7 Core Procurement Process Steps

Introduction to the Procurement Process

A successful procurement process allows businesses to be able to effectively produce and offer goods to customers.

Since most organizations rely on third-party vendors for raw materials, parts, and products, developing a well-structured procurement process will ensure cost-efficiency and minimize delays to customer service.

What is the Procurement Process?

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The procurement process involves a series of steps that an organization takes in order to acquire goods or services to meet its operational objectives.

The specific steps to the process will vary, depending on the business, its goals, and size. However, it usually entails determining what goods the organization needs, researching for reliable vendors, and establishing and negotiating contract terms.

An effective procurement process is important because the capital used for obtaining goods comes from the business's revenue. These activities will directly affect the company's savings; therefore, a cost-efficient system will help safeguard their bottom line.

7 Steps to the Procurement Process

To ensure that the business is allocating the right amount of resources for goods and services, owners should implement the 7-step process to procurement.

1. Identify What the Business Needs

The procurement process begins when business owners identify what goods and services they need to purchase from vendors.

Management teams should have full visibility into their organization and acknowledge the different demands of each department. This will help with highlighting opportunities to save and cut costs.

Once all needs are listed down, managers should begin establishing their budgets to prevent accidental overspending.

2. Create a List of Suppliers

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Partnering with the right supplier is crucial and requires careful research. When looking for vendors, management teams should find providers who sell goods at the best price. They should also look for suppliers who have a good track record and will provide goods in a timely manner.

Creating a list of suppliers can help executives compare their options and find the best one that aligns with their needs.

Some key supplier attributes that organizations should focus on include

  • Accountability
  • Production capacity

  • Communication

  • Ethics

  • Transparency

  • Interest in building a partnership

3. Negotiate a Contract With Suppliers

Once a supplier is chosen, management teams must communicate with the supplier and create a contract. At this stage, it is important to establish a fair price that both parties can agree to.

The contract should also cover requirements for the supplier, such as delivery time and location, as well as conditions in the case that expectations for the goods and services are not met.

The organization should keep a copy of the contract on hand so that teams can refer to it whenever necessary.

4. Create a Purchase Order

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Next, the business can create a purchase order to procure the goods from their chosen supplier. This document will typically include

  • A concise description of the goods and services that the business wants to buy

  • Quantity of goods

  • Total cost

  • Approval of workflow

By finalizing the purchase order, the finance team can proceed with processing and approving the purchase. Afterward, they will send the details of the order to the supplier through email.

5. Obtain Invoice and Pay Suppliers

Once the purchase order is sent, the supplier will provide an invoice that indicates the agreed total and details on how they should be paid.

Depending on the contract, the business will have a specific amount of days to send a payment. However, it is recommended that invoices be paid as soon as possible to prevent inadvertent forgetfulness and late fees. Additionally, paying on time will help businesses foster a strong and dependable relationship with their suppliers.

The invoice should be stored in a filing cabinet or secured online system so that business teams can refer back to it in the future.

6. Delivery of Goods and Audits

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Goods are often typically delivered along with the invoice, but this will vary depending on the established contact. For example, some vendors will require companies to pay for the order before they provide the goods.

When the order arrives, quality control staff should inspect the products to make sure the order is in the right quantity and quality. If the order meets the company's expectations, they should follow through and process the new inventory goods.

In the case that the order arrived late or that items are missing or damaged, the manager should contact the supplier and quickly remedy the issue to prevent delays in the supply chain.

7. Create a Record for Invoices

Companies should archive all incoming invoices, receipts, and payment records. This will be helpful when business teams want to perform an audit and assess how much capital they spent during a given period on inventory. This will give executives full visibility into their operation and ensures they are not overspending.