What could be better than watching a good movie? Watching the movie and, on top of that, improving our performance at work!
With that in mind we made a list of 5 unmissable movies for the shopping professional’s routine – and that can be seen in good company, making better use of your time at home.
Prepare your popcorn, have fun and expand your knowledge!
1. 12 Angry Men (1957)
A classic movie with Henry Fonda as the lead character. It tells the story of a young Puerto Rican who goes on trial accused of killing his own father. After the evidence is presented, twelve jurors meet to decide the sentence, which must be unanimous.
In the first round to reach the decision, eleven jurors – each based on their own convictions – decide on charging him as guilty. But the 12th, Mr. Davis (Fonda), is not convinced of the boy’s guilt and starts a process where he will try to get the other members of the jury to review their decision.
Reflections provoked by the film
Even though he is a minority, Mr. Davis persists in presenting his point of view to the other participants in the group.
Controlling his emotions even when harassed by other people participating in the “negotiation” and using arguments to guide his point of view, he does not try to impose his opinion. His tactic is to get other people to consider other options in addition to the idea originally conceived.
Another point that deserves to be highlighted is that the protagonist is open to consider other opinions, as long as they are accompanied by good arguments. In other words, he has no intention of making his own prevail, but defends it in a respectful and intelligent way.
To have more details of the negotiation techniques used by the character and, mainly, to know the verdict, check out the film – it is certainly an excellent tool for the purchasing professional to evaluate his way of negotiating and even improve it to get better results.
2. Up in the Air (2009)
It tells the story of an executive, lived by George Clooney, who travels around the United States with the task of firing employees of multinational companies.
Ryan Bingham, Clooney’s character name, loves his work. However, his professional routine is put on the spot when his company hires the young Natalie Keener (played by Anna Kendrick), who has developed a dismissal process through videoconference, without the need for expensive travel.
Reflections provoked by the film
The clash between traditional and new management is represented very well by the protagonist’s struggle to defend his way of working, in some aspects already outdated, from the changes provided by technological transformation.
As the procurement sector is often guided by more traditional work models, the procurement professional has the opportunity to reflect on the importance of remaining open to change, reaping the benefits that transformation provides.
The difficulty of teamwork and communication are also explored in the film, where both characters wish to impose their point of view. Only when one starts to try to see the situation from the other’s perspective, do they start to respect each other and learn from each other’s experience.
3. Bridge of Spies (2015)
Based on a true story, the film features Tom Hanks and English actor Mark Rylance (Oscar-winning supporting actor for this role).
In 1957, in the midst of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, lawyer James Donovan (Hanks) is in charge of defending Russian spy Rudolf Abel (Rylance) in an American court and convinces the judge to leave him alive to serve as a bargaining chip, should any American be arrested in Soviet territory.
A few years later, the lawyer is invited to negotiate the exchange between the Russian spy and an American and to top it off, try to free an American student, imprisoned in East Berlin.
Reflections provoked by the film
When the lawyer was invited to defend the spy from the enemy country, everyone believed he would make a symbolic defense. However, he prepared himself for the clash and was able to identify an argument strong enough to have a turn at the “negotiating table”.
Not only did he surprise the others involved, who were so confident in winning they didn’t prepare themselves to negotiate, but he also demonstrated his negotiating value to the point of being called to an even more important and complex negotiation (because of the conflicts involved) in the future.
The movie portairs the perfect negotiation planning class, including listening to other people in the team to outline the ideal strategy and to have a “plan B”, always aiming for the best possible result.
4. Invictus (2009)
Another film based on facts. It touches on the power of leadership to solve conflicts and unite a team.
After the end of Apartheid, newly elected President Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) needs to find ways to lead a South Africa that remains racially and economically divided.
To do this, he chooses the universal language of sports and joins forces with Rugby Captain Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon) to unite all South Africans in favor of the national team at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
Reflections provoked by the film
After successive governments in which the rights of the black population have been repressed, the great leader Mandela does not think about revenge. Even under pressure from some members of his team, he opts for the path of pacification.
