From handling purchase orders to tracking inventory levels to manually checking invoices and updating spreadsheets, it’s easy to get caught in the chaos of procurement. But even one error can lead to costly mistakes and missed opportunities. In fact, the complicated process and lack of proper guidelines make it easier to make errors.
That’s why you need SOPs for procurement.
With the right SOPs, you gain clarity, structure and consistency in operations. You clearly understand the steps to take, what needs to be done and when.
The fact you can optimize your workflow and achieve procurement goals with ease has a domino effect on your team’s productivity and efficiency, contributing to your organization’s success as a whole.
Basically, everything changes for the better. Read on to understand why SOPs are essential for effective procurement and how you can use them to improve your existing process.
Steal inspo from these 5 SOP examples today.
Why having SOPs for procurement is so important
Procurement is a time-consuming and detail-oriented process, which means it’ll quickly become a headache if not managed properly. SOPs provide your procurement team with tested instructions and best practices, which make it less overwhelming.
Here are the key benefits of SOPs for procurement and why they‘re absolutely critical:
- Consistency: With procurement SOPs in place, you can ensure the process remains consistent across the board. Every employee involved will follow the same guidelines, reducing the chances of errors and misunderstandings. It’s also way easier to train new employees, who can refer to the SO peas to better understand the process.
- Efficiency: SOPs standardize key procurement processes, allowing you to identify and eliminate unnecessary steps and bottlenecks. This improves the overall process efficiency and reduces the time and effort required for each task. Your team can then focus on more strategic activities, meet objectives and deliver value to the organization.
- Quality control: Another benefit of SOPs is that they provide a framework for effective quality control in procurement. You can set guidelines for selecting suppliers, conducting due diligence and performing quality checks to get the best value for your money with lower risks of receiving sub-par products or services.
- Compliance: Compliance is crucial for any procurement team and SOPs can make it easier to follow all relevant laws and regulations. This includes everything from ensuring the suppliers meet the organization’s ethical standards to managing risks like supplier fraud and poor quality products to complying with data privacy regulations.
- Knowledge transfer: By documenting critical procurement processes and procedures in SOPs, you can ensure the easy sharing and retention of knowledge within your organization. This will not only enable team members to follow determined processes consistently, regardless of employee entry and exit but also help build a culture of continuous improvement.
- Transparency: SOPs for procurement also promote greater transparency between involved team members, enabling stakeholders to better understand how the team operates and the processes they follow. This builds trust with internal and external stakeholders and improves communication and collaboration across the organization.
Scribe tip: Get started with procurement SOPs. Duplicate and use our SOP template to save time and improve outcomes.
How to use SOPs to improve consistency and quality in procurement?
As a procurement leader, you and your team must be prepared for a wide range of challenges, from supplier selection to contract management. What’s more, each challenge significantly impacts your business’s success and finances.
Keeping this in mind, here are some of the top procurement challenges and how SOPs can help you overcome them:
Choosing the right supplier is a critical aspect of procurement, but it’s also equally daunting.
Without clear selection guidelines and criteria, your team may make subjective decisions, resulting in sub-par supplier choices. In contrast, a well-documented SOP outlines the selection process and evaluation criteria, among other factors, helping your team make objective decisions and choosing the right suppliers for the business.
🎓 Related reading: How to Build Powerful Logistic Management Processes to Optimize Your Supply Chain
Negotiation requires skill, knowledge and experience—and it’s unfair to assume everyone on the procurement team knows this art. On the contrary, if you don’t train your team members on how to approach negotiations, you’ll likely be stuck dealing with unfavorable terms and deals.
You can use SOPs to break down the guidelines and protocols for effective negotiation. This will make your team better equipped to handle negotiations and secure better business contracts.
Managing contracts is complex, more so when your organization deals with multiple suppliers and vendors.
Without a proper contact management system, it’s easy to lose track of important deadlines, renewal dates and other critical details. To avoid this, create a contract management process SOP to ensure your team stays organized and that all contracts are up-to-date and compliant.
Failure to comply with federal regulations and policies can result in fines, lawsuits and reputational damage—and that’s just scratching the surface. To make matters more complicated, compliance is one of the more complex aspects of a procurement process, where you need to understand the various regulations and policies and get your team members to follow them.
By having an SOP outlining compliance requirements, your team can stay on top of these requirements and keep your business compliant at all times, even with your limited intervention.
Managing costs is a critical concern for any procurement team. But without clear-cut processes for cost management, your team may overspend or miss opportunities to save money, both of which directly impact the bottom line.
In this case, you can create comprehensive SOPs covering different strategies like renegotiating supplier terms and eliminating maverick spending to help your team identify ways to save money and reduce costs for the business.
You can also include tutorials of cost management methodologies alongside your best practices and strategies.
Scribe tip: Check our SOP template blog post to understand the different types of templates you can use to level up your organization's procurement game.
Create effective SOPs for procurement with Scribe
Here’s an example of what a Scribe looks like:
You can customize your guides (also called Scribes) to add Smart blur, text, video and other elements, as well as share them via email and URL or embed it into a knowledge base or wiki so that it’s easier for you and your team to follow.
What’s more, every Scribe is a live and flexible document. So you can always revise and edit it as needed to reflect any changes made in your procurement process.
You don’t have to take our word—hear it straight from Lance, a product manager, who explains how Scribe has transformed the way they work on GQ:
“We are thrilled that we found this solution. Scribe will enable us to quickly create new (and rework old) instructions for our many products. Additionally, we can improve how we onboard internal staff with step-by-step guides for our processes. Scribe's tools can be learned in minutes. They don't bog it down with too many options and features, which is a good thing. The price is also fair, which made adoption a no-brainer.”
Enhance your procurement processes with SOPs
Let's face it; if you're not using SOPs, your procurement process could be heading toward a train wreck. Otherwise, your employees will be left scratching their heads when expected to know what to do at critical junctures.
On the other hand, with SOPs, your procurement process can become a well-oiled machine, with everyone empowered to perform their roles flawlessly.
Thanks to Scribe, SOPs don't have to be overwhelming or time-consuming ever again.
Use the free SOP tool to simplify and streamline your procurement process documentation.
Why not give Scribe a try? Sign up today for free and get ready to experience a whole new level of procurement success!