How procurement and compliance teams can collaborate seamlessly

Procurement professionals can no longer afford to concentrate on their core duties of cost reduction,…...

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Procurement professionals can no longer afford to concentrate on their core duties of cost reduction, strategic sourcing, supply relationship management, category management, etc., and need accurate business compliance data besides standard metrics, such as spend analytics, a leading expert argues.

Brian Alster, Head of Supply and Compliance at the global business advisory firm, Dun & Bradstreet, which specialises in commercial data, analytics, and business insights, explains that consumers and investors alike demand clear evidence of compliance with a growing list of standards. These include ethically sourced, sustainable products and services, a diverse range of suppliers, and responsible business practices.

It is demanding too much to expect procurement pros to become overnight experts in a different professional field – legal compliance – but Alster says they can avail themselves of this vital knowledge by developing new forms of collaboration and information-sharing with their expert compliance colleagues. He proposes three strategies for building this collaboration:

Use one risk-based programme shared by both teams

Both teams share a desire to achieve effective cost reductions, observe due diligence, and manage risks, but compliance pros view these issues differently to procurement pros. Investing in tech that can generate risk-based programs capable of integrating the concerns of both teams and encompassing all aspects of onboarding, due diligence, and risk monitoring will allow both parties to agree on which third parties pose the greatest risks and facilitate more effective decision-making.

Overcome the jargon barrier

Different professionals use different technical languages. One solution is to create a new internal leadership role focussed on standardising processes and languages between the different teams.

Make technology the common denominator

When two teams wishing to collaborate use different systems, the scope for omissions and errors multiplies in respect of assessing third-party data. If collaboration is to work, both teams need a single, all-encompassing automated workflow solution. As Alster puts it: “By using one tool to identify, analyse and store third-party information, you’re eliminating opportunities for error associated with time-consuming and expensive manual efforts.”

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