Often it is necessary to coexist, within the team itself, with individuals who have different ideas and even different behaviors. A leader is not afraid to keep at his side people with opposing points of view, he takes the best from each one, always aiming at a greater and collective good.
The film reinforces the importance of loyalty and commitment, revealing that in order for you to create a good team, including professionals in the purchasing sector, good leadership is needed.
Another very interesting aspect is the presence of two types of leaders: the born leader (Mandela) and one who is being molded to face a complex situation – in this case, the rugby captain.
5. The Social Network (2010)
It reveals what happened behind-the-scenes of the creation of Facebook, in 2003, by computer genius Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), with the help of Brazilian Eduardo Saverin – making the American the world’s youngest billionaire.
The film also shows the personal and legal complications that occurred during the process that transformed the social network into one of the largest on the planet.
Reflections provoked by the film
The new media, which emerged with the digital transformation, has changed the way people interact, communicate and even work – working from home has proven to be a good option for many companies.
It’s a good way to understand the impact of powerful social networks today and how they can be used to benefit business – such as researching a supplier’s reputation and improving internal communication, for example.
So, did you like the suggested stories? Did you miss any movies you’ve watched and that have contributed to your training as a procurement professional? Send us your suggestion and we’ll expand our list!
Conflicts can arise during a negotiation and means to resolve them must be found. But what is the best strategy to achieve positive results for the negotiating parties? Check out this post and find out!
Identifying the difficulties of negotiation
We can define conflict as the lack of understanding between two (or more) parties, causing tension on at least one side involved in the negotiation process.
There are two ways of looking at conflicts when it comes to negotiation. The first is to think that it is harmful and that the people who produce it are emotionally disturbed. The other way is to see it as an opportunity to work to minimize losses and maximize gains for all.
For those who want to do well in a negotiation that involves different opinions, only the second view on the subject is possible. But before resolving a disagreement, it is necessary to know whether it is an affective or a conflict of perspective, teaches the negotiation teacher, Paulo A. Alves de Almeida (PUC/MG), who has among his students many professionals from the purchasing department.
An Affective Conflict involves interpersonal incompatibility among negotiators, making it difficult to exchange information and causing the energy of understanding to be directed towards solving people’s problems rather than seeking solutions for business.
But in a Conflict of Perspective there is a disagreement of thought among the elements that are participating in the negotiation, which is natural, after all, each individual has his own ideas and perceives reality in a particular way.
William Ury, founder of Harvard University’s School of Negotiation, says that conflict is natural and will always exist, and it is up to the negotiator to find ways to overcome it.
But the expert also says it is a mistake to believe that good negotiators are born ready. For him, to be successful in a negotiation that involves conflict is something you learn, and for that he gives the first tip: before influencing someone, you must influence and dominate yourself!
Solving conflicts in a negotiation
This is an essential point in a negotiation: the participants must be able to persuade and modify each other’s ideas. How can this be done? Follow the tips that follow – they are very useful for those working in the purchasing department.
Overcome interpersonal conflict
By considering each other opponents, there is no chance for dialogue and the negotiation will not progress. The negotiator should focus on resolving the deal, preventing personal feelings from being a part of the negotiating table.
The Harvard professor says that a classic mistake in negotiation is to think that being soft on people means being soft on the problem. Or the opposite: to imagine that a firm approach to the problem requires being tough on people.
According to the expert, what successful negotiators do is separate people from the issue discussed so that they can be calm with people while remaining firm about the problem.
In addition, if you notice that other members of the group have this kind of disagreement, you cannot get involved in the situation or take sides. The best way out is to value opinions, creating space for all group members to express themselves.
When all participants have the perception that their opinions have been listened to in a respectful way, even without being adopted, there is a feeling of collective responsibility for the final decisions.
Find similar points
No matter how different the opinion of people who are taking part in the negotiations is, there will always be at least one point in common. And you have to identify it before they are camouflaged by differences.
The negotiator must therefore find the similar points of the two parties and start the conversation on this item and gradually introduce the disagreements.
Another important point is to take the initiative in the negotiation because, according to experts in this field, those who have this attitude can have greater control of the situation, increasing the chances of success – those who work in the purchasing department need to know this.
