Cloud-based technology can improve the procurement function by delivering fast data sharing across networks, as well as improved communication between trading partners, a cloud technology expert claims. Writing for Supply & Demand Chain Executive, supply chain cloud tech aficionado, Pete Nelson, says that while delivering crucial functions, such as efficient category management, opportunity assessment, strategic sourcing, and much else, procurement is one of the last supply chain processes to benefit from for emerging new technologies. But cloud-based technology, Nelson says, is changing that.
Procurement, Nelson writes, tends to be highly siloed, especially for data. But the cloud can solve this by making it available to supply chain colleagues so that more effective interoperability and collaboration can emerge. He says: “This collaboration, where trusted partners are invited into a shared cloud-based community with visibility to all transactions, is one of the opportunities cloud-based procurement helps enable. Imagine cloud-based procurement as a place where everything is online and buyers and sellers are able to become more agile to facilitate faster transactions.”
Nelson believes that the cloud is uniquely equipped to prevent stock depletion, especially crucial in healthcare, where interruptions to the flow of medical supplies and equipment can have life or death consequences. The cloud, he explains, not only speeds up replenishment but can create the opportunity for replenishments that can refill automatically. According to Nelson, cloud-based procurement also eliminates people-and process-caused obstacles, so that shipments happen smoothly. He insists that it doesn’t mean the elimination of jobs, just the removal of laborious tasks, freeing practitioners to concentrate on innovative and creative issues needing human judgement and expertise.
Data and security risks will need to be assessed and mitigated, with authorised information visibility being crucial, and staff must be trained. But the benefits outweigh these necessities. As Nelson says: “procurement can truly be the star of the supply chain cloud.”