4 tips to optimize time within the purchasing sector
From the time allotted to work meetings, studies and the time dedicated to the family, many activities compete for our attention during the day. And almost always we end up with the feeling that 24 hours are not enough to take care of all the commitments.
Because of this, the economist Daniel Hamermesh, in his book Spending Time: the most valuable resource, defines time as the most scarce commodity of today.
He goes further, stating that even if we manage to gain some time living near work or hiring a person to perform some tasks that can be delegated, there will still be a list of non-transferable activities left – such as an important meeting with a supplier, where complex negotiations will take place, or a child’s birthday. And again, time will seem insufficient.
One way to overcome this situation is with efficient time planning and administration – which will contribute to greater productivity in the purchasing industry.
To get that balance right for you, check out some time management tips below.
4 tips to optimize your time within the purchasing sector
“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else”. This quote from the father of modern administration, Peter Drucker, sums up the importance of time management and to help you get good administration on your agenda, we list some important tips. Check it out!
1) Count on solid procedures
When all the work within the purchasing department is carried out following previously planned standards and processes – based on both theoretical knowledge and practical experience – the risks of errors are reduced and, consequently, the need to spend time correcting problems in the future.
In this sense, it is important that the purchasing department:
- Has a good Compliance program;
- Be aware of the hiring process and make sure that all the hires are, in fact, qualified to be a part of the team and manage your purchase portfolio;
- Adopt appropriate technological solutions that automate repetitive tasks and offer agility to the processes and projects in the area. Tools such as Evernote (allows creating task lists and controlling deadlines, among other functions) or RescueTime (it helps understand routine work habits and generates reports for user analysis), is one of these options – see other software useful to work in the purchasing sector.
These measures, in the medium and long term, usually bring very successful results for productivity in the purchasing sector.
2) Counting on an efficient training program and teamwork
It is not enough to have a competent team, it is necessary to offer constant training that helps to develop the necessary skills for the digital era.
In this sense, two practices aimed at professional development deserve to be considered:
- Upskilling: refers to professional development in the field in which you already have a certain domain, improving and expanding your current qualifications.
- Reskilling: learning new skills in order to perform tasks different from those you already do.
Moreover, transparent and clear communication and well prepared employees are a great asset in optimizing time – since the work gains in quality, doubts usually appear in smaller numbers, possible mistakes are less recurrent and solutions for them often come from the team itself.
Therefore, invest in good communication channels, so that the whole team knows the objectives of the sector, the work process and has space to clarify doubts;
Moreover, a competent team is usually more creative and proactive. Therefore, it is important that everyone knows your skills and those of your fellow workers, and there is trust between everyone.
3) Adopt a time management method
There are techniques specifically developed for time management, that leverage productivity in the purchasing sector. Get to know some of them and see how they can help in your day-to-day.
3.A) GTD Method (Getting Things Done)
This methodology assumes greater control of the routine to obtain better results. To do this, it is necessary to follow 5 steps:
- Capture: gather everything that’s important and organize it into a task list – which can be done on the computer or on paper;
- Clarify: evaluate each item to define which ones demand an action;
- Organize: after the selection made in the previous step, organize a list grouping the tasks according to similarities and, within each group, by priority;
- Reflect: check this planning weekly to make sure it’s up to date and with all the necessary tasks – you can include something new or delete some items;
- Engage: it’s time to actually perform the selected tasks in your lists.
The market offers tools that help apply the GTD method, among them:
- Google Keep: available for Chrome, iOS and Android, it allows the user to create notes and task lists with audio, image and virtual “post-its”;
- Workflowy: It can be used on the site or on the app that creates lists by categories, organizing into areas of responsibility that help define priorities;
- Evernote: stores different content such as photos, drawings, audios and videos, allowing the organization of ideas in “notebooks” using the same concept of mind map. It also allows organization through notes, label, etc.
3.B) Kanban Method
This is a technique consisting of grouping tasks in a table divided into sections. Example: tasks to be started, tasks in progress, tasks completed.
There are computer programs that do this work – Trello is one of them – but this method can also be done manually.
In this case, you must have a board to place cards with a summary of the task in the appropriate section as the process progresses. This board can be personal or for the whole purchasing sector.
If it is the second option, it should be placed in a space where the entire team has access and the cards should have a specific color for each employee, who is in charge of allocating his or her card in the appropriate section according to the progress of the activity.
This method ensures transparency to the team, since everyone knows what is being developed and can collaborate with colleagues, giving suggestions that can facilitate and improve the activities. They also avoid the same task (such as product quotation) being performed in duplication.
Important tips for using the Kanban method:
- Set deadlines for each task;
- Plan weekly or daily priority tasks to be executed in the period, only adding other activities when these, considered most important at the time, are completed!
3.C) Pomodoro Method
Created in the 1980’s, this methodology works with the division of tasks in time intervals called “pomodoro” (each one with 25 minutes), aiming to stimulate brain focus and agility – check out the article about the Triune Brain and see how to use the knowledge about the brain in your work and relationships.
Put the Pomodoro technique in action, following the steps:
- List: make a list of the tasks to be performed;
- Work without pauses: after selecting the task you will perform, program a timer for 25 minutes and work on it without interruptions;
- Relax: as soon as the time is up, take a 5 minute break, doing something that relaxes you;
- Restart: after the break, resume the activities for one more “pomodoro”, always taking breaks at the end of each period;
- Pause for longer: after four “pomodoros”, take a 30 minute break – then restart the process.
- Finish: when you finish the task, cross it off your list and move on to the next one.
To make it easier to draw up your task list and get better results with the Pomodoro method, follow the step-by-step below:
4) Count on the best suppliers
Working with reliable suppliers is one of the most efficient ways to save time, by avoiding problems such as late delivery or purchasing the wrong product/material.
However, searching for and selecting suppliers is a time-consuming task. Therefore, the most efficient strategy is to count on the support of a company specialized in indirect material procurement, such as Soluparts.
We are a global company, specialized in purchases of all types of industrial materials, with access to the world’s most relevant and committed manufacturers. We make several quotations, with various suppliers and send our customers a unified offer, with the best options in terms of value and commercial conditions (of all materials requested).
We also work with annual contracts – please contact us to find out more. Based on a list of parts the company may need during the following year, we quote each item with suppliers around the world and send a consolidated document with all the information about the materials to our customers.
If, during the year, there is demand for any of the materials included in the planning, it will not be necessary to make a new quotation, if the contract has been closed. All you have to do is send us the purchase order that we have arranged for the purchase, as previously informed.
Please contact our team for more details on the operation and conditions of the annual contract.
TALK TO US