eSourcing software is a secure, centralised online environment that helps procurement departments streamline and expand their buying process. It facilitates faster, better, and more diverse tender opportunities, ultimately helping organisations to generate savings in time and costs and mitigate supply chain risks.
Following on from our article Six Important Reasons to Move From Spreadsheets to Sourcing Software, we have dug into our archives and found a related topic of equal importance—emails! Specifically, procurement’s enduring love of using emails as a way to run tenders and RFQs, and whether this is one of those relationships that is more toxic than healthy.
Procurement professionals have long relied on email to send tenders and RFQs to suppliers. However, email is not always the best tool for the job. It can be inefficient, error-prone, and difficult to track.
E-sourcing solutions offer a number of advantages over email, including the ability to easily track supplier responses and compare pricing, manage the tender process more efficiently, track compliance, and store and manage supplier documentation in a centralised location. Also, by using e-sourcing solutions, you can include more suppliers in your tenders and RFQs, which will lead to increased competition and better prices for your organisation.
This article is a refresh of ‘Email – What is it Good For?’
For nearly three decades, email has reigned as the go-to communication tool for Business to Business (B2B) interactions. As of April 2022, a staggering global count of 231+ million emails were sent worldwide within one minute or a mind-boggling 9.8 billion emails sent daily in the United States, with the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan, India and Germany each sending 8.3 billion emails per day as of April 2023.
Email’s dominance is undeniable.
However, the tides of communication have changed dramatically over the years, especially for the millennial workforce, which has grown up amidst an array of alternative platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat. For this tech-savvy demographic, an email address often serves as little more than a digital ID for website registrations.
At Market Dojo, email is still our largest competitor, chosen as the weapon of choice by many (dare we say, older?) procurement professionals to gather and manage information, prices and tenders from suppliers.
Yet, is email truly suited for handling the complexity of tender processes and running sourcing events?
Note: Ready to move away from emails? Sign up and try Sourcing Dojo for free with our unique ‘sandpit feature’ which offers the full eSourcing experience.
Email’s allure in procurement communications is undeniably potent. First off, it’s free, quick, easy enough to use and for many business users, the digital companion they’ve grown alongside.
But like any long-term relationship, familiarity can result in complacency.
It’s tempting to fire off a wave of emails and think that today’s tasks are done. But how often do you stop to consider how many other emails your intended recipient has received in that same minute, hour, or day? Even the most organised and disciplined among us (including those using the ‘Inbox Zero’ approach) will have experienced that sinking feeling of email overwhelm.
How many emails do you have in your inbox which are unread at this very moment?
The point is, the sheer volume of emails we receive and the resulting reality of how many unread emails languish in inboxes, underline the reality that email’s performance can fall short.
Equally, going back to the new generation of digital natives, there is a strong desire and expectation for specialised tools that remove manual tasks from people’s day to day workload. They expect to have a lot more than just email and spreadsheets in their arsenal.
When it comes to procurement activities, sending an email for a tender to a potential supplier undoubtedly holds more attraction than a standard email due to the potential for new revenue. This attraction may translate into higher than average open and response rates yet, while this engagement might signify effectiveness, challenges arise in the following ways.
1. Collating supplier responses
2. Standardising response formats
3. Organising and preserving documentation within email inboxes and shared folders
4. Ensuring consistent communication and processes are followed by team members
5. Managing access and continuity of supplier information when people change/move roles (will valuable data be lost in an individual’s inbox?)
6. Maintaining a robust audit trail
7. Limiting the number of suppliers invited to tender due to the difficulties of managing a sourcing event by email (which will impact your ability to get the best price/contract terms)
8. Impeding data-led decisions for reviewing and renegotiating existing contracts (where is all the pricing, supplier information, specification, etc. saved? If your answer is a spreadsheet, please read this!)
9. Tracking critical information such as contractual agreements and terms, and details related to compliance with legal and ethical standards including environmental regulations, labour practices, and social responsibility initiatives
Breaking up is hard. There’s the initial feeling of loss, an adjustment period, but slowly and surely, you’ll discover the joys of your new found freedom from laborious manual tasks, inefficiencies and lost data.
Best of breed e-sourcing solutions, such as Sourcing Dojo, will eradicate all of the potential shortfalls of running tenders by email. How?
But what about low value spend?
Lower value, operational purchases known as Tail Spend doesn’t always fall under the remit of the procurement team but can account for many millions within large organisations. Using email to make these purchases will create the same issues as any other purchase so it is just as important to manage through a specialised tool.
Market Dojo’s Quick Quotes acts as a centralised quotation portal for organisations and offers greater visibility for procurement to help increase compliance and get a handle on tail spend. This is especially useful if you would like more visibility of non centralised or local procurement spend. In addition to getting all of the benefits of Sourcing Dojo, users are guided through the process of releasing quotes just as quickly as sending an email. This means that Quick Quotes is a great tool for non procurement specialists.
In the ever-evolving landscape of procurement, email will endure albeit in a lesser role as dedicated e-Sourcing software solutions offer substantial advantages for today’s procurement professionals.
Sourcing Dojo is an on-demand strategic sourcing software solution designed to rapidly evolve procurement from a reactive back office function to a proactive strategic resource.
To see Sourcing Dojo in action either book a demo with our team today or sign up for a free plan to try out our unique sandpit feature which offers the full e-Sourcing experience, from building events as a host, to experiencing them as a supplier.
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