The 5 Most Important Qualities of a Great Procurement Partner
IT procurement is a critical part of nearly every organization, from small and medium business to huge enterprises. As companies grow, the role of IT procurement increases even more. Dealing with licensing requirements, taking advantage of discounts, and verifying quality, are all services offered by good procurement partners. Given that 35% of businesses only take advantage of less than 20% of the discounts available to them, having a good procurement partner can make a big difference. In this article, the five most important qualities to look for in a great IT procurement partner are discussed.
1. Utilizes Deal Registration
Working with a procurement partner who offers deal registration can be very cost effective. Deal registration becomes extremely important when IT procurement spend reaches a certain level. Many vendors exclusively work with companies who have registered a deal, and may offer significant discounts for those who have gone through the deal registration process. The process offers major advantages for vendors and procurement partners, in addition to end customers.
Beyond simply being a requirement for certain sales levels, when a deal is registered the vendor can be assured that the procurement partner has a buyer, which most times results in the procurement partner getting a better deal. Procurement in this manner is more cost effective for all parties and as a result the customer ends up with a lower acquisition cost that they wouldn’t attain through typical retail channels.
2. Offers Product Personalization
Many organizations, especially those with significant IT budgets require products that are personalized to their individual needs. A good procurement partner will offer product personalization as part of their service, saving the customer the hassle of doing it themselves. In addition to personalizing products, the personalization process itself should be customizable to suit the needs of the company.
For example, a good partner would be aware of the time, financial, compliance, and other needs of the organization, and be willing to adjust parameters of both the sales and procurement process as well as the product itself to meet those needs. As this is oftentimes a deal-breaker, it is crucial to discuss individual personalization with a procurement partner ahead of time to ensure that the necessary customizations can be made.
3. Provides RMA/Warranty Assistance
Unlike other physical objects, quality control for IT equipment can be difficult. Since electronics are both complex and fragile, return material authorizations (RMA) and warranties are a necessary item to understand when dealing with larger volumes of product. Good procurement partners will help with the RMA and warranty process to save the client time and money in dealing with the manufacturer on their behalf.
Since shipping can damage computer hardware, it can be useful for this assistance to be available after the product has reached the final client’s destination. Additionally, with some products like hard drives, it is especially important to look for a procurement partner who can help with the RMA process after the product has been installed and in use for some time. Returning failed drives that still contain sensitive data for warranty swap is simply not an option but it can be planned for in advance with extra warranty coverage.
4. Has Higher Stock and Model Availability
The difference between two procurement partners can often boil down to the stock quantities and the models that they can acquire. Even if some products are very similar, organizations should select a partner who can find the specific models that they need. Good partners can also take advantage of the offerings of multiple suppliers to fulfill high stock demands from customers.
5. Manages Compliance and Risks
Managing risks inherent to the procurement process can be challenging. Many IT vendors (both software and hardware) do not specifically cater to industries with compliance requirements, such as healthcare. Working with a procurement partner who can negotiate deals with vendors to include support for meeting these requirements is important when compliance is an issue. Additionally, with the extra leverage from utilizing a procurement partner, it might be possible to make significant changes to the vendor’s product to meet specific compliance and regulatory requirements.
The Right Procurement Partner
Selecting a procurement partner with the above qualities should provide a great IT procurement experience. Given the size of many IT budgets, choosing a well-equipped partner is critical. Additionally, companies should verify that potential procurement partners can meet requirements specific to their needs.
Outsource IT’s procurement service meets and exceeds these standards, providing quality control, comprehensive licensing assistance, and help navigating discounts from all major vendors. Contact your Outsource IT account manager to learn more.