Procurement Life Cycle vs Vendor Management: Full Guide

Joanna Okedara
Table of Contents
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    Increased net profit and risk mitigation in supplier relationships can be achieved by understanding the various objectives of vendor management and vendor procurement. All parties benefit from increased earnings when the vendor procurement and management processes are successfully integrated.

    Key Takeaway: Two of the most crucial components of supply chain management are sourcing and vendor management solutions. Finding and choosing vendors is the process of sourcing, and managing those suppliers is the process of vendor management.

    Let’s explore the differences, similarities, and benefits of procurement vs purchasing vs strategic sourcing vs vendor management.


    What is Strategic Sourcing?

    Strategic sourcing is a procurement method and vendor management best practices that integrates data gathering, spend analysis, market research, negotiation, and contracting. It does not include paying for the actual goods and services that are purchased.

    Using a single, integrated system to increase profitability is the core objective of strategic sourcing, which can be tailored to a customer's unique demands. Finding the most affordable vendor of goods is a simple sourcing approach. It is done in many different places and for a variety of business purposes.

    In stark contrast to routine sourcing, strategic sourcing is incredibly effective. Strategic sourcing takes into account more than just the purchase price; it also considers the operational costs associated with using vendors. With a focus on contract management, spend analysis, and continuous improvement, it has institutionalized itself as a component of procurement throughout time.

    The life cycle of your cash flow depends heavily on strategic sourcing. Reevaluating corporate purchasing initiatives on a regular basis is beneficial for all spend categories, including your supply chain, service delivery, and finished product.

    The three best methods for strategic sourcing include automating procedures, digitizing records, and joining a digital business network. Registering on online wholesale directories or BlueCart’s marketplace directory are great places to start.

    There are four steps to strategic sourcing procedure:

    • Data tracking and spend analysis: Spend analysis compiles supplier data into a single source, allowing businesses to see exactly where their money is going and offering the chance to simplify providers.
    • Supplier discovery: When businesses have access to supplier information via a digital business network, they can issue RFPs and invite suppliers to bid for their business, turning sourcing into a competitive advantage.
    • Contracting and negotiations: Automated tools, like vendor management software, can streamline the digital signature procedure, speed up workflows, and produce an electronic archive of contracts where businesses can set renewal notifications.
    • Implementation and optimization: Businesses can move more quickly, incorporate feedback loops for ongoing optimization, and continually assess suppliers to ensure they're receiving the finest sourcing agreements available when sourcing is automated and digitalized.

    Strategic sourcing is a dynamic process, whereas general sourcing keeps things straightforward. This is the major distinction between strategic sourcing and regular sourcing. 

    With strategic sourcing a business procurement procedures become less opportunistic and price-driven. Instead, a sourcing strategy can help them create a flexible structure that enhances the long-term worth of the company.

    The selection of a supplier list is based on data collected during data collection and market analysis, which is the first step in the process after examining business needs and historical spending.

    After negotiations and selection are complete, strategic sourcing also include performance monitoring and ongoing process improvement. Large companies with plenty of suppliers frequently engage in strategic sourcing.

    Manage and track your multiple vendors and streamline the entire procurement process. Download our free easy-to-use Wholesale Vendor Management Spreadsheet Templates.

    7 Steps in Strategic Sourcing of Vendors

    Although the strategic sourcing process has various variations, it is often divided into the following seven steps:

    1. Study the company's product categories, purchasing trends, operational procedures, and departments involved.
    2. Create a sourcing strategy based on your company's objectives.
    3. Make a supplier portfolio after researching the market for suppliers.
    4. Define the criteria and formats for requests for proposals.
    5. Choose providers after engaging in negotiation.
    6. Embrace any new vendors by integrating suppliers into current procedures.
    7. Monitor performance indicators and adjust the sourcing strategy as necessary.

    Vendor Procurement vs Sourcing

    Procurement refers to the range of activities and procedures necessary for businesses to acquire products and services. Despite the fact that this formally entails both strategic and administrative duties, procurement departments frequently concentrate on the routine e-procurement activities and processes, such as purchase orders, invoice templates, and payments.

    Strategic sourcing, on the other hand, places more emphasis on the actions taken prior to making a purchase, such as researching the market and your company's needs. Additionally, strategic sourcing considers the larger picture and uses extensive data sets to assess the importance of other criteria like ideal vendor relationships and decreased business risk. 

    Procurement often seeks out the lowest-priced alternative. The tactical, daily activities of procurement operations include sending purchase orders to suppliers. In contrast, strategic sourcing encompasses a range of sourcing activities, such as:

    • Sourcing and development
    • Strategic planning
    • Agreement negotiating
    • Outsourcing methods
    • Supply chain framework

    By taking into account variables such as vendor negotiation, supplier development, and outsourcing models, strategic sourcing enables you to match your purchasing power with strategy. Vendor procurement is intended to assist businesses in reducing their purchasing prices and putting risk management into practice within a contractual relationship.

