Procurement tools: what do you need in 2023?

Guides
October 17, 2022
9
min

Procurement teams can quickly find themselves buried in admin work. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of procurement tools on the market that can automate the mundane tasks often involved in procurement processes. 

This guide describes what those tools are, how they work, and which ones are right for you. 

What are procurement tools?

A procurement tool is a piece of software that enables procurement teams to gain control over their spending, stock, and sourcing processes

Procurement tools are designed to reduce manual admin work, create cost savings, and minimize risk for fast-growing businesses. They achieve this by improving visibility into procurement processes and optimizing them to make them more efficient.

But procurement is a broad field. This means there are a variety of different types of procurement tools on the market, each with something unique to offer. Let’s explore a few of these different types now. 

What are the different types of procurement tools?

As we just mentioned, procurement teams rely on a variety of different tools in their work.

Some teams use a unified procurement tool. This is a solution that helps to streamline multiple different procurement processes, rather than just one. The downside of unified procurement tools is that they’re typically expensive and only offer the basic features required for each process. 

Meanwhile, other teams use procurement tools that focus on streamlining individual procurement processes. These tools offer a more advanced but refined set of features as a result. 

To help you understand which types of procurement tools you’d benefit from the most, we’ve explored a few of the main procurement tools below. To find out what they are and how they work, read on.

1. Procurement contract tools 

📘 What is it? 

A contract tool is a piece of software that streamlines the creation, negotiation, signing, and tracking of contracts. It seeks to replace the manual process traditionally used to handle contracts, making it easier for commercial teams, like procurement teams, to manage them with ease and at scale.

⚙️ How does it work?

Rather than moving between multiple different tools, like Microsoft Word, email, Excel and shared drives, software like Juro enables teams to generate procurement contracts, negotiate, sign and store them all in one platform. 

Some of the most common features in this procurement tool include: 

  • Automated contract templates: some contract management systems like Juro will enable users to generate contracts in seconds using automated contract templates. This  empowers procurement teams to self-serve on contract creation, rather than relying on in-house legal teams to draft contracts for them. 
  • Approval workflows: most contract tools will also offer customizable approval workflows. This feature makes it quick and easy to decide which contracts require approval and by whom. 
  • Bulk actions: tools like Juro enable procurement teams to mass-create, send and sign contracts. These mass actions ensure that your contract workflow can scale as your company grows.
  • Automated contract reminders: this type of procurement tool also provides access to automated contract reminders. These can be set up to remind signatories that they need to sign contracts, or for post-signature deadlines like automated renewals.
  • Centralized contract repository: contract repositories are yet another useful feature for procurement teams. By centralizing your contract storage, you can ensure that all of your contracts are stored securely in one place. This makes them easier to find and access when you need them. 
  • Contract analytics: contract tools like Juro make extracting valuable contract data simple for procurement teams. Rather than manually updating an excel spreadsheet with key dates and other information, Juro automatically extracts and compiles this data for you.

✅ How does it help procurement teams?

Procurement tools like Juro can provide value to procurement teams to store contracts securely and analyze them at any given time. 

For example, Juro enables users to query contract data on demand, with no need for extensive tagging. Juro users can also track the status of contracts in real-time. This enables procurement teams to quickly find out where a contract is in its lifecycle, and if there are any blockers. 

Given that procurement contracts typically affect a variety of business stakeholders, this procurement tool can also benefit procurement teams by providing a single workspace to collaborate seamlessly on contracts. 

This reduces the need for switching between platforms to draft and review contracts. It also eliminates version control issues and makes requesting approval for contracts simple. 

🌟 Examples of procurement contract tools

Juro 

Juro is an all-in-one contract automation platform that enables all teams to streamline the creation, execution and management of routine contracts at scale. 

The platform offers all of the features we described above and is top-rated for ease of use, enabling procurement teams to self-serve on contracts

Below are some examples of the independent reviews left by Juro customers on G2

“The whole platform is great, from creating templates to tracking the lifecycle of a contract agreement until it is signed.”
“It's enabled my revenue team to generate and negotiate contracts quicker and also give me visibility into where contracts are getting stuck”

To find out more about how Juro can be used to manage procurement contracts, hit the button below. 

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2. Spend management and analysis tools 

📘 What is it? 

Spend management software is a popular way for procurement teams to track, manage and analyze business expenses. This type of procurement tool is designed to capture data about a company’s spending and report back on it.

⚙️ How does it work?

This particular type of procurement tool works by collecting and analyzing data about a company’s spending behaviour. It can also give stakeholders more control over their spending by establishing approval processes and painting a clearer picture of greater a company’s overall spending. 

Common features of this type of procurement tool include:

  • Invoice creation: this type of procurement tool is often used to generate invoices, which removes the need to create and fill in invoices manually. 
  • Automated categorization: most spend analysis software will break expenses down into different categories so that companies can quickly understand where they are spending their money, and where they need to cut back.
  • Access to supplier data: some spend management tools will provide access to supplier data. By giving procurement teams access to information about their vendors, procurement teams are more informed when entering into contract negotiations.
  • Reporting: most spend management tools will create expense reports. This digestible overview of a company’s spending can be used to flag spending patterns and create forecasts for the future.
  • Approval workflows: it is also common for this procurement tool to have an approval feature. This makes it possible for key stakeholders to approve or reject certain expenses.

✅ ​​How does it help procurement teams?

One of the biggest benefits of spend management software is that it informs procurement teams about their spending and helps them to identify opportunities to make cost savings. 

