3 Ways to Keep Your Edge in Construction Procurement: Dealing With COVID Instability

Manage FF&E specification, procurement, and product data at scale. Take on bigger projects with confidence and grow your firm with  FohlioSchedule a demo or book a consultation with one of our account managers to explore these features today.

Almost two years in, COVID is still a threat to the supply chain integrity. Rising freight rates, longer lead times, and diminishing stock have challenged our once-consistent supply chain.

Faced with issues like lack of inventory and unreliable delivery performance, firms are shifting focus to sourcing and risk management just to keep business running as usual.

Here’s what the top procurement firms are doing to stay on, well, top.

1 – Maximize visibility and centralize communication with your suppliers.

A powerful tool high-performing procurement organizations rely on is visibility. It enables them to offer greater in-depth analyses of spending, contracts, and sources. For the entire organization, increased visibility means greater information sharing, faster communication, and better, more informed decisions. 

Having a contact book that gives in-depth insights (like compliance rates and lead times) into your suppliers could unlock a higher level of efficiency for your procurement flow.

How to Keep Your Edge in Construction Procurement- Dealing With COVID Instability | Fohlio FF&E specification and procurement software | scoring suppliers

 Assessing which suppliers have the capacity to deliver while complying with the terms you have set and having an open line of communication with your suppliers is key to ensuring that you are able to clarify things like material supply risks and pricing fluctuations during delay and disruption. Imagine being able to track all of your POs from different suppliers in one platform. Save up on time spent juggling between emails and documents when you use Fohlio. 

Learn more: 5 Ways to Eliminate Time-Wasting Procurement Emails

Stay up to date with things like spend visibility, stock availability, PO status, date of delivery, and updated market prices, as they are all integral to empowering the success of your delivery.

How to Keep Your Edge in Construction Procurement- Dealing With COVID Instability | Fohlio FF&E specification and procurement software | purchase order status

2 – Demands are changing: Gain competitive advantage by listening to what your customers say.

COVID- 19 is far more than a medical crisis; it has changed our way of life. The pandemic played a significant role in changing organizational spending capacity. Stocking up on essentials does not only go for medical assets. To maintain efficiency, firms are now usually preoccupied with spending on constantly used items (in our case that might be things like hardware and plumbing materials) and have started to let go of unnecessary materials that do not really affect the functioning of a design. 

This can easily be tracked by seeing which among the materials in your POs have had a high volume of demand or repeat orders. This might render some of the items you are currently stocking up on useless, and becoming a part of your waste. The key is to listen to what your customers need and to be mindful of what the market demands from you. An easier solution for this is to have a record of your POs. From there, you can observe new patterns as to what items you should focus on procuring to gain a competitive advantage.

Learn more: How to Make Purchase Order Management Less Chaotic and More Hardworking

Here’s an example: Let’s say you’ve noticed a rise in demand for polished concrete from your clients. You’ve got historical data to back up your claim (take the image above) as you have been seeing some repeat orders for the same material from multiple clients recently. 

Seeing that there is a demand for this material, you would like to recommend that your company stock up on polished concrete in advance. You then take the next steps and forecast the number of orders you should be expecting within the next  few months based on your observations from the last and order this material before the demands kick in. This lets you avoid the price fluctuations and supply shortage next month from the influx of demand. 

Your clients are happy because they got the material for cheap, and you’re happy because that puts you in a good position for both compliance and lead time. Sounds pretty great, right? Don’t underestimate small data points as they can take you a long way. Having a procurement database that has all the information you need can give you the edge you might need.

Learn more: How to Measure Construction Procurement Success

3 – Specify the actions you need to take per alert level, and use a specification software that can adapt to COVID restrictions. 

The playing field is elastic, which is why you should be, too. We’ve got differing protocols and altering routes depending on the severity of the cases. Staying on top of this means having execution plans for any alert level. This could be done by creating a business continuity plan that outlines how project work will be distributed among your team members and delegated on or off-site (per alert level). The business continuity plan should also contain an outline of actions for managing supply risk. An example would be setting up contracts with suppliers that define next steps in case of delays like delay pricing and extended warranties. 

Learn more: How to Increase Your Company’s Bottomline With Next-Level E-Procurement Software

On top of this, work setups have become more fluid in the past two years. It’s best if you equip your team with the tools they need that are timely and effective to their set-ups. Whatever you used to do pre-COVID, however effective that might have been, probably won’t be an effective solution for the present day. Remote and hybrid job types are taking over, and site conditions are constantly changing.

What we realized during this challenging time is that we don’t need to be physically present 24/7 to keep the business running. That’s great news for us since all it means is that you need only the right tool and not much more to keep things running. Ideally, the tool is one that can keep work streamlined for all members while your work conditions and test environments remain unpredictable. To conclude, there’s no better way to work while keeping a safe distance unless it’s through optimizing online centralized platforms and softwares like Fohlio

Learn more: 4 Ways to Make Telecommuting Work for Your Design and Construction Firm

Manage FF&E specification, procurement, and product data at scale. Take on bigger projects with confidence and grow your firm with  FohlioSchedule a demo or book a consultation with one of our account managers to explore these features today.

References:

https://www2.deloitte.com/ch/en/pages/technology/articles/shaping-sourcing-and-procurement-in-a-post-covid-environment.html
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2021-12-22/supply-chain-latest-experts-say-buckle-up-for-another-bumpy-year
https://www.aurecongroup.com/thinking/thinking-papers/covid-19-procurement-management

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