    Negotiating a contract's terms and conditions to ensure high-quality items at low prices results in the reduction of costs. Businesses can cut costs by regularly evaluating new potential vendors with affordable prices.

    In order to increase a company's profitability, network, and scalability, vendor procurement, management, and sourcing are all crucial procedures. The overall experience for the business, vendor, and customer is improved by putting in place suitable techniques and systems to optimize the process.


    Procurement Life Cycle vs Vendor Management

    The procurement lifecycle refers to a sequence of tasks necessary for acquiring products and services. In order to save costs and enhance operational flows, businesses must make the procurement lifecycle more efficient.

    When an organization makes its first contact with a potential vendor, the procurement lifecycle begins. It finishes when the goods are delivered to the company, where they are stored or used. All of the tasks involved in procurement are highlighted by the procurement lifecycle.

    Businesses may detect inefficiencies, shorten delivery times, and engage with better vendors by reviewing the procurement lifecycle. Improved customer connections are a big advantage for businesses that successfully manage their procurement life cycle because doing so enables businesses to consistently deliver their goods to customers. 

    Major eCommerce platforms, for instance, have developed a reputation for swiftly and dependably acquiring the goods their clients require, which has assisted them in gaining market dominance.

    Although there are many processes in the procurement life cycle, they can be divided into five major stages:

    1. Define and describe your company's needs.
    2. Request quotes from suppliers (sometimes known as "tendering").
    3. Assessing and choosing suppliers.
    4. Contract and deliverable management.
    5. Examine and improve procurement procedures.

    10 Steps in the Procurement Life Cycle

    Businesses must assess a number of crucial milestones in the procurement lifecycle while developing new procedures or revising their current lifecycles.

    1. Define your Needs

    The first step is to determine whether the business needs to source any necessary goods or services from another vendor.

    2. Assessment of Potential Vendors

    To locate the right vendors, it's crucial to make a shortlist and apply best practices for strategic sourcing.

    3. Requesting Quotes

    You must make a list of all the supporting documents, such as requests for quotes or pricing. These are after that sent to vendors along with a timetable.

    4. Evaluating Offers

    Determine which vendors to collaborate with after weighing your options and comparing offers. Choose suppliers who have a reputation for prompt delivery and can meet their production requirements.

    5. Choosing the Best Contract Terms

    In order for the two sides to arrive at a fair price, this phase is essential. The contract also includes any other payment conditions stipulations that may be present.

    6. Creating Purchase Orders

    Issuing a purchase order is the following step after vendor onboarding is finished. The vendor receives the purchase order, which includes a description of the items, the purchase order number, their suggested retail prices, and the necessary quantity.

    7. Receiving Goods

    The company anticipates receiving the ordered products once the purchase order is completed and sent to the vendor. A Goods Received Note (GRN), certifying receipt and the state of the goods, is issued after delivery.

    8. Invoice Processing

    Vendors then send out an invoice following the delivery of the items. Frequently, the invoice number and the purchase order number are identical. You can use BlueCart's invoice management software for invoice processing.

    9. Vendor Management

    To optimize the supplier lifecycle and accomplish the organization's strategic goals, concentrates on maintaining continuous relationships with suppliers.

    10. Accurate Documentation

    The company must keep accurate records in order to update financial records and conduct audits. A system for keeping track of this information is crucial because procurement records are also required for taxation purposes.


    Frequently Asked Questions About Vendor Procurement vs Strategic Sourcing

    Here are some common questions about vendor procurement and sourcing.

    What are the Three Types of Sourcing?

    The three types of sourcing include:

    • Outsourcing
    • Insourcing
    • Nearsourcing

    What are the 6 Sourcing Strategies?

    The six sourcing strategies are:

    • Spend analysis
    • Supplier market share analysis
    • Supplier-spend share analysis
    • Procurement organization's demand
    • Category risk analysis
    • Vendor qualification

    What is a Procurement Checklist?

    A procurement checklist is a tool that procurement officials use to make sure that all rules and procedures are followed in the procurement process in order to avoid delays or rejection of the purchase of goods or services.

    Sourcing the Right Way

    In order to increase a company's profitability, network, and scalability, vendor sourcing, management, and procurement are all crucial procedures. The overall experience for the business, vendor, and customer is improved by putting in place suitable strategies and systems to optimize the process.

    An efficient procurement life cycle assists your business in securing the essential products and services it need to maintain operations and provide for customers, all while lowering costs. Businesses can estimate demand, streamline administrative tasks, and more effectively coordinate and automate procurement operations with the right software.

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