Know how to deal with problems
Preparing for uncomfortable situations can help the negotiator deal with them, when (and if) they happen – at such times, it is essential to control anxiety and maintain balance.
One way to overcome a conflict is to apply the active listening technique. Also known as empathetic listening or reflective listening, it consists of listening and responding to the other party in a truly understanding way, capturing not only the words (verbal language), but also their feelings, manifested by gestures, posture and even looks (non-verbal language).
Calling the person by name, using the same tone and volume to the other party and always being very polite are simple attitudes that help to establish greater interaction and closeness.
The active listening technique allows you to:
- Increase trust and mutual respect;
- Release emotions and reduce tension;
- Encourage participants to disclose information;
- Create a safe environment for problem solving.
Act as a mediator
In complex negotiations, the way out for conflict resolution can be to act as a mediator. This is one of the concepts taught in the Harvard Negotiation class by Professor William Ury.
What he calls the third side is a negotiator who, even though they have interests in the issue to be resolved, manages to advocate for the interests of all. In order for this to work, however, this negotiator must be trusted from both sides, otherwise they will not be able to establish themselves as a mediator.
A well-conducted negotiation leads to the difficulties being overcome, allowing everyone to be sure in the end that they have been heard and that the decision was the best possible one for all parties.
However, it is worth noting that it is not only the result of the transaction that should be considered, but the way the process was conducted. If in the course of the transaction there was an exchange of concessions between the parties, the necessary balance was established so that everyone felt comfortable and left the process satisfied – and ready for future negotiations based on mutual respect.
If you want to know more advanced negotiation techniques, it is worth knowing other relevant tips that we have prepared to help you get the best results. Click, read and perfect your way of negotiating:
For some time now, companies have been investing in creating a purchasing industry that uses resources such as automation technology and cloud computing for greater efficiency.
But has this area reached the level of maturity necessary to benefit from the transformation that is within the reach of purchasing in Industry 4.0? That’s what we’ll see next.
Digital maturity of the purchasing sector
In a recent study, Forrester Consult interviewed 417 purchasing leaders from North America and Europe to identify the degree of digital maturity in the area, noting that 65% of organizations said they were at an advanced stage in this regard.
However, the same survey showed that they are further away from a 4.0 Purchasing sector than they had imagined, with only 16% of companies at an advanced level of maturity – meaning they make intelligent use of the technological innovation available and are programmed to keep up with all the evolution that technological resources will bring in the coming years.
Another highlight of this study concerns the poor technological choices that companies have made. The result is that 82% of them have changed (or are thinking of changing) their digital provider, mainly due to the lack of integration between the implemented solutions (30%) and the difficulty of use of the tools by users (27%).
The conclusion of the researchers is that the vast majority of the companies interviewed still adopt a digital approach that simplifies processes and improves the efficiency of the purchasing sector, but this is not close to the transformation provided by Purchasing 4.0.
And the first step in this direction is up to the purchasing manager: to realistically assess the digital maturity in which the sector currently finds itself and, together with the Information Technology department, to outline the best strategy towards a planned and continuous transformation journey that will provide real competitive advantage for the company.
Organizations that do not adopt a smart approach to purchasing will risk losing space to the competition with digital knowledge, since the current business environment is one of extremely rapid change.
The Purchasing Team in Industry 4.0
Purchasing managers are still reticent about implementing new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Automation or Blockchain in the industry routine.
This is the conclusion of a survey conducted by Deloitte – an American business consulting firm based in several countries around the world, including Brazil – pointing out that 51% of the managers interviewed are hesitant because they understand that their teams do not yet have enough resources to execute a digital purchasing strategy.
It is clear, therefore, that Purchasing 4.0 managers need to find new talent and also prepare the employees already hired, forming a multifunctional team with training to face the digital transformation.
Another essential factor to obtain the best possible performance from the purchasing team is to establish metrics that make it possible to evaluate all the collective and individual work. This analysis will allow us to know the team’s weak and strong points, investing in improvement actions.
