Are the days of a one-stop retail-procurement-shop over?

While some headlines may report that we’re living in an era of the specialist, the days of a one-stop-shop are seemingly far from over – quite the opposite in fact.

In today’s market for procurement and supply management, less is certainly proving to be more as organisations look to streamline their services and create a truly efficient, customer-centric experience.

No matter the size or scope of your business, a varied range of products and solutions – from general office supplies and furniture, to more diverse services such as print management and document destruction – are crucial to help keep things running smoothly.

But such multifaceted procurement needs bring challenges too. Budgets will only stretch so far, for example, so purchasing decisions end up being made according to what represents the best deal at a given point in time, often irrespective of quality or supplier reliability.

Organisations don’t always know what to look for either, so the temptation is to seek out specialists in each field – individual suppliers who can advise on and wholly satisfy each need. On the face of it, this makes perfect sense – we all quite rightly aspire to work with ‘best of breed’ providers. However, the flipside is that this approach quickly results in a disparate supply chain fraught with risk.

This goes some way to explaining why marketplaces, if trusted, are becoming increasingly popular. Going to a partner who has already done the hard work from a sourcing perspective and can provide access to a wealth of choice – not least in terms of price – presents a wealth of benefits.

Take that one step further, and by implementing an easy to use, intuitive procurement system, organisations significantly improves productivity by freeing time for core, revenue generating tasks and providing a consistent business focus – while simultaneously taking back control of costs and eliminate rogue spending and budget leakage.

When it comes to supply chain management and product sourcing, less is proving to be more. And although we’re all well and truly engrossed in the era of the specialist, when businesses fragment their procurement strategy across too wide a supplier base, the logistical, pricing and quality risks soon multiply.

So, the days may admittedly be over for Jack-of-all trade businesses and companies that don’t place customers at the heart of everything they do. However, the days of a trusted, expert one-stop procurement shop are only just beginning – and their place in the market is as valid as ever.

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