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How to create a procurement management plan

How to create a procurement management plan

You’ve likely heard the terms 'strategic sourcing’ and ‘procurement orchestration’ when it comes to managing modern business spend. These are more than just buzzwords—they’ve become essential factors for the success of the function.

But even before implementing these more advanced, integrated strategies, how can businesses ensure that their procurement processes are meeting the foundational requirements?

The answer is in developing and implementing a comprehensive procurement management plan. Such a plan helps any organization aiming to optimize procurement activities and align them with overarching business goals.

In this guide, we’ll go into how to draft an effective procurement management plan, and take a look at its role in today’s fast-paced business environment. We’ll also look at Zip’s project management capabilities for companies looking to effectively manage, automate, and improve their procurement process holistically across their organization.

What you’ll learn:

  • The fundamentals of what makes a procurement management plan
  • A step-by-step guide to creating your own plan
  • Templates and the components that helps ensure procurement success
  • How to navigate the challenges of procurement management, and how to leverage technology like Zip to elevate your procurement processes

What is a procurement management plan?

A procurement management plan helps organize and streamline the activities of a business purchasing function, outlining a structured approach to managing procurement activities within an organization. It is essential for ensuring that these activities are conducted efficiently, cost-effectively, and in alignment with the strategic objectives of the organization. 

The plan covers various facets of procurement, from identifying procurement needs to finalizing contracts, making it a cornerstone for project managers and procurement teams in maximizing value from procurement activities.

Understanding the procurement management plan

More than just a document; a procurement management plan is a strategic framework that guides all procurement activities within an organization. It sets out the procedures, roles, and responsibilities, as well as the workflow and approval processes that govern how goods and services are acquired. 

This plan is dynamic, evolving with the organization's changing needs and the external business environment. Key elements you might see on a structured plan are timelines, risk management strategies, types of contracts, and vendor management tactics—all designed to streamline the procurement lifecycle and ensure projects are delivered on schedule and within budget. 

Surprisingly, not all companies have mastered the basics of procurement management!

As Nick Heinzmann, Head of Research at Zip, put it in a recent newsletter: “This is a theme I have heard repeatedly in the last year working with Zip customers and prospects exploring the intake management market. They had made hefty investments in procuretech solutions hoping to transform their organizations, only to stumble on the fundamentals.”

Let’s take a look at how to master the basics of procurement, to guide you on the path to more advanced strategies.

For a deeper look at more advanced procurement strategies, download the free guide from Zip: “Sourcing Strategies Beyond the RFP: Tactics to Drive Savings and Win Bids” 

How to create a procurement management plan in 7 steps

While these plans can vary depending on the needs of an organization, there are several steps that are evergreen, and will be a part of a structured process for most companies’ purchasing workflows.

1. Identify roles and define responsibilities

This first step helps to start the plan off on the right foot.

Clearly delineate the roles and responsibilities of the project team, including project managers, procurement team members, and other stakeholders. By being extremely clear about everyone’s responsibilities from the start, you’ll promote accountability and efficiency in procurement activities.

2. Establish a timeframe

The next step is to establish a detailed project schedule. Be sure to include not only the timeline for procurement activities but also ensure these deadlines align with the overall project planning process.

3. Estimate costs and determine budget

Accurate cost estimation and budget determination is the key for effective financial planning and control. Here, you’ll want to analyze and understand different contract types, such as fixed-price or cost-reimbursable contracts, to determine which best suits the procurement needs.

4. Implement risk management

Next, you’ll want to identify and consider potential procurement risks and develop strategies to mitigate them. This is a key component of successful procurement, which might have you considering project constraints to help ensure that risk management methodologies are embedded in the procurement process.

5. Outline the procurement process

Defining the workflow for procurement activities—from the request for proposal (RFP) process to contract approval—helps streamline operations. This may have you including decision criteria for vendor selection and details on how procurement documentation will be managed. Always include the process in the plan!

6. Establish vendor management practices

Effective vendor management ensures that the relationships with suppliers are managed throughout the lifecycle of the contract. Here, you’ll set a process for monitoring the vendor's performance against the contract requirements, then managing the contract type to ensure it aligns with project needs.

7. Review and approval processes

Finally, setting up robust approval processes for procurement activities, including audits and automation tools, is the way you’ll maintain control and ensure compliance with organizational policies and external regulations.

Procurement management plan template

A template serves as a valuable tool in drafting a procurement management plan, ensuring that all if the most important elements are covered. 

Common information to include in the template encompasses project requirements, selection criteria, types of contracts, deliverables, and supply chain considerations. A template not only aids in project planning but also in ensuring that procurement activities are aligned with business processes and project goals.

