Indirect Procurement

  • By ProcureDesk
  • February 21,2023
  • 10 min read

Indirect Procurement

Indirect procurement is an integral part of making your business successful. This involves purchasing the goods and services needed to run your operations effectively.

In this resource, we will explore indirect procurement and why it’s important, and even distinguish the difference between direct and indirect procurement.

Let’s dive in and take a closer look at this process!

What Is Indirect Procurement?

Indirect procurement refers to acquiring goods and services not directly related to producing a company’s final product. These purchases are usually made to support the company’s operations and your business units, including office equipment, IT equipment, and professional services such as legal or consulting services.

Indirect procurement is often managed separately from direct procurement, which focuses on acquiring materials and services directly related to a company’s core business activities. Indirect procurement can play a critical role in helping companies manage costs and improve operational efficiency.

Indirect procurement teams manage the procurement function and develop relationships with your company’s suppliers. These teams also work closely with your company stakeholders to ensure your organization meets the indirect spending categories.

Having a successful indirect procurement strategy requires understanding the needs of your suppliers. To control your direct and indirect spending, your organization must continually review your spending categories and look for ways to optimize supplier relationships.

Leveraging strategic sourcing initiatives and direct purchase methods can help your company reduce costs while maintaining high-quality standards. By managing your indirect procurement activities well, your company gets more opportunities for greater success.

Bear in mind that there are typically various types of indirect procurement categories which might include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Outsourcing professional services
  • Media buying and advertisements
  • Travel management
  • Software and other IT products
  • Training
  • Office equipment, Office supplies, and Facilities management
  • Company utilities (water, electricity, gas)
  • Capital goods
  • Tools and Machinery

Your company’s indirect procurement involves various coordination of different stakeholders and departments in your company that, includes your marketing, finance, operation, legal, etc. Depending upon the size of the company, indirect procurement activities can be managed by a central or decentralized team.

Because of these reasons, most companies have different indirect procurement teams.

What Are The Benefits Of Indirect Procurement?

Depending on your organization’s size and structure, effectively managing your indirect procurement can bring tremendous benefits to your company.

When managed well, indirect procurement can support you in terms of achieving your business objectives, driving business growth, and even optimizing your costs and sustainability goals by working with your supplier base.

Here are some of the benefits of indirect procurement to your business:

Cost Savings

Indirect procurement can help your company reduce costs by identifying savings opportunities and negotiating better prices and costs with your suppliers. When you effectively consolidate your purchasing volume, your organization can leverage your bargaining power and secure better deals for your company!

By leveraging procurement software, companies can ensure they receive the negotiated rates and meet their savings goals.

Efficiency Gains

An indirect procurement function can help you streamline your procurement processes and drastically decrease administrative costs.

When your company can leverage technology and automation, you successfully simplify your procurement process and reduce effort and hassle when managing relationships with your suppliers.

Improved Supplier Relationships

Procurement professionals can build stronger relationships with suppliers by effectively managing indirect procurement. Thus, leading to a better quality of goods and services coming from them.

Remember that when you treat your suppliers with respect and make them feel like partners to your business, you successfully create and benefit from a more solid and responsive supply chain.

Competitive Advantage

You gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace by optimizing your indirect purchases. Thus, helping you invest in innovation, move forward with product development, and even grow your business further to the next level!

Sustainability Gains

Last, but not the least, indirect procurement can support your organization’s sustainability goals. By designing a sustainable procurement strategy and selecting suppliers who share your values, your company can reduce environmental impact and enhance your reputation as a responsible corporate citizen!

Direct Procurement vs. Indirect Procurement

You may be wondering the difference between direct procurement and indirect procurement.

You must remember that direct and indirect procurement are two distinct approaches to sourcing goods and services, each with advantages.

Direct Procurement

A direct procurement process, known as direct Spend, refers to purchasing raw materials that go into the final product. Direct procurement teams differ from indirect procurement teams because the Spend is so different. One is purchasing indirect materials, and the other purchases direct materials.

Typically, this process often involves the following:

  • Using technology for effective supply chain management process.
  • Effective contract management and having a category management strategy to support the procurement process.
  • Direct purchase orders
  • Effective inventory management ensures that you always have the raw materials.

Direct procurement example: Say you were a smartphone manufacturer. For your business, direct procurement would mean purchasing processors, screens, or even microchips to help you build the actual product that you want to offer.

Indirect Procurement

Indirect procurement, however, refers to purchasing goods and services that help you run your day-to-day operations and do not necessarily relate to the product you offer.

Your indirect procurement process helps your business function effectively, drive employee engagement, and increase your company’s profitability.

Indirect procurement example: Let’s circle back to the smartphone manufacturer example. Samples of your indirect procurement would be utility bills (like electricity) which you pay for to run your day-to-day office operations effectively.

What Are Some Examples Of Direct Procurement?

