“Strive for continuous improvement instead of perfection.”
(K. Collins)

Procurement evolution

Saying procurement is “as old as mankind” wouldn’t be far from the truth. Namely, the first evidence of the existence of supply can be found in ancient history, three thousand years before Christ, where records on how the Egyptians purchased Pyramid materials were found. The Egyptians used their scribes to handle massive supply projects by writing on papyrus the amount of materials and workers needed for the project to be carried out. The main role of these writers (apart from the writing itself) was to track orders, so they are considered one of the first known procurement professionals.

Nowadays, procurement is much more complex compared to its beginnings. It has been developing at lightning speed for the last few decades. Procurement professionals receive procurement requests, communicate with internal clients, investigate the market, prepare tenders and bidding documents based on requests or procurement plans, communicate with suppliers, receive bids, analyze them, make selections, create contracts with suppliers, order goods and much more. Apart from being very tedious, all this amount of operational work creates a large amount of paper documentation that is often being stored in different places and in different formats (Word, Excel, e-mail …). As time goes by, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage and monitor the procurement process. For this very reason, tools such as Ensolva have been developed, which simplify the whole process and improve transparency. Modern procurement, according to the level of development, can be divided into 5 phases:

Procurement evolution

Source: PayStream Advisors, 2013.

The roots of traditional procurement can be found in the 60s of the last century. Procurement processes initially included tons of paperwork, which limited data access. In traditional procurement, documentation was often placed among papers in drawers so access was only available with the assistance of a person who knows where to search. Finding data, sending requests to authorized persons, approving – each activity took an average of at least few days to be done. Piles of paper, a complicated approval system, multiple communication means, manual analysis and waiting led to chaos, generating unnecessary costs.

With the development of technology, the 80s began to introduce the use of computers in the supply chain. It was a milestone that laid the foundation for modern procurement development. The beginning of the development of ERP systems in the 1990s enabled procurement to digitize part of their processes. By introducing more extensive Internet usage, e-catalogs, online vendor databases, e-mails, and specialized websites enabled procurement to expand the digitization of their processes. However, too much data was still left non-transparent and unorganized.

Today we have complete software solutions such as Ensolva, which provide centralized support and the ability to easily manage the entire procurement process. In addition to drastically reducing the amount of paperwork and manual signing and approval, Ensolva, as a centralized system, includes modules for creating and approving requests, bidding, creating offers, communicating with suppliers and eAuctions, excluding the need for using generic tools such as Word, Excel or e-mail. Given that the system automatically collects, systematizes and analyzes huge amounts of data, procurement analysis with Ensolva is a very simple process. Using this kind of tool increases the level of transparency, facilitates supervision and helps management of procurement processes becoming more efficient. Using software solutions such as Ensolva generates direct savings of money and time.

Procurement tools we have today developed in a very short time and enabled us to access data we couldn’t even imagine before. Technological progress creates new opportunities, and it is hard to even predict what the future will bring us. For this very reason, it’s important to keep pace with time and take advantage of opportunities modern solutions offer, with the aim of improving business processes and raising the level of competitiveness. By using Ensolva, Procurement adds value to companies and becomes their strategic function!