And, of course, we must not forget that the purchasing manager himself must adapt to the new times, acquiring fundamental skills for the digital era.
Using modern tools correctly, the area will be able to capture, analyze and act from updated data in real time, creating agile connections with the entire organization, optimizing processes and increasing purchasing efficiency.
Purchasing 4.0 raises the sector’s value proposition
According to the German Henrik von Scheel, creator of the expression and fundamentals of Industry 4.0, we entered the second wave of Industry 4.0, characterized by the connection between advanced technologies and the use that humans can make of them, aiming at the improvement of organizational processes.
The purchasing sector has the opportunity to take advantage of this phase to increase its value proposition within the company, uniting its strategic knowledge about the market and its wide experience in purchasing with the opportunities brought by technological transformation.
This is the case, for example, with the use of bots. Considered a kind of assistant with Artificial Intelligence, it can provide updated information on purchasing processes and also generate automated demand. Through sensors placed in the stocked materials (making use of systems based on intelligence of things, IoT), the bot can identify the decrease in the stock of products and issue, autonomously, the purchase order before the item finishes and interferes in the organizational routine.
One of the great advantages of bots is that they can be implemented quickly, with little change in the process already used. That doesn’t eliminate the need for constant monitoring, by a properly trained professional, to ensure control over the resource – IT specialists recommend that the monitoring takes place on a daily basis, to ensure that the bots are running, and that there is a deeper performance assessment, on a monthly basis and whenever system changes occur.
Bots are already a reality in organizations, providing vendor management, purchase order creation, order and payment processing. But there is much to explore in this resource, and it is important that organizations reflect on operational details and impacts before the bots are deployed in the area.
In our blog, we’ve already covered other technologies that are influencing purchasing in Industry 4.0. Therefore, to complement your knowledge on the subject, we recommend reading from:
Soluparts can also collaborate for greater efficiency in the purchasing area, offering benefits such as better prices and agility to its customers. Get to know Soluparts differentials and values and take the opportunity to quote with our experts.
Have you ever heard of Strategic Sourcing? This concept has become very widespread among professionals in the purchasing area and in the business environment.
Basically, this methodology intends to analyze the total cost for the aquisition of products or services through observation, mapping and analysis of the specifications of materials, service levels and suppliers.
Read down below so you can understand a little more about Strategic Sourcing and how it helps you to have a more strategic purchasing process.
What is Strategic Sourcing after all?
Issues such as political and economic volatility, technological transformation, among other factors, make the market increasingly competitive. For this reason, it is essential to adopt effective sourcing processes to maximize business performance and efficiency, which helps you stand out from the competition.
Directly linked to the financial health of a business, this strategy is based on evaluating all angles of the acquisition of a material or product, by identifying the impact generated on the organization’s finances. This method starts from the premise that even if the purchase is made to meet the needs of an industry, it is part of the overall strategy of the business.
The use of Strategic Sourcing allows a thorough analysis of all external and internal costs that influence the value of the end products – among them: logistics, storage and procurement. In this way, it is possible to obtain, among other advantages:
- Cost reduction in purchased products and services;
- Improvement in the delivery time of suppliers;
- Improvement of the negotiation capacity with suppliers and speeding up the acquisition flow.
- Standardization of processes according to the formalization of routines, which are now documented;
- Greater knowledge of the supplier market;
- Rationalization of the supplier base;
- Improvement in the internal and external relationship of the organizations’ purchasing department.
In a practical way, with Strategic Sourcing, purchasing organizations can stop focusing only on transactional aspects of purchasing, incorporating greater intelligence into the process as a whole, including the choice of suppliers.
This avoids problems such as buying the same category of materials/products from different suppliers, paying different amounts – which is not good for organizational costs.
How to incorporate Strategic Sourcing
Given the importance of strategy, the consulting firm AT Kearney developed and popularized seven steps in the Sourcing process:
1. Analysis of the product categories used by the business, spending patterns and processes and departments involved
Identifying areas of spending by categorizing them because of their criticality – this categorization will help prioritize the purchasing process. If necessary, other categorization criteria can be created (direct or indirect, international or domestic expenditures, for example).
