How digital procurement can boost the buyer-supplier relationship

The Build Chain examines how digital procurement solutions can establish greater transparency, trust and efficiency in the buyer-supplier relationship

With its complex projects and tight deadlines, the construction industry faces significant challenges during the procurement process. Traditional methods are often manual and time consuming, leading to delays, difficulties comparing quotes accurately, and problems when trying to maintain multiple supplier relationships, leading many in the industry to consider digital procurement solutions.

Although some professionals worry that digital solutions remove the human element from the procurement process in what is a very relationship-based industry, when used effectively, online procurement platforms can actually enhance the buyer-supplier relationship and improve the process of sourcing materials.

Improving communication with digital platforms

Traditionally, construction procurement has been plagued by lengthy phone calls, unmanageable email threads, and piles of paperwork – all contributing to a strained buyer-supplier relationship and frustrations on both sides.

A good digital procurement platform should provide a centralised communication hub where buyers and suppliers can easily exchange information, discuss requirements, and address any concerns in real-time. This encourages transparency and collaboration, leading to better alignment between each party.

Streamlining the procurement process

Digital solutions bring automation and efficiency to the procurement process, from requisition to payment. By reducing manual tasks and paperwork, these platforms can enable faster order processing, approvals, and invoicing, leading to greater efficiency and productivity for both buyers and suppliers.

This leaves buyers with more time to focus on the most important parts of their role that can’t be replaced by technology, such as building their relationships with suppliers.

Enhancing visibility of key information

Digital procurement platforms can bring greater visibility to the process, allowing buyers to track the status of orders, monitor inventory levels, and analyse spending patterns more easily. Suppliers can also receive relevant data and analytics to better understand buyer preferences and anticipate demand, enabling proactive decision making.

These digital records and interactions improve trust and transparency between buyers and supplier, minimising miscommunication and fostering stronger relationships.

Successful collaboration and innovation

Digital platforms facilitate collaboration and innovation between buyers and suppliers. By sharing information, ideas, and best practice, both parties can identify opportunities for process optimisation, product innovation, and value-added services, leading to mutual growth and success.

Providing transparency

A digital procurement platform can be used to compare suppliers fairly and transparently, which helps maintain a fair but competitive environment. Suppliers are motivated to offer their best services and prices, strengthening the trust and reliance between both parties.

The shift to digital procurement platforms represents a significant advancement in the construction industry’s approach to buying materials and managing supplier relationships. This shift has the power to transform buyer-supplier relationships, and used appropriately, this transformation is a positive one. Digital can be used to promote transparency, efficiency, and collaboration through the entire sourcing process. This creates strong partnerships between buyers and suppliers, driving greater value in the marketplace.

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