A procurement management plan template serves as a starting point, a skeletal framework that organizations can modify to fit the contours of their specific requirements. Whether it's adjusting the template to account for the scale of procurement activities, incorporating sector-specific regulations, or aligning it with the company's strategic procurement objectives, customization is integral.

Despite the need for customization, certain core elements are common across most procurement management plans. 

These components serve as the vital organs of the plan, ensuring its functionality and comprehensiveness:

  • Project Title: A clear, descriptive title that encapsulates the essence of the procurement project.
  • Project Manager: The individual responsible for overseeing the procurement project, serving as a point of coordination and control.
  • Start date: When the procurement activities are set to commence, marking the project's official kickoff.
  • Business reason: The underlying rationale for the procurement project, outlining why it's necessary and what it aims to achieve.
  • Goods/Services description: A detailed account of the items or services to be procured, providing clarity and specificity to guide the procurement process.
  • Request date: The date on which the procurement request is made, initiating the formal procurement process.
  • Requestor information: Details about the individual or department making the procurement request, ensuring accountability and traceability.
  • Issuance date: When the procurement documentation (e.g., Request for Proposal, Purchase Order) is officially issued.
  • Delivery date: The expected date for the delivery of goods or services, critical for project scheduling and planning.
  • Status: The current stage of the procurement process, providing a snapshot of progress and facilitating tracking.
  • Additional information: Any supplementary details that can provide context or aid in the procurement process, such as specific vendor requirements, procurement strategy considerations, or risk management approaches.

By customizing the template to fit the unique nuances of your organization and its procurement projects, you create a dynamic blueprint that not only guides procurement activities but also aligns them with your overarching business objectives. 

3 components of a procurement management plan

There are three main components that underscore the core of an effective procurement management plan. Make sure your plan contains and addresses the core elements of each of the following components:

Procurement Strategy

This component outlines the methodology for procuring goods and services, taking into account the project's unique requirements and constraints. It includes considerations for different procurement contracts and supplier selection processes.

Procurement Process

A detailed description of the steps involved in acquiring goods and services is provided, highlighting the importance of a streamlined workflow and efficient decision-making in achieving successful procurement.

Procurement Control Plan

Focusing on controlling procurement costs, this component emphasizes the need for performance metrics, prequalified providers, and regular audits to ensure the procurement management process is effective and compliant.

Procurement management plan stakeholders

Identifying and engaging key stakeholders, including project team members, vendors, and business process owners, is important to the success of the plan. Their strategic involvement ensures that the procurement plan is comprehensive, addressing all procurement needs and facilitating smooth implementation.

  • Project Managers: Serve as the orchestrators of the procurement plan, ensuring that procurement activities align with project objectives and timelines.
  • Corporate Executives: Provide strategic oversight and ensure that procurement strategies are in harmony with the organization's overall goals and policies.
  • Contract Managers: Oversee the contractual aspects, ensuring that all procurement activities comply with legal standards and contractual obligations.
  • Vendors: There is no procurement without them—vendors are the suppliers of goods and services, working directly with the organization to meet the procurement needs efficiently.

Each stakeholder contributes to the procurement management plan's effectiveness, ensuring it is comprehensive, aligned with strategic objectives, and implemented smoothly.

Why is a procurement management plan important?

Implementing a procurement management plan brings numerous benefits, from improved cost savings and productivity to enhanced supplier performance and compliance. It provides a structured approach to managing procurement activities, ensuring that they contribute to the overall success of the organization's projects.

By clearly outlining each step of the procurement process, organizations can ensure that projects run smoothly from inception to completion, fostering significant improvements in cost savings, productivity, and compliance with regulatory requirements. 

Essentially, a well-structured procurement management plan acts as a roadmap, guiding teams through the intricacies of procurement activities while aligning these efforts with the broader organizational goals.

