Most businesses need a diverse range of supplies and services to keep it running smoothly – good procurement is crucial to business success. This could range from stationery to uniform, paper to cleaning services, marketing support to recruitment.

At Cordant we are currently reviewing all procurement processes; ensuring we are agile, streamlined and above all that partnerships are sustainable.

This got me thinking about business buying habits. We’re all guilty of putting value before quality, but shopping around for the best deal means ending up with multiple suppliers.

Why can’t we have both value and quality, and what exactly do we define as ‘value’?

Value is the estimated worth of something… but think about how much time it takes to manage multiple supplier relationships; contacting suppliers, product audits/quality control, checking prices, chasing and tracking deliveries, raising purchase orders, making separate payments and querying invoices. Regardless of the product, there will be hidden costs for a single purchase order; administrative, resource and time… all of which are equally valuable.

With this in mind, it makes sense to consider supply partners who can effectively fulfil as many of your businesses needs within one contract. By streamlining to one trusted supplier, procurement managers can benefit from a whole host of advantages.

There will be the advantage of reduced cost through leveraging economy of scale – with one supplier you have more control and purchasing power, and increased transparency of spend and reporting. Improved stakeholder service will make it easier for your end-users to order and approve purchases which frees up more time to focus on strategic functions.

Compliance and efficiency will improve, ensuring better spend management and removing hidden costs, in turn, increasing efficiency across procurement and finance departments who will only have one supplier relationship to manage. A single point of contact will also enhance personal service, leading to stronger, longer-term collaborative relationships.

Cutting down your supply base or even switching to a strategic single supplier strategy would depend on the nature of your industry and the markets in which you trade. In these challenging economic times, many organisations are under pressure to better control their costs and identify potential savings. I believe a single-source can offer considerable competitive advantages.