Procurement Industries

Ways IT Procurement Can Help With Sustainable Purchasing

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10 minute read

Posted by

Alan McPhaul

With the world being made smaller through online communications, ideas and principles are becoming more universal. One of these lines of thoughts is sustainability and in today's society, sustainability is at the forefront of everyone’s agenda. With IT procurement software, you can ensure your purchasing is in line with this shared principle. 

Sustainability is a concept that one should be mindful of their actions and the consequences of such actions on social, economic, and environmental landscapes. Sustainable purchasing is purchasing that contributes to the growth of communities, economies, and environments. An IT procurement software can enable your business to realize sustainable purchasing through the following:

  • Pinpoint opportunities within your purchasing that can impact sustainability
  • Analyze your principles and the avenues that push forward your belief system
  • Measure your performance and actions taken
  • Communicate your work to push forward the message

According to the World Economic Forum, “We are in the middle of a paradigm shift. Consumer pressure, fuelled by social media, is driving commercial organizations to do more than pay lip-service to the global socio-environmental impact of their supply chains.” With IT procurement software, your company can grow and maintain its competitive advantages while implementing sustainable purchasing. 

Below we will look at some features within IT procurement software that allows companies to pinpoint, analyze, measure and communicate their activities towards sustainable purchasing. 

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REQUISITION AND ORDERING

Requisition software

IT procurement software enables your purchasing to have sophistication. This allows for your organization to have greater visibility, greater networking across departments, and stronger collaboration within and outside of your organization. 

These aspects of sophisticated purchasing allow for the creation of processes for sustainability and will help your business manage the intricacies involved. IT procurement software affords the waste reduction needed to realize sustainable purchasing while also realizing cost efficiency. 

IT procurement encourages process improvement to advance efforts in sustainable purchasing. Through easy to use collaborative tools such as purchase requisition systems where departments can combine needs, messaging systems to communicate in real time, and approval workflows, your team can contribute to sustainable purchasing by:

  • Combine orders to reduce order frequency
  • Set order thresholds so your not ordering low quantities
  • All ordering done virtually to avoid paper waste
  • Purchase optimal quantities to ensure you are not ordering to much

An IT procurement software can help make these items a priority. By doing so you can reduce your supply chain waste by becoming a more efficient operation and ordering at more optimal levels.

IT procurement software produces sustainable purchasing in this manner by controlling order frequency. It decreases non-ideal shipment capacities and ensures your organization is ordering in a way to support the least amount of transportation possible. By reducing transportation needs you reduce fuel emissions, cause less traffic, and reduce the need for equipment required for the transportation of goods.

With IT procurement software everything is processed and done through electronic transactions. This reduces the need for paper which is a huge effort in sustainable purchasing.  

In one case study, Fetchr, a delivery service app provider and delivery service, was able to reduce piles of paper waste through the implementation of IT procurement software. You can read how they benefited from the software here.

With the requisition and ordering features in an IT procurement software, you can pinpoint your ordering frequency and levels, analyze if you are ordering in a sustainable fashion, measure the impacts of your ordering processes and communicate with stakeholders the reason and impact of the process change. 

SUPPLIER MANAGEMENT

Supplier management tool

IT procurement software should also double as a supplier management software. This entails managing the list of suppliers and everything important to that supplier. You want to ensure the partners you are purchasing from move the vision of sustainable purchasing forward. 

If you are pushing sustainable purchasing forward and you are actively spreading this message, you have to ensure your suppliers share the same principles. The supplier management software feature of IT procurement software can help by evaluating suppliers based on your expectations.

The supplier management software feature will have score cards that help identify suppliers who should be reused or for those that should never be used. You can quickly build a database of approved suppliers for your team with comprehensive details about your partners. 

The supplier management software feature will then ensure your team only purchases from approved suppliers. Your staff can also complete updates on the suppliers list to ensure all records are up to date as well as keeping comprehensive documentation of interactions with suppliers.  

These supplier management software tools allow for you to do your due diligence on your partners at all times to ensure they are following your guidelines in regards to sustainable purchasing. 