Benefits of a procurement management plan

  • Clearly assign roles and responsibilities: By establishing clear lines of accountability, organizations eliminate confusion over who is responsible for what, thus avoiding delays and approval bottlenecks. This clear communication ensures that every stakeholder knows their role and how it contributes to the procurement process.
  • Analyze prior pain points: A thorough analysis of previous procurement activities allows organizations to identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement. Learning from past experiences ensures that the same mistakes are not repeated, leading to a more streamlined procurement process.
  • Establish defined procurement schedules: With a detailed schedule in place, projects are less likely to veer off track. Deadlines are set and adhered to, ensuring timely completion of procurement activities and preventing last-minute rushes that can lead to errors and oversights.
  • Predict potential risk: Identifying potential risks at the outset of the procurement process allows for the implementation of strategies to mitigate these risks. This proactive approach helps maintain smooth business operations and minimizes disruptions in the supply chain.
  • Improve collaboration and communication: A procurement management plan facilitates better communication and collaboration among stakeholders. Clear guidelines and terms of communication ensure that everyone is on the same page, fostering a cooperative environment conducive to successful procurement.
  • Consolidate redundant projects: By examining the procurement landscape within an organization, opportunities for consolidating similar or redundant projects can be identified. This not only saves time and resources but also leads to significant cost savings and operational efficiencies.
  • Ensure procurement compliance: Maintaining detailed records and tracking data throughout the procurement process helps ensure adherence to internal policies and external regulatory requirements. This compliance is critical for avoiding legal and financial repercussions.

Procurement plan challenges

For an organization to excel in its procurement endeavors, it's crucial not just to have a procurement management plan in place but to ensure that the plan is comprehensive, forward-thinking, and robust enough to support the company's needs. 

However, creating and implementing such a plan is no small feat; it comes with a set of challenges that can significantly impede the success of procurement operations if not addressed promptly and effectively.

Unclear roles and responsibilities

One of the primary obstacles in a procurement process is the lack of clear delineation of roles and responsibilities. When team members are unsure of their specific duties, it leads to inefficiencies, overlaps, and gaps in the procurement process, affecting the overall productivity and effectiveness of the procurement team.

Potential miscommunications

The procurement process involves various stakeholders, including suppliers, project managers, finance teams, and others. Without a clear communication strategy, there's a high risk of misinterpretation and misinformation, which can lead to errors, conflicts, and delays in procurement activities.

Increased risks

Every procurement activity carries inherent risks, ranging from financial risks due to fluctuating market prices to operational risks from supply chain disruptions. A procurement management plan that doesn't adequately identify, assess, and mitigate these risks leaves the organization vulnerable to unexpected challenges that could have been preempted or managed.

Delayed schedules

Time is of the essence in procurement. Delays in the procurement schedule can have a domino effect, pushing back project timelines and affecting the organization's ability to meet its strategic objectives. Challenges in maintaining a strict schedule often stem from bureaucratic approval processes, supplier-related issues, or internal inefficiencies.

Legacy infrastructure

Many organizations still rely on outdated procurement systems and infrastructure that are not equipped to handle modern procurement demands. This legacy infrastructure can hinder the integration of new technologies, automation, and data analytics into the procurement process, leading to inefficiencies and reduced competitiveness.

Redundant procurement projects

Without a centralized system or oversight, organizations may find themselves running multiple procurement projects that serve similar purposes or target the same needs. This redundancy not only wastes resources but also creates confusion and inefficiencies within the procurement process.

Manual processes

Despite the availability of technology solutions that can automate and streamline procurement tasks, some organizations persist with manual processes. These are not only time-consuming and prone to errors but also limit the organization's ability to scale its procurement activities effectively.

Overcoming these challenges requires a concerted effort to refine the procurement management plan continuously, integrating advanced technologies, clear communication channels, risk management strategies, and streamlined processes.

Fortunately, Zip is the procurement orchestration platform that accelerates business spend, offering automation, AI-powered process guidance and insights, with optimized parallel workflows that not only speeds up cycle times, but ensures data integrity across the tools your key stakeholders use every day.

Implementing a procurement management plan with Zip

Traditional, manual procurement processes, often mired in complexity and outdated policies, can significantly hamper an organization's efficiency and growth potential. This is where the transformative power of digital procurement comes into play, automating and simplifying procurement management to scale alongside your evolving business needs, all while significantly increasing ROI.

Zip is a leading-edge procurement orchestration platform designed to accelerate the way organizations manage their procurement activities. Zip offers a suite of robust procurement management capabilities that address the core challenges faced by businesses today.

The customer results speak for themselves:

  • 90% PO-backed spend: Ensuring the majority of your organization's spending is controlled and accounted for.
  • 100% IT and security compliance: Maintaining the highest standards of IT and security compliance in your procurement processes.
  • 5x cycle time reduction: Dramatically speeding up procurement cycles, thereby increasing efficiency and responsiveness.

As businesses continue to navigate an evolving market, the need for a streamlined, efficient, and compliant procurement process has never been more critical. Zip's procurement management capabilities offer a solution that not only meets these needs but also anticipates future challenges, ensuring your procurement strategy remains robust and responsive.

If you're ready to transform your procurement process and harness the benefits of digital procurement management, we invite you to request a demo of Zip today

Discover how Zip can elevate your procurement strategy and drive significant ROI for your organization.

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