2. Development of a strategy based on business objectives
The strategy must be based on the objectives of the company, establishing a communication flow in which all those interested in procurement have visibility into the purchasing process as a whole.
3. Market evaluation and creation of a supplier portfolio
In-depth analysis of current and future suppliers, checking their market position and assessing the risks and opportunities they offer.
4. Preparation and formalization of documents for proposal request
Inform suppliers, of expected performance expectations, in addition to the desired material data, allowing them to have a clear understanding of what the organization needs. After these arrangements, which must be repeated with each of the suppliers, the only thing left for you to do is wait for their offer and only then select the ideal supplier.
In fact, this process can be optimized by hiring a company specialized in spare parts, which is responsible for the quotation with the main suppliers in the world and which, among other advantages, still offers the manufacturer’s warranty- see the article and discover the practicality of this type of service.
5. Negotiation with selected suppliers based on careful analysis
It aims to get the best possible deal for the company. This is a very important and detailed step, so we suggest reading the article: Advanced Negotiation: prepare yourself for great results
6. Choice of suppliers and agreements signed
This is the bureaucratic step in which documents and contracts are written, that is, it represents the end of the purchasing process. But be aware: Strategic Sourcing does not end here, since the relationship with suppliers is constant, especially when they are responsible for delivering strategic resource to the organization.
7. Performance monitoring and supply plan optimization when needed
Effectively measuring supplier performance against the organization’s requirements and objectives is an ongoing job that will help you understand risks and plan strategies to minimize possible supply chain disruptions.
Among the forms of monitoring, it is possible to adopt the QBR (Quartely Business Review) technique, which, as the name says, consists of talking quarterly with the main suppliers of the company and discuss topics such as cost reduction and improvement of service.
Doing a satisfaction and quality control survey with the departments that requested the services of the purchasing sector is a good way to collect other data and evaluate the performance of suppliers, as well as identify whether the contract is being fulfilled. This data will be very useful for the QBR meeting and also for directing improvements and seeking the best solutions to anticipate and/or solve problems.
Making a detailed analysis of your suppliers using the Strategic Sourcing matrix (below) is another way to track supplier performance.
Strategic Sourcing Matrix
After the 7 steps of Strategic Sourcing we recommend the formation of the so-called strategic sourcing matrix – download here our spreadsheet that will help you design your matrix!
It is basically a chart divided internally into 4 quadrants – see the model below:
We have prepared a Matrix model to help you map your suppliers! To download the material click here!
Analyzing the Criticality/Business Impact axis, we will see at the top the items of greater financial weight for the company, representing greater strategic importance for the business. At the bottom, we have the items with less financial weight and less relevance to the company.
Difficulty in Obtaining/Complexity of Market is the axis where, on the right, we have the materials inserted in a more complex market (few suppliers, influenced prices, monopolies, cartels, etc). On the left side, we see the products or services that are in a more competitive market, with several suppliers fighting for supply contracts.
Positioning each product on a chart like this helps purchasing professionals to have a broader view of the company’s needs and their respective financial impacts on the business.
Don’t forget to access here the material we prepared to help you with supplier mapping!
Therefore, the implementation of Strategic Sourcing in an organization requires collaboration and awareness of the importance of data collection. In addition to technology management, operational intelligence is required – see the article Essential skills for the 4.0 purchasing manager – and the use of platforms and systems, such as Business Intelligence, for example.
Take the opportunity to try Soluparts’ services, a specialist in indirect material procurement, that counts on the world’s leading suppliers. We negotiate the best prices and payment conditions to optimize your company’s purchasing process: request a quote with Soluparts!
Industry 4.0 has brought continuous and fast transformations, requiring the professional new knowledge to keep up with the pace of innovations.
In addition to being up to date with the latest technology and demonstrating to the team that he has knowledge of new processes, the purchasing manager needs to develop some specific skills to obtain more expressive results – for the company and for his career in the digital era.
Read on and learn more.