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “It's important to be aware that some companies or organizations will sometimes make inaccurate claims which make their products or services seem more environmentally preferable than they really are. This process is known as ‘greenwashing’. To better navigate the marketplace look for credible ecolabels and standards and ensure all claims are verified by a third party certifier or meet the Federal Trade Commission's Guides to the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims.” The supplier management software feature can help with this issue.

Within the IT procurement software, you can apply and upload all necessary documentation associated with that supplier. You can import certifications, licenses and other official documentation to ensure your partners are on the up and up.

You can also create, manage and upload contracts within the IT procurement software. These methods establish audits and controls to reduce the risk of dealing with unethical partners who do not share your same commitment to sustainability.

You can also keep a record of other options for items amongst a list of suppliers in case an issue arises. Raw material and components can easily be found in the supplier management software tool in case you need to source an alternative. You can even customize your list with categories and subcategories to make finding appropriate suppliers even easier within the software.

You can also put in sections or categories for suppliers that are local within the IT procurement software. By purchasing locally, you are reducing the transportation time and emissions from point of production and point of delivery. Also you are supporting your local communities by putting money back into where you are doing business. 

IT procurement software can push your commitment to sustainable purchasing through the supplier management software features. The software can allow you to demonstrate your dedication to sustainable purchasing by using your influence on your partners. The software will allow you to form strong partnerships that nurture sustainable operations. 

For help in how IT procurement software can evaluate suppliers, you can click here

With the supplier management software features in an IT procurement software, you can pinpoint the suppliers you would potentially want to do business with, analyze if they are dedicated to pushing sustainability forward, measure their commitment to the cause and communicate with them to hold them accountable to your level of commitment of sustainability. 

DATA MANAGEMENT

data management tool

An important feature of IT procurement software is data management. It allows for visibility so you can trace data and analytics all the way to the transactions at the item level. By having this level of data and detail, you can leverage this to make more informed decisions into sustainable purchasing. 

Having digital versions of data and catalogs within your IT procurement software reduces the need of paper documentation as well as increases the ease of finding the necessary information when needed. This contributes to sustainable purchasing through the reduction of waste. 

Being able to see the flow of purchasing within the IT procurement software is integral in maintaining sustainable purchasing. In order to satisfy stakeholders, you should be able to present justification on purchases of items. Such things can include:

  • Ensure purchases of items made from recycled material
  • Buy non-hazardous products
  • Look for organic components
  • Origin, safety, and authenticity of products

In IT procurement software, the ability to create master lists of items, organize and categorize them can ensure you are purchasing according to sustainable requirements. By adding structure and documentation, you can control and adjust your purchasing behavior. 

Scot Case in one of his Walmart Sponsored Series on the Triple Pundit said, “Sustainable purchasing is based on the simple concept that every single purchase has hidden human health, environmental, and social impacts and that it is possible to reduce adverse impacts by buying better products.” By utilizing data management solutions within IT procurement software, you can track and censure you are buying accordingly. 

Using IT procurement software to manage your data affords the transparency you need in order to attain sustainable purchasing. This transparency can help in process improvement as well as with providing any documentation needed to satisfy any inquiries into your organization.

You can see how using IT procurement software will help transform your business here.

Procurement Transformation

With IT procurement software, you can pinpoint data points efficiently, analyze your operation through the use of customizable reports, measure your progress over time and communicate all necessary information to your partners.

CONCLUSION

IT procurement software through its features of requisition and ordering as well as supplier and data management, enables your organization to move towards sustainable purchasing.

These features within the IT procurement software, allow you to pinpoint areas of opportunities, analyze your current position, measure your performance and communicate with partners your vision. 

Sustainable purchasing has the added benefit of cost reduction as well driving profitability. As you are working within the IT procurement software to reduce waste and make items more efficient, you are also increasing your bottom line. 

 The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council said it best, “Sustainable purchasing put simply, it is core business, for every organization. And since the majority of organizational impact occurs deep in supply chains, transformational change requires that all organizations, regardless of size or sector, harness the power of procurement to reduce their impact.” IT procurement software is the key to this transformational change towards sustainable purchasing. 

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