As we progress steadily deeper into the digital age, there are more and more changes occurring in a variety of industries. We have seen huge advancements in automation, data storage, communication, and several other areas too.
For the most part, these alterations have been beneficial, especially when it comes to something like engineering. A large-scale engineering project can progress with much more efficient now that it’s easier to access relevant data, some of the workloads can be delegated to machines, and communication with stakeholders can happen very quickly.
Interestingly enough, however, one thing that is very important to engineering is procurement, and the advancements in that particular sector haven’t happened quite as quickly as one might expect.
Procurement, for those unfamiliar with the term, basically refers to the process of acquiring goods, services or anything else necessary for a project from external sources. In most cases, it involves setting up a proposal which potential vendors can then bid for with their services.
Why changes in this area have been a little slower isn’t exactly clear, but it’s likely that they will speed up relatively soon. The next logical step is a shift to cloud procurement. This is a process through which all the individual elements of procurement are localized in one place.
Instead of a traditional procurement system in which every step would be conducted in a different way, on a different platform, now every necessity for procurement can be accessed together.
There are a number of advantages to using cloud procurement for large-scale projects. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
#1. Easy to Use
There are so many different things that you need to think about when procuring goods and services for your projects. It’s a long and often arduous list that you have to keep on top of to ensure that you have everything you need before you start the project.
- Purchase orders.
- Contract Approval.
- Bid management.
- Vendor management.
- Invoice processing.
And probably several other elements too.
You are doing things like setting up your proposal, going through all of the bids from the vendors so you can make an educated decision, and then conducting the necessary transactions with the chosen vendor.
It’s a long, long process, but with some essential cloud procurement tools, it can be sped up a lot. For one thing, the proposal, the billing, the orders, and the invoices can all be paperless. The process can be tracked digitally, and communication can happen online instead of over the phone or by mail.
Bid and vendor management can be done through a cloud-based data system, which will mean that you can both store more information and it will be much easier to find things in the data by way of keyword searching.
It might be tough for some workers who are used to traditional systems to make the change, but for the most part, cloud procurement is much easier and quicker than current methods.
#2. Less Expensive
This might be the most enticing benefit for big companies. A cloud-based system is a much more cost-effective way to undergo the procurement process so it can cut down on company spending by quite a bit.
Your company will probably have to pay for some kind of subscription, cloud-procurement service, but that’s likely to be the extent of the cost. There will no longer be a need for any physical assets, and as such, there is no longer a need for storage.
The workload gets substantially lessened, so if it was the case before that you required a large number of staff members to deal with procurement, you can now cut that down to just a few different workers.
A cloud-based system is also less likely to require much maintenance. You will need to invest in a good cybersecurity system of course, but that’s likely to be a drop in the bucket by comparison to consistent physical maintenance.
Procurement involves a lot of transactions and a lot of communication. Especially when it comes to the bigger projects, there are a lot of materials and equipment required and so the amount of money exchanged is greater.
And quite naturally, when there is so much money involved, people are a little bit more cautious. They generally like to be more in tune with all the finer details of the transactions so they can be sure they’re not getting short-changed.
This applies to every stakeholder involved in the process. The vendors, the project coordinators, any investors that might be taking part. Historically, it hasn’t always been so easy to keep everyone up to speed on what’s going on with the financial side of things.
By making everything digital, you can be completely transparent and ensure that everyone can track the process as much as they desire. Most of these cloud services will have a dashboard that is accessible to all of the stakeholders.
This will make it clear to everyone how things are progressing and it will be easy to spot any discrepancies or inconsistencies. It will give the vendors and investors more peace of mind, and make them more likely to trust you and be willing to work with you.
At this point, there’s really no valid reason not to switch from the much slower, much more complicated traditional systems to advanced, cloud-based procurement. Companies will see the benefit for their projects almost instantly.
What was once a tedious and stressful process will become just another streamlined, worry-free way to get projects up and running as efficiently as possible.
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