3 key skills found in an effective purchasing manager in the digital era
In the past, the list of core competencies could be summarized in organization, planning, good interpersonal relationships, knowledge of company strategies and profile, negotiation skills and ethics.
All these skills remain essential, but the arrival of Industry 4.0 demands new capabilities.
The list below helps give good direction in allowing the identification of which of these skills are already part of your profile and which need to be developed.
1. Analytical Capacity
Nowadays, every company deals with a huge amount of data – in the case of the purchasing department it is information about suppliers, quotations already made, stock data, average delivery time and purchase order emission, etc. -, which requires the professional to have an analytical capacity to extract relevant information and have more assertiveness for the decision-making process (such as choosing the best supplier, for example) and increase the productivity of the department as a whole.
Essential in past times, when organizations did not have so many tangible elements for their management, the feeling was replaced by the collection, organization and analysis of data, turning them into indicators and decisive arguments for intelligent and strategic decision-making.
For this reason, the analytical capacity becomes essential to deal in an organized and intelligent way with an increasingly intense and complex volume of data from various sources.
To deepen your knowledge on the subject, read this article on Big Data and this one on Data Science.
2. Critical thinking
The ability to use logic and reasoning to analyze a problem, considering the possible solutions – with their pros and cons – and finally choose the one that offers the most benefits, now more than ever, is essential.
It allows the resolution of complex issues in an agile way, which is very important in a time when everything happens with a vertiginous speed.
And the good news is that this ability can be developed and improved over time, the more we are tested, and we practice in this sense.
According to the World Economic Forum, creativity will be one of the main skills for modern managers, along with the ability to critically analyze information in search of complex solutions – learn more by reading the institution’s article on the subject.
New products, technologies and new ways of working require a more creative behavior in order to benefit from so many changes. And, contrary to what one may think, creativity is not the exclusive domain of artists.
Every person who can use varied information, transforming it into a new and positive idea, is making use of creativity. Allow yourself to think in an unusual way, letting your mind wander in search of different solutions – that is being creative.
How to acquire the skills of the 4.0 Purchasing Manager
As much as some people are more predisposed to have the skills considered important to the 4.0 purchasing manager, fortunately they can all be developed. Check out some tips to improve them.
Study various themes
Analyzing data and making decisions means integrating different information from various sources into positive insights, so the broader the knowledge, the deeper the conclusions will be. Diversified knowledge allows us to perceive more variables when evaluating situations and seeking solutions.
We live in a time when novelties appear almost daily and it is necessary to have the will to experiment them and learn how to use them. But be prepared: what has been learned today may soon become obsolete and you will need to restart the process!
To better understand this fast, volatile and uncertain world in which we are inserted, we suggest reading about the VUCA world.
Extend your observation and questioning skills
Analyzing what happens around you, paying attention to detail and seeking interesting and relevant conclusions, is a way to develop the capacity for analysis and to make more assertive decisions. But it is necessary to go further, elaborating the right questions and looking for answers in the available data.
Practice with logic games
More than just fun, this type of game allows you to find effective and quick solutions to a given problem, helping to develop analytical skills.
Sleep well and write down your ideas
Sleeping enough is essential to mature the knowledge that has been absorbed during the day – it is worth noting that the sleep time necessary for the well-being of each individual changes from person to person, but according to experts the ideal revolves around 6 to 8 hours.
Research conducted by the University of California, USA, pointed out that the stage of sleep called REM (when dreams occur), stimulates creativity, besides consolidating the memories of the previous day and organizing thinking – broadening the possibility of insights on the problems for which we are seeking solutions. Last but not least, a good night’s sleep prepares our brain for the activities of the next day, increasing mood, well-being and productivity.
If you are interested in going deeper into the subject, you can access the Sleep and Cognition Lab, which has the participation of Sara Mednick, one of the responsible for the aforementioned research.
And one last tip: don’t forget to have a notebook always at hand. The best ideas can come up at any time and, if not noted, may be forgotten in the face of the amount of daily tasks
The Purchasing Manager and Industry 4.0
Digital transformation has changed the way companies do business and execute their processes, but no matter how easy it has been, it still depends on the human being to direct and use resources, generating value for the organization.