Direct procurement involves acquiring direct materials, components, and services directly used to produce a company’s final product. Here are some examples of direct procurement:

1. Raw materials: This can include steel, wood, plastic, and other materials used to manufacture a product.

2. Components: This can include electronic components, motors, and sensors used in product assembly.

3. Packaging materials: Packaging materials protect and transport the final product. Examples include boxes, labels, and shipping materials.

4. Services: Direct procurement can also include engineering, design, and maintenance services directly related to production.

Effective direct procurement requires careful planning and coordination between procurement professionals, production teams, and suppliers to ensure that the right materials are purchased at the right time, in the right quantities, and at the right cost to ensure a high-quality final product.

Companies must often make informed decisions to ensure they get the best value for their money when engaging in direct procurement activities.

The process typically involves researching potential vendors and negotiating with those who can provide the best quality goods at competitive prices. Additionally, businesses must prioritize supplier relationships and consider long-term partnerships that may offer additional savings through volume discounts or other incentives.

Finally, strategic direct sourcing is important to any successful direct procurement process. This involves analyzing a company’s current spending patterns to identify areas where cost savings can be achieved through more effective planning and execution. By utilizing this approach, companies can ensure maximum value from each purchase while creating a streamlined procurement system for years.

What Are Some Examples Of Indirect Procurement?

Examples include professional services such as legal advice, marketing support, IT consulting, facilities management, travel, or other indirect expenses.

Unlike direct purchasing activities, which focus on physical products, indirect procurement deals with intangible items that require additional consideration to ensure value is achieved.

The process involves analyzing spending categories and negotiating with suppliers for the best possible deal.

Additionally, indirect procurement teams must maintain supplier relationships while working with internal stakeholders to identify areas where cost savings can be realized. Furthermore, organizations should develop a clear strategy for indirect spending to ensure all purchases are made according to predetermined guidelines and policies.

What Are The Types Of Indirect Procurement?

The types of indirect procurement may vary, each providing different advantages to your organization.

Here are the types of indirect procurement:

1. Strategic Sourcing: Involves the analysis of spending categories and negotiation with suppliers to obtain optimal value

2. Category Management: Manages supplier relationships to ensure cost savings and improved efficiency.

3. Supplier Rationalization: This is used to consolidate vendor relationships to reduce costs

4. Demand Management: Aimed at reducing the total amount of spending on certain items

Additionally, indirect procurement teams may use analytics-based techniques such as benchmarking or reverse auctions to identify areas where cost savings can be realized. By utilizing these various approaches, businesses can rest assured that they are getting the best possible deal for their indirect purchases.

What Is The Process Of Indirect Procurement?

Indirect procurement is a complex process that involves a wide range of tasks, including identifying needs, selecting suppliers, negotiating contracts, and managing ongoing relationships with vendors.

To ensure success in this area, organizations must establish a strategic approach that balances cost and quality considerations while meeting the needs of internal stakeholders.

Here is the step-by-step process of indirect procurement:

1. Identify Internal Stakeholders: The first step in the indirect procurement process is identifying the internal stakeholders affected by the procurement decisions. These stakeholders may include department heads, budget owners, and end-users who rely on indirect goods and services to carry out their work. By understanding the needs and expectations of these stakeholders, procurement professionals can develop a sourcing strategy that meets the organization’s objectives while also satisfying the requirements of its internal customers.

2. Assess Current Spending: Once the stakeholders have been identified, the next step is to assess the organization’s current spending on indirect items. This can be done by conducting a spending analysis identifying the categories of goods and services purchased, the core suppliers used, and the amount spent. This analysis can help procurement professionals identify areas where cost savings can be achieved, such as consolidating purchases, negotiating better pricing with suppliers, or implementing more efficient procurement processes.

3. Develop a Sourcing Strategy: Based on the results of the spending analysis, the organization can develop a sourcing strategy that outlines how it will acquire the indirect goods and services it needs. This strategy should consider factors such as the organization’s budget, its risk tolerance, and the availability of suitable suppliers. It should also outline the procurement process, including the steps for selecting suppliers, negotiating contracts, and managing ongoing relationships.

4. Select Suppliers: With a sourcing strategy in place, procurement professionals can begin the process of selecting suppliers. This involves evaluating potential vendors based on their pricing, quality of goods and services, delivery times, and customer service. It is also important to consider the supplier’s financial stability and ability to meet the organization’s requirements over the long term.

5. Negotiate Contracts: Once suitable suppliers have been identified, procurement professionals can begin negotiating contracts. This involves working with the supplier to establish pricing, delivery terms, and service-level agreements that meet the needs of both parties. It is important to negotiate contracts that provide the organization with the best value for its money while also ensuring that the supplier is motivated to deliver high-quality goods and services.

6. Manage Ongoing Relationships: Finally, it is important to manage ongoing relationships with suppliers to ensure that they continue to meet the organization’s needs over time. This involves monitoring supplier performance, addressing any issues that arise, and evaluating ways to improve the procurement process. It is also important to maintain open lines of communication with suppliers to ensure that both parties are satisfied with the relationship.

