Managing Partner, Harold & Co Procurement and Supply Chain Consulting, Harold Nwariaku in this interview, emphasizes the role of technology in the smooth running of procurement processes, while buttressing challenges the industry is saddled with.
Is technology important in procurement process?
Technology plays a significant role in the procurement process as it can streamline and automate many tasks, making the process, error proof, more efficient and effective. For example, e-Procurement systems, allow companies to automate the procurement process by managing the request for quotation (RFQ), request for proposal (RFP), and request for information (RFI) processes. Supply chain management platforms help companies track and manage their suppliers and the goods and services they provide. It can also help with forecasting, inventory management, and logistics.
Other disruptive technologies like 3D printing, Self-driving automobiles, drone delivery, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Robotics, will completely transform the procurement process and supply chain.
How can government ensure ease in procurement business?
Through implementation of e-Procurement systems, which can help reduce the risk of fraud and corruption, standardization of procurement process, provide training and support for businesses to understand and navigate the procurement process, especially on issues like; how to register as a supplier, prepare and submit bids, and how to respond to RFIs and RFQs.
Other ways include, increase transparency and the use of performance-based contracts.
What would you say is the most difficult procurement issue faced in Nigeria and why?
It is hard to determine the most difficult procurement issue faced in Nigeria as procurement challenges can vary depending on the sector, type of goods or services being procured, and the specific context in which the procurement is taking place. I think the biggest issue in the public sector is the cost of procurement, and in the private sector, it is the lack of infrastructure and regulatory limitations.
Other common procurement challenges faced in Nigeria include; limited competition, capacity, lack of transparency, complex regulations and limited access to finance.
What are the other challenges faced in this sector?
Managing suppliers, ensuring compliance, managing risk, ensuring value for money and managing stakeholder expectations: Procurement professionals may need to manage the expectations of various stakeholders, including internal customers, external suppliers, and regulatory authorities.
What’s the best way to source new suppliers?
The best way to source new suppliers will depend on the specific needs and goals of the business. It may be helpful to use a combination of different methods to find the right suppliers for the company’s needs.
Some of the best ways are to attend industry trade shows and conferences because of the opportunity to meet and learn about potential suppliers; make use of online platforms, social media, ask existing suppliers or industry peers for recommendations, use procurement software. Some procurement software platforms have features that allow businesses to identify and contact new suppliers based on specific criteria, such as location, industry, or type of goods or services offered.
How do you handle supply delay or failures?
Supply delays or failures can have significant consequences for a business, including increased costs, lost productivity, and damage to relationships with customers or clients. It is important for businesses to have a plan in place for how to handle supply delays or failures to minimize their impact.
Some steps that businesses can take to handle supply delays or failures include; identify the root cause, communicate with stakeholders constantly to manage expectations, explore alternative sources, review and update contingency plans and monitor and review performance.
How do you navigate supply chain changes?
Supply chain changes can have significant impacts on a business, and it is important to navigate them effectively to minimize disruption. The best ways to navigate supply chain changes are to anticipate and prepare for changes, communicate with suppliers about any potential changes, review and optimize the supply chain, monitor and review performance.
Describe your growth in the years of operation?
One of the most obvious signs of significant growth in business is an increase in revenue, which we have experienced. Secondly, we have observed an increase in the number of partners we are affiliated with. Thirdly, we have expanded our customer base, as more people have become aware of and interested in the products or services we offer. We are also gradually increasing our market share and gaining a larger share of the overall market. We have managed to increase our profitability, by increasing revenue and decreasing expenses.
Growth in expertise and specialization has made us more valuable to potential clients. Improved marketing and sales efforts have helped us reach new clients and drive growth through increased networking, building relationships, and promoting the services of our business. Our improved quality of service has attracted repeat business and positive referrals, which has helped to drive our growth. Lastly, good financial management, including effective budgeting and cost control, has helped us grow over the period.
How do the services you render to your client distinguish your company?
We try to be different in the way we do business by identifying our unique selling points (USPs). We identify what makes our service business unique, our specialized expertise, problem-solving methodology, excellent customer service and what sets it apart from competitors. We clearly communicate our USPs to potential customers through marketing and branding efforts. We highlight our unique selling points in our marketing materials, on our website, and in our interactions with customers. It is important that we deliver on the promises that we make to our customers to differentiate our business. We consistently provide high-quality services, strive to always meet customer needs, and we go above and beyond to exceed expectations.
We stay up to date on industry trends and developments, and remain open to new ideas and approaches, which help our service business stand out. We try to introduce new services and technologies and adopt innovative approaches to solve our client’s problems. We build strong relationships with customers and try to foster customer loyalty. This has helped to differentiate our business and set us apart from competitors.
How do you keep up with relevant trends in the market to improve your service delivery?
We gather and analyze data on key indicators such as sales, market share, and customer feedback, using tools such as market research, customer surveys, and data analytics software. We monitor industry news and developments to identify trends in the market, read industry publications, attend conferences and events, and follow industry leaders and professionals on social media or other online platforms. We engage with customers and stakeholders, such as suppliers, partners, and industry experts, who provide valuable insights into trends in the market.
We conduct focus groups, host customer roundtables, and participate in industry forums and conferences, support our clients to implement market intelligence systems, such as competitive intelligence software or market monitoring tools, and these have been helpful for identifying trends in the market. These tools provide real-time data and analysis on key indicators, allowing my business to stay up to date on market developments. We also conduct trend analysis to identify patterns and trends in the market over time using data and analytics tools to identify trends in areas such as sales, market share, or customer behavior, and use this information to inform business strategy and decision-making. We train and empower employees to handle customer inquiries and complaints effectively can improve client service.
We support our clients to develop a customer service strategy that outlines the company’s goals and objectives, and how they will be achieved. We support our clients to implementing technology such as eprocurement, contract management and warehouse systems, inventory management tools, etc. which help to streamline and improve client service processes.
What yardstick do you use in measuring business growth?
Financial metrics such as revenue, profit, and return on investment provide valuable insights into the overall health and performance of businesses. Gathering feedback from customers, ensure employee satisfaction, process efficiency and market share, which this can provide valuable insights into a business’s competitive position and its overall performance in the market are the measures employed.