In a largely digital age, the purchasing manager needs to know how to deal with the day-to-day of Industry 4.0, in which the emergence of new technologies, resources, regulations and ways of doing things requires specific skills – like the ones we cover in this blog post.
Relying on good suppliers and business partners at this time can be decisive. And Soluparts, a global company with offices in Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Hong Kong and the USA, will help your company to make a difference. With Soluparts, your organization can count on:
- Reduced prices – because we have a team of specialists that researches and negotiates parts aiming the best cost-benefit relation for your company;
- Reduced number of indirect material suppliers;
- Significant reduction in the number of quotations, with a consequent increase in the efficiency of the Purchasing Department
- Guaranteed supply of any item – we have access to the world’s most strategic markets.
Purchase manager, make your work more efficient and gain time to invest in yourself. Try our services: click and order your quote today!
Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been issuing daily reports with recommendations to combat COVID-19.
Among the various advises, one of the most important is social isolation, even for those who are not part of the risk group. It is not just a matter of avoiding contagion, but of reducing the spread of the virus, enhanced in agglomerations or in environments with many people, such as factories and offices.
In this scenario, the home office appears as an excellent alternative for many companies and employees – including purchasing professionals – ensuring that, even from a distance, people remain engaged, producing and moving projects forward. On the other hand, employees, while remaining in isolation, reduce the chances of contracting and transmitting the virus – which, according to recent studies, has airborne transmission and can survive for up to 3 days on surfaces such as plastic or stainless steel.
In this blog post, we will bring you some tips to optimize your time while in home office. What is the best way to set priorities? How to divide attention between work, children and home chores? Keep reading to find out.
See how to make your Home Office safe and productive in times of pandemic
Remember: despite being in the comfort of your home, the home office should not affect your productivity.
It is necessary to maintain a routine – and more than that, a mindset – focused on work. After all, even in times of pandemic and isolation, the production cannot stop.
Most of the people who are working from home these days have been taken by surprise, with no time to plan this change of workplace. Therefore, it is even more important to know the tips we have prepared and which we list below.
There is a right time for everything!
Many may find it easy and comfortable to work remotely. But the home office requires unique discipline, as it becomes even more difficult to separate moments of relaxation, home chores and professional activities.
Working at home does not mean producing while lying on the couch watching a movie. So, first of all: reserve a room or space in the house to be your workstation. When it comes to producing, privacy and silence are essential, especially considering online meetings and video conferences.
Rest and relaxation are also an important part of the day. Optimize your time by dividing it between work tasks and rest periods.
A great way of doing that is to have a schedule well defined. In the period dedicated to work, eliminate everything that can cause distraction. Strictly follow the hours you set, without delays, the same way you do when you go to the office – if you don’t respect your own hours you won’t be able to produce well while in home office.
In this same note, in moments of relaxation, do not do anything for work. Turn off your computer and work chat so you can focus on your family and on yourself.
The challenge of caring for children
Dealing with work commitments at home in times of Coronavirus also implies, in many cases, sharing attention and time with the little ones.
With children at home, more than ever, the home office becomes a multitasking marathon. And they don’t always understand the urgency of working in silence. Therefore, the first step is to explain to them the need for mom and dad to have privacy during their work time.
Show them the schedule with your working hours, the place where you will be developing your professional activities, set limits and, in a respectful and loving way, make sure they are met.
For example, they should know that when their parents are on a phone call or in the middle of a negotiation, loud noises and interruptions must be avoided. A practical way to do this is to tell them that whenever parents are wearing headphones, for example, more silence is needed.
During periods of isolation like the one we are going through, with interrupted classes, closed schools, and indications against agglomerations in public spaces, separate films, videos and series for the children to watch – always checking its Parental Advisory labels and if they show the values you want to pass on to your children. Again: talk to them, establishing what can and cannot be seen. By giving an explanation rather than simply prohibiting you will have more chances to see your rules being followed.
Internet access for games and chatting with friends can also be allowed, but, of course, if the rules you find convenient are respected. In addition, to ensure the well-being of the little ones, you should also educate them about cybersecurity – you will find some tips about that matter below.