What Are Some Of The Indirect Procurement Strategies?

Having indirect procurement strategies is an important element for your business operations.

These indirect procurement strategies aim to reduce costs and maximize return on investments for your company. Your business must improve supplier relationships, identify cost savings opportunities, and optimize supply chains to do this.

One effective strategy your company can do to reduce costs is to conduct thorough research into potential suppliers and negotiate favorable terms for deals.

Additionally, having a well-developed procurement strategy that considers your organization’s objectives, budget, and risk profile is important. Your business must establish performance metrics to monitor supplier performance and evaluate the success of your deals.

Lastly, your company must also stay up to date with industry trends so that the direct purchase teams can take advantage of emerging opportunities in the market.

By leveraging these indirect procurement strategies alongside direct purchase activities, your organization can effectively manage your spending categories while ensuring you get the best value for your money!

What Are Some Indirect Procurement Strategies You Must Avoid?

Indirect procurement mistakes can be costly and even time-consuming for your business. To make sure your indirect procurement process is successful, make sure you avoid these common mistakes:

1. Not engaging internal stakeholders: An effective indirect spend requires collaboration between different departments and stakeholders within your organization. Ensure you involve all necessary internal parties in the decision-making process, so everyone understands their role and can provide valuable input on potential suppliers or deals.

2. Failing to establish clear criteria: Defining what constitutes a good deal and setting performance metrics that measure supplier success is important before beginning the procurement process. This will help you make informed decisions when evaluating vendors and ensure that you’re getting value for money spent.

3. Neglecting supplier relationships: Don’t forget about building positive relationships with your suppliers! Developing trust with vendors allows for more efficient communication, better negotiation leverage, and improved access to information on upcoming deals or discounts that could benefit your business in the long run.

Ultimately, avoiding these three mistakes is key to ensuring a successful indirect procurement process that delivers maximum value for money spent!

5 Tips To Control Direct And Indirect Procurement Process

Direct and indirect procurement is integral to your business’ supply chain management.

To maximize savings and ensure that your goods and services are obtained on time, your business must develop effective strategies to control both types of procurement. Here are some of the important tips your company can use to control direct and indirect procurement functions better:

1. Develop a comprehensive procurement strategy considering current market conditions, supplier relationships, and internal stakeholders. This helps your business obtain the best deals while avoiding unnecessary risks and gaining better business insights.

2. Utilize technology such as e-procurement systems to streamline the entire process, from identifying suppliers to negotiating contracts. Automation can help your business reduce costs associated with manual processes done daily.

3. Establish long-term relationships with your vendors to gain access to discounted rates and other cost savings opportunities.

4. Evaluate all your existing supplier relationships regularly to identify improvement areas or cost savings potentials and budget optimization.

5. Monitor changes in the industry so you can stay ahead of competitors when it comes to finding new sources of supply or negotiating better deals with existing ones.

What Is The Best Way To Establish A Strategic Plan For An Indirect Procurement Process?

Any effective procurement strategy should include a guideline for managing direct and Indirect spending.

While indirect procurement can seem complex and daunting, it’s safe to say that with the right approach – you’re unstoppable!

A successful procurement process can lead to significant cost savings and even efficient gains for your organization.

Here are the five essential strategies to help you with your indirect procurement:

Optimize Your Technology Solution

Purely relying on your ERP systems may not be enough. To gain visibility and agility, you must implement an indirect procurement solution that can effectively offer vendor onboarding, analytics, and a place for centralized data. By using a modern and digital procurement process, it becomes easier to make informed purchasing decisions.

Streamline Your Procurement Process

Use procurement tools to help you automate admin-intensive and repetitive tasks like supplier onboarding, monthly purchases, etc. This helps you save time and increase efficiency, especially when using more automated workflows!

Track Your Spending Vigilantly

When you skip tracking your spending, this can lead to unnecessary costs and even wasted spending. Always make sure to scrutinize your purchases to improve your financial operations.

Encourage Responsible Spending Within Your Organization

A lack of compliance within your organization can cause harm and lead to wasteful spending and fraud. Make sure to educate your company about procurement procedures to maintain a proactive environment where everyone knows the procurement process.

Always Review Your Contacts Regularly

It is inevitable for indirect procurement to feel fragmented, considering different contracts are spread across different departments. With this in mind, make efforts to centralize your service contracts and ensure everything under procurement is still relevant to your organization. Renegotiating contracts can even help reduce costs and even eliminate evergreen clauses!

The Bottomline

Overall, indirect procurement is important for your company’s successful procurement strategy and ensures thousands of stakeholders that your procurement teams have everything in control.

By focusing on indirect procurement, your business can achieve cost savings, optimize spending, and ultimately enhance your bottom line.

If you’re ready to have a software vendor to help you automate your procurement process, schedule a demo with ProcureDesk today!