Many companies in the supply chain have made steps to modernize some aspects of their operations in recent years, but in a lot of ways, they may still be doing the same basic things they did years ago. For that reason, purchasing managers in particular may want to examine their internal procurement processes and see if there are any changes they can make to modernize their efforts. Doing so could increase efficiency and, in the long run, save enough money to provide a complete return on investment.

The first thing purchasing managers need to understand about this issue is that even if they aren't making efforts to modernize their processes in some way, the competition almost certainly is, according to VNDLY. Typically, such efforts will start with adoption of a new, modern software platform that allows them to track and manage things like inventory, shipments and more on an ongoing basis, in as close to real time as possible. Many organizations currently use legacy software that has been customized time and again to meet their companies' needs, but now handle so much data that the programs have become unwieldy and unreliable.

The future is now for your procurement department.The future is now for your procurement department.

However, with modern operations, data in one department will typically be less siloed-off from the rest of the company, and it becomes easier for purchasing managers to monitor needs based on budget and operational requirements, the report said. That means all potential stakeholders need to have a say in figuring out what course modernization will take.

What's at stake
Companies that want to make sure they can do more to smooth all their processes and both internal and external communications would be wise to get buy-in from their supply chain partners, but that's not always easy, according to PYMNTS. The obvious advantages of high-tech adoption is that it speeds every aspect of procurement, but you also need to be able to complete the financial aspects of sales with an all-digital approach as well.

As many as 3 in 5 companies specializing in business-to-business transactions don't even have a website of their own, so the idea of everyone simultaneously becoming a high-tech, engaged partner is likely far-fetched (at least initially), the report said. But if even a small number of organizations can demonstrate the value of adoption, the pressure to adopt may build to a critical mass.

How high-tech is too-high-tech?
Given the slow build toward adoption of even basic modern software, going well beyond your current capabilities may not seem to be in the cards any time soon. However, as the blockchain becomes a big point of focus, interest in such technology may be on the rise, according to a recent Deloitte survey. Across the U.S., more than 3 in 5 companies say they plan to make at least $1 million in investments toward blockchain adoption over the next 12 years, potentially giving them even more insight into their purchasing strategies and shipping networks.

Of course, that kind of involvement isn't for everyone and it's important for your business to strategize carefully about whatever steps you take toward a more modern procurement process.

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