By doing this, the software enables businesses to become more efficient by optimizing their spending and sourcing decisions. This results in higher profits, reduced value leakage, and less risk. 

🌟 Examples of spend management software

SAP Ariba

SAP Ariba is a market leader for procurement teams in large enterprises, and it is priced accordingly. 

The cloud-based procurement tool also offers other valuable features for procurement teams, including supply chain management and the ability for suppliers and buyers to collaborate seamlessly within the platform. 

However, according to independent reviews on G2, smaller companies find the software difficult to use and expensive. 

Spendesk 

Spendesk is another popular procurement tool for teams seeking to analyze and manage their spending. 

The platform enables users to set financial goals, categorize expenses, perform spend analysis and generate reports for senior stakeholders. 

Spendesk has a user-friendly interface and is one of the more modern spend management solutions on the market, with customers including Gousto, Habito, and more. 

3. Inventory management tools

📘 What is it? 

Inventory management software is a procurement tool used to track stock levels and give businesses real-time insights into where their inventory is at any given time. This enables procurement teams to manage orders, forecast availability, and better predict demand.

⚙️ How does it work?

This type of procurement tool works by tracking the location and status of individual units of stock. This data is then updated in real-time to tell procurement teams which stock is available, when stock will next be refreshed, and where it needs to be sent. 

Inventory management software typically has the following features:

  • Real-time inventory tracking: this particular type of procurement tool offers real-time tracking for the stock in your inventory. This makes it quick and easy to monitor your stock levels and whereabouts in real-time. 
  • Automated alerts: most inventory management systems will send automated alerts when stock levels get low. This ensures businesses have enough notice to reorder stock and update stock levels for customers. 
  • Reporting: it’s also common for inventory tracking software to create reports. These reports can provide insights into everything from how long it takes to sell certain products to the age of your stock.
  • Invoice automation: some inventory management software will also automatically generate and populate invoices when certain items are sold.

✅ How does it help procurement teams?

Inventory management software benefits procurement teams by making stock management significantly easier. It can be used to provide accurate updates on stock numbers and whereabouts, which helps to ensure orders can be fulfilled quickly and efficiently. 

🌟 Examples of inventory management software

Netsuite

Owned by Oracle, NetSuite is one of the most comprehensive procurement tools on the market. Netsuite users can pay for access to financial data, CRMs, and inventory management, among other things. Although, accessing all of these tools together can quickly become expensive.

Xero 

Xero is best known for its accounting software. However, they also offer simple inventory management software to help businesses keep track of what’s in stock, report on what’s selling best and create invoices.

While the solution is basic, it’s also one of the more affordable procurement tools on the market, with plans starting from around $14 per month. This makes it a great option for small businesses that only require basic inventory management features.

4. eSourcing software

📘 What is it? 

eSourcing software is a procurement tool designed to streamline the process used to find, evaluate and select suppliers to work with. This procurement tool is used to identify the best suppliers to collaborate with based on predefined criteria. 

⚙️ How does it work?

Usually, the sourcing process would involve suppliers filling out certain forms, such as Request for Information (RFI) forms and Request for Quotation (RFQ) forms. These forms capture all of the information procurement teams need to compare potential suppliers. 

Without eSourcing software, this data would need to be collected and entered into spreadsheets to be analyzed manually. However, an eSourcing tool will automate this process by collecting, storing, and analyzing supplier information on your behalf. 

eSourcing software typically has the following features:

  • Conditional logic: most eSourcing tools will use conditional logic to analyze the performance of different suppliers in different scenarios. This makes it easier to predict how certain suppliers will compare under different conditions without having to do the calculations manually.
  • Document creation: It’s common for eSourcing platforms to provide the functionality needed to draft bid documents and advertise them. Users can create bid documents from existing templates and automatically populate these within this type of procurement tool.
  • Document storage: eSourcing tools provide a centralized place to store all of the forms you need from suppliers, making them easy to find and access. Some more comprehensive procurement tools might even offer contract storage, too. 

✅ How does it help procurement teams?

eSourcing software enables procurement teams to reduce the admin work involved in sourcing new suppliers. It also provides a smoother experience for suppliers and procurement teams during the sourcing process.

🌟 Examples of eSourcing software

Proactis 

Proactis is a sourcing software that makes it easier to evaluate suppliers and run competitive bidding processes. It is designed for mid-market businesses and is used by customers in a variety of sectors, including but not limited to financial services, retail, pharmaceuticals and the public sector.

Jaggaer 

Jaggaer is an eSourcing solution that helps procurement teams choose the best value suppliers with minimal admin work. Jaggae uses what-if scenarios and AI to predict the value of different suppliers, as well as providing a platform to connect and collaborate with prospective suppliers. 

What to consider when choosing a procurement tool

When choosing the right procurement tools for your business, it’s important to consider which procurement processes are least efficient to begin with.

It could be that you spend extensive amounts of time trying to manually track and monitor spend, or that procurement contracts are becoming a drain on legal’s time as your contract volumes grow. 

By pinpointing which processes are distracting you from higher value work, you’ll have a better idea of which problems you want your next procurement tool to solve. 

Of course, you’ll also want to consider other factors when comparing procurement tools, like how they fit into your budget, which other platforms they integrate with, and how easy they are for users to adopt. 

Need help managing procurement contracts?

If creating and managing procurement contracts is a pain point for your business, a contract automation solution like Juro could be the answer. 

Juro is the only platform that truly enables you to process contracts end-to-end with one solution, enabling legal and procurement teams to agree contracts faster and at scale. 

To find out more about how Juro can help procurement teams to reduce contract admin, fill in the form below. 

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