Efficiency is the name of the game in the supply chain, and that's a principle that should apply to all aspects of your business, not just shipping and receiving. One area where you might be able to make some considerable gains on this front is the purchasing department, and even a few small changes could go a long way toward ensuring long-term success.

Perhaps the most effective way to do this is to simply work to improve your company's relationships with its various suppliers, through openness and clear efforts to build a long-term relationship that doesn't need to be reconsidered on a regular basis, according to Concord. That way, you trust them to deliver the goods your company needs, and they trust you to keep up your ordering patterns and stay in regular contact about how things are going. In these cases, paying a little bit of a premium on some items may be worth that extra peace of mind.

Building the right relationships is critical to effective purchasing.Building the right relationships is critical to effective purchasing.
At the same time, though, it's also critical to ensure you also have a larger network to draw from in times of need, so that if your purchasing efforts from a preferred partner experience an unexpected hiccup (or even an anticipated problem), other sources can be tapped, the report said. That way, you always have a fallback position available and will be more likely to stay in a good spot no matter what issues other partners experience.

Utilize technology
While a lot of building and maintaining relationships with partners is relatively reliant on centuries-old practices, it's also important to make sure you're using the latest technology to manage the aspects that undergird those connections, according to Fraxion. For instance, many companies still rely on a mix of paper and electronic files in their purchasing departments, and doing what you can to eliminate as much of the physical documents as you can is a great way to move forward.
That may be particularly true when it comes to ensuring there's a clear course for every order you take, and that no data goes missing at a time when it's absolutely critical, the site said. With an all-electronic purchasing process in place, you will never lose the all-important details of a given order, and can be more confident in proceeding with other aspects of your company's work.

Look inward
As much as purchasing is certainly an outward-facing portion of your business, it's also important to solicit feedback from people within your company to see how the current or planned purchasing processes are or will affect them, according to River Star. That way, everyone working in procurement can get together and figure out how to make sure what they do makes things easier for their coworkers in different departments, such as right-sizing orders, figuring out when replacement parts need to be shipped and so on.
Generally speaking, when your purchasing department does more to reconsider both its inter- and intra-office processes on an ongoing basis, it will typically have more success in finding the efficiency needed to take your whole company to the next level.
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