for purpose for every activity.
If you’re using email to manage the sourcing process, why not take some time to conduct a quick audit, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- do you have instant access to customer, supplier and quote information if the team member responsible was not in the office,
- can other team members help you respond to customer or supplier queries quickly and easily,
- how many steps in the process can be automated,
- how do you manage the supplier selection process, and
- what reporting can you extract relating to spend, cost avoidance, realized savings and supplier performance.
If you are using email as your prime sourcing tool, why not talk with us today and let show you how sourceit can improve productivity and performance within your business.
About Sourceithq Pty Ltd
Sourceit is a fast-growing provider of affordable RFQ and job management software delivered via cloud-based Software-as-a-Services (SaaS) platform. Sourceit empowers buyers by simplifying the sourcing and procurement process by providing simple yet powerful solution nto help buyers identify the best quote from their preferred suppliers.
Sourceit offers three different products for buyers:
- Market – a specialized procurement and job management application for marketing service providers
- Catalog – an inventory management and on-demand product/service ordering application
- RFQ – a simple request for quote software for general products and services
Find our more at: www.sourceithq.com