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Modern Purchasing Opportunities and Challenges

Whether it’s energy or any other industry, executives who have made their way up the ranks over the past three decades know from personal experience just how far purchase management has come. It wasn’t that long ago when procurement was often more of an afterthought for companies than anything that would be viewed as a core competency. However, as global markets have changed and technology has increased competition, more businesses of all sizes are taking a more in-depth look at their purchasing processes.

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July 31, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Purchasing Software Is No Longer Optional

While most companies have already realized the vital role of technology in procurement, a recent move by Cisco really drove this point home. Cisco announced that their former chief information officer was becoming their senior vice president of operations. And of her duties, Cisco’s supply chain is at the top of the list. Because of the sheer size of Cisco, this move really makes it clear just how crucial technology has become in regards to the supply chain and the role of purchase managers. That’s why over fifty percent of CPOs have clear plans to increase their investments in technology during 2015.

Getting Up to Speed on Procurement Technology

The point when technology started to become an essential part of purchasing can be traced back to about twenty years ago. Since then, the role of technology in procurement has grown on an often exponential basis. From budget tolerances to big data, technology has become indispensable for any company that cares at all about their purchasing process. Not only can technology make the process more effective, but it can also ensure that important tasks like compliance are properly managed.

Finance Departments Are Focusing on Technology

It wasn’t that long ago when many purchasing departments felt like they were a kind of island within their organization. But even though tight integration was rarely the norm, that tide has shifted. In recent years, departments like finance are working closely with purchase managers. They’ve  started to understand just how much purchasing automation can help move the needle for a company when this department is using the right kinds of purchasing software.

The Right Type of Purchasing Software for Small and Mid Market Businesses

Although it’s useful for smaller businesses to stay on top of the trends that are shaping the corporate landscape, the specific tools being used in a corporate environment may not be the optimal fit for a smaller organization. If you’re a purchasing manager for a small or mid market business, you need purchasing software that can adapt to the customized work flows you deal with on a regular basis.

In order to be effective, PO software needs to be easy to use. From vendor research to streamlining the approval process, this type of system only works when it makes employees lives easier. That’s why so many purchasing managers in small and mid market businesses love Bellwether Purchasing Software. Our software is packed with features to meet your purchasing automation needs. However, those features weren’t added just for the sake of having a long list of things to brag about.

Instead, Bellwether Purchasing Software was specifically built with small business and mid market purchasing managers in mind. This focus means the software is very intuitive to use and has all the features that managers need to fully optimize the purchasing process! Contact us today to learn how Bellwether Purchasing Software can help your company meet their purchasing goals or try our Live Demo.

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July 31, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Purchase Manager Skillsets to Focus on in 2015 and Beyond

It’s no secret that purchasing is going through some significant and rapid changes. While the changing landscape of purchase management is clear, what isn’t as evident is whether or not professionals are keeping up with skillsets needed to adapt to those changes. Given that as many as one-third of all professionals are involved in projects that are attempting to accomplish something that hasn’t been done before, it’s easy to understand why new additional skillsets are so important.

Taking a Critical Look

Ensuring that purchasing is ready to ride those changing tides starts by thoroughly evaluating talent capability. By taking the time to go through this type of assessment, it becomes possible to accurately determine if each stage is going to be deliverable. One reality that many organizations have to face as they grow is that the processes or people that got them to a certain stage may not be the right fit for getting to the next stage.

The Importance of Negotiation and Other Skills

Of all the skills that are viewed as vital to purchasing management but are most often lacking, negotiation is near the top of the list. That being said, due to changes within this field, it’s no longer the skill that’s at the very top. The new reality of purchasing means professionals need the right skills to handle a client-orientated approach, as well as have the ability to sell the function of procurement to other internal stakeholders.

So, how can department heads ensure that their team has the right skills? One option is to start at the top and ensure that the right skills are passed down. Another option is to look to outside sources for proven training. It’s also important that professionals at all levels are open to the increased usage of technology.

How to Stay Ahead of the Curve

Although all the change within this field may initially seem to paint a somewhat bleak outlook for purchase managers, that doesn’t need to be the case. On the contrary, professionals who stay abreast of changes and are willing to adapt should feel that there’s a lot to be excited about. Since technology is at the heart of what’s driving changes within purchasing, professionals can stay ahead of the curve by embracing the right type of purchasing software.

