Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the foundation of Africa’s development and economy.

According to the World Bank, emerging market SMEs are responsible for creating 70% of regular employment and are an important part of economic development.

The ability to overcome financial pressure is important because many SMEs struggle to do more with less effort.

Some SMEs are responsive and offer short-term relief, but can adopt opportunistic cost-cutting measures that are often disruptive in the long run.

Successful SMEs choose to take a proactive approach by adopting approaches such as strategic sourcing to drive cost savings and efficiency.

Strategic procurement

Strategic procurement is a game changer. Leverage the power of technology and data to meet your sourcing needs.

By incorporating organizational goals and unique market conditions, strategic sourcing creates efficiency and predictability while helping to reduce costs.

Companies that take a data-driven approach can make credible decisions about supplier-related issues.

In this regard, SMEs need to have a complete picture of procurement spending and be able to answer some basic questions. What am I buying? Who do you buy from? And how much do I spend?

By addressing these questions, strategic sourcing allows companies to develop optimal strategies for purchasing goods and services – directly related to the production process or for internal use.

There are two important factors for SMEs who want to enjoy the benefits of today’s strategic sourcing.

1: Utilization of digital supplier network

With access to a dynamic digital marketplace, SMEs can adapt their procurement requirements to qualified and competent suppliers around the world. Importantly, the more suppliers involved, the greater the source of purchasing power.

With just a few clicks, the Digital Supplier Network allows buyers to post their procurement needs, compare bids from different suppliers, and make credible decisions about which supplier to buy from.

Leveraging a digital supplier network is important for building long-term procurement partnerships, thereby improving efficiency and reducing costs.

2: Innovative sourcing tool

SMEs need access to intuitive sourcing tools that enable seamless creation, execution, and management of sourcing events.

The use of tools such as electronic auction platforms is invaluable. Electronic auctions allow companies to post procurement requirements on online platforms, run timed online events, and protect goods and services at competitive prices.

Procurement management in SMEs

Strategic sourcing is a good starting point for managing supplier relationships and is an integral part of increasing efficiency, reducing costs and creating a sustainable competitive advantage. As part of this series on leveraging technology in customer relationships, the next two articles will focus on operating the supplier engagement process and managing the effective supplier experience.

1. Strategic procurement: It starts with finding a supplier, agreeing to the best pricing, and signing a contract.

2. Commerce automation: The focus then shifts to making the process of involving suppliers more efficient, transparent and collaborative.

3. Supplier Experience Management: The focus then shifts to continuous improvement through joint innovation to optimize supplier experience and processes.

Click here to download the Oxford Economics White Paper on Procurement and Supply Chain.