As a VP of Operations, when business leaders ask me for advice about optimizing business, I often tell them to start with their IT procurement process. Why? Because you don’t need to purchase less — you just need to purchase smarter.
For more than 10 years, I’ve been entrenched in financial planning, cost reduction and process improvement. And as a business leader, I view technology through the lens of optimization.
These days, I’m placing a lot of focus on leveraging automation to achieve optimization. I ask questions such as: How can we use automation to streamline processes and reduce costs? How can technology remove the busy work and help people do their jobs more efficiently so they can focus on higher-value tasks?
A great example of this occurred with an international hotel chain. Insight had worked with the company on a number of technology projects, but when we learned that its second largest hotel in the world required 12 people to handle the procurement for just that one location, I shook my head in disbelief.
The reason? The company was still using legacy procurement models, creating hours of tedious, manual tasks for its employees.
This was problematic on several levels. Besides burying employees in busy work — the thought of which hurts me at my core — the manual tasks left too much room for errors. They also created complicated spend reporting with limited visibility and slowed delivery time from request to deployment.
Moving from a traditional process like this to an e-procurement platform would allow the organization to consolidate vendors, streamline purchasing and cut the busy work out of its employees’ daily lives.
To that end, Insight introduced the hotel location’s IT decision-makers to our online purchasing experience. The customizable features of insight.com helped them achieve four key wins:
Those 12 people who had previously been bogged down by manually intensive tasks for procuring technology are now able to focus on bigger, higher-value projects for the company.
But the e-procurement process is much more than buying products. The automation that comes through e-procurement can ripple through the many layers of an organization to provide holistic optimization.
In the above example, the efficiencies the hotel chain realized from the e-procurement platform were just the tip of the iceberg. Moving to an e-procurement process with a single vendor also helped optimize configuration and deployment.
Before, the company’s IT infrastructure was fractured. Multiple vendors — each with their own processes and tools — were responsible for different steps in the procurement and deployment process. This made purchasing hopelessly complex.
Consolidating everything from server workstation configuration and standard asset tagging to network gear switches and routers into a single vendor made the process much more streamlined.
Now, the hotel chain’s entire IT infrastructure is running through Insight — and automation is the backbone of our relationship. We support the company’s IT with server workstation configuration, network gear switches, routers and standard asset tagging.
For example, when a hotel purchases devices, it all runs through its insight.com account. The products are asset-tagged and the buyer is automatically notified the day an item ships. This way users know in advance what assets are headed to which location so they can proactively add them to their database.
Automation and e-procurement are essential tools to optimize operations and control budget. And nothing thrills me more than to see employees freed from busy work and able to apply their unique skills in a higher-value capacity — helping the business thrive.
There’s more to these platforms than just purchasing. These are valuable tools to help your business purchase smarter from start to finish.
You may have a list of approved devices, but how are you ensuring that employees are only purchasing from that list? With the ability to create custom catalogs and automatically route approvals to the right people, you can reduce rogue spending while making it easier for buyers to find and order what they need.
Visibility into past purchasing can help your business better plan for the future. When you have an e-procurement platform with extensive reporting capabilities, you can use this data to figure out where you’re over- or under-spending, and identify potential compliance issues.
Purchasing through multiple channels creates a complex web of processes. When you consolidate into a single e-procurement platform, you make it quicker to buy and easier to manage IT assets. Plus, with all your purchasing data in one place, you gain increased visibility into your supply chain as a whole.
For more information about insight.com explore the Supply Chain Optimization solutions on our homepage.
This platform is 100% customizable, with industry-leading features that can save your business both time and money. Already have an online purchasing system or two? We can easily integrate third-party systems with ours via punch out. Your buyers will still have near real-time access to product information, availability and custom pricing — with a more streamlined experience.