For purchasing managers who want to maximize the effectiveness of their purchasing process, Bellwether Purchasing Software is the optimal purchasing software to use. With a long list of features that range from customized work flows to enforcing budget thresholds, our purchasing software is specifically designed to ensure that procurement departments have everything they need to stay on top of changes. If you have any additional questions about how Bellwether Purchasing Software can keep your purchasing practices ahead of the curve, don’t hesitate to contact us and learn more about the benefits of our purchasing software or sign up for our Live Demo or FREE 30 Day Trial.

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July 31, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Purchasing Performance in the Right Context

As a purchasing manager, it’s important to understand how CEOs and CFOs evaluate the performance of purchasing departments. If this type of discussion is taking place in a formal setting, a common approach is to reconcile your savings claims with changes in financial statements. Purchasing managers across a wide range of industries have found that approach works well for building credibility.

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July 31, 2015
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BY Bellwether
The Role of Purchasing Managers in 2015

While purchasing managers have always played an important role within in companies, there was a time when their role was not very visible. However, there has been a significant shift over the last few years. Because supply chains have become a focal point for businesses across numerous industries, purchasing managers are being tapped to create prominent strategies around cost-savings and realizing efficiencies.

Since purchasing is a core activity for businesses, managers need to view their department as part of the bigger whole. What this means is that purchasing managers not only need to understand the strategic and marketing goals that their company is pursuing, but they need to look for ways to proactively support those efforts.

Preventing Companies from Stagnating

Businesses frequently fall into the trap of sticking to the way that things have always been done. While there’s something to be said for not trying to fix things that aren’t broken, getting too comfortable with the status quo can have consequences down the line. Because this is a problem that plenty of companies have to face at some point, the good news is purchasing managers are in an ideal position to help avoid it.

When purchasing managers take the time to fully understand their company on a holistic level, they can start looking for areas that have the potential to be improved. By then looking into those areas and pursuing the right buy-ins from other departments, procurement has the ability to chart an ideal course for a company’s future.

How the Right Purchasing Software Can Help

Another way that purchasing managers can have a significant impact on their company is by finding the best ways to actually enforce the spending and budget policies that are in place. Although employees across various departments may not think that small overages are a big deal, those types of issues start to add up.

For small and mid-market companies, the best way to stay on top of this issue is by using Bellwether Purchasing Software. We specifically built our purchasing software for managers like you. As a result, it makes it easier than ever to take control of maverick spending and enforce approvals.

Another important aspect of our software is it doesn’t require IT resources. That means you’ll have a much easier time getting everyone on board with it. And once you make this transition, you’ll be in a position that allows you to automate purchasing processes and eliminate paper. The bottom line for you and your company is this increased efficiency will enable you to save time and money.

For more details about how Bellwether Purchasing Software can help your entire company, please contact us.

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July 4, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Proven Ways to Improve Supplier Relationships

It’s important for purchasing departments to maintain professional relationships with suppliers. That being said, it doesn’t always make sense to conduct business in an overly formal manner. The reason is being too formal can get in the way of effective communication. By finding smart ways to overcome that barrier, it becomes possible to reap the benefits that go along with having more personal relationships with suppliers.

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July 4, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Technology Helps Businesses Stay Ahead of the Curve

Starting a business is never an easy task. Even with the best team and the right strategy, obstacles are still going to come up. While there’s no way to avoid challenges, new businesses that find the right way to face them can eventually get on the path to success. After overcoming so many obstacles, it’s hard to beat the feeling of a business finally hitting its stride.

Although getting a business to the point where it’s sustainable and continuing to grow is a significant accomplishment, that’s not the point when a team should rest on their laurels. Regardless of how long a business has been performing well, the reality is that it can quickly slip away.

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July 4, 2015
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BY Bellwether
How Millennials Are Influencing B2B Purchasing

Millennials are a demographic that get a lot of coverage in the press. Millennials being unable to find jobs and dealing with large amounts of student debt are two of the most popular topics for big publications to cover. While those topics make for good stories, they don’t paint a full picture of where millennials are at.

Although it’s true that a percentage of millennials are struggling to find their place in the professional world, a large number of millennials are already in the workforce. Not only are they working, but they’re already starting to move up the corporate ladder. That’s why research shows that in less than five years, millennials will account for more than 50% of the workforce.

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July 4, 2015
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BY Bellwether

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