As much as electronic devices are very effective when it comes to entertaining children, it is important to take a break and propose other distractions. Here are some suggestions:
- Encourage reading – establish a family reading time, with games and story discussion;
- Tell stories – they can be from books or even stories experienced by people you know;
- Create a game night – games are good options to have fun together;
- Create new hobbies – use creativity to invent games, especially the ones that allow you to move (within the possibilities of your house space);
- Include physical activity – it can be as simple as stretching!
- Assign daily tasks – depending on the age of the child, he can already collaborate with small chores, including: putting dirty clothes in the basket; making the bed; drying and storing dishes, etc.
If the children realize that, outside of the time dedicated to work, parents find time to be with them and have fun, they will respect the “office hours” much more, facilitating the home office.
Attention to Information Security
At home, we do not always have all the technological resources we find in the company – even when remote access to office documents is easier, due to the Digital Revolution.
For this reason, we should be even more attentive to cybersecurity when working remotely. The first step, therefore, is to know your company’s security policies.
If there is no rulebook, reach out to your company’s Information Technology sector and ask for guidance on the security procedures that should be adopted while in home office and make sure you follow them correctly.
Each company adopts a specific digital security protocol, but there are some precautions that are valid for all employees who work outside the organizational environment. See the main ones:
- During work, avoid opening personal items on the same computer;
- Use strong passwords that are difficult to guess;
- Whenever you leave your computer unattended, make sure you lock your computer screen to prevent someone from accidentally tampering with it;
- Just use your home’s Wi-Fi signal and don’t pass the password on to people who aren’t completely trustworthy – don’t use public Wi-Fi, as they are more vulnerable to cybercriminals;
- Be careful when accessing unknown websites and, especially, when granting your data for internet purchases – only do this when you are completely sure about the reliability of the website / company;
- Any strange happenings during the performance of your tasks should be reported to your company’s IT department.
With proper discipline and organization, the home office can be very productive. For the purchasing department, specifically, one way to optimize the routine in these days of seclusion, is to have a company specialized in the supply of indirect materials, such as Soluparts, as a partner.
Find out more about Soluparts on our website and, take the opportunity to read other important content for the development of your work:
How does the purchasing process work in your business?
In general, purchases occur very similarly in most small, medium or large businesses. This is because the procedure is quite similar, and what changes is mainly the size and volume of orders, depending on the performance of each company. Check below the steps of the purchasing cycle that are often repeated out there, and how each should work – in theory.
The purchasing process in theory
1. Purchase requisition analysis
This is the first moment of the cycle. Here, the purchasing department receives a requisition, a document that expresses the need that another department or employee has for a product. Upon receiving it, the purchasing manager must review the actual need for that purchase, as well as the specifications, quantities and delivery date required. With this information in hand, the purchasing department moves on to the next step.
2. Selection of suppliers
At this stage, an extensive search is conducted to raise possible suppliers for the required purchase. Here, the purchasing department must check all the suppliers already approved, that is, that already have active service contracts. In case of a first purchase, it is necessary to search for new suppliers and to check prices and conditions of payment, delivery and support. It is the role of the purchasing department to find the supplier that offers the best conditions, and that does not necessarily mean the lowest price. After the choice of supplier, the purchase order is issued.
3. Issue of the purchase order
The purchase order is issued, sent to the supplier and to the accounting department, in addition to the ordering department and also the one that will receive the shipment. From now on, it is necessary that the purchasing department accompany the process, ensuring that delivery is made within the given time. If any problems occur, by following the process closely the purchasing department can get around the situation more easily and quickly.
4. Delivery of the order
When receiving the goods, it is necessary to inspect and verify that the requested specifications are in order, as well as the right quantity and the conditions of delivery – if there are no defects or damages caused by transport. If everything is in order, the good is forwarded to the requesting department or to the company stock, and the purchase order and a receipt report should be forwarded for billing to the accounting department.
Purchasing process in practice
By following these steps, everything should work in order, right?
Wrong. Remember that at the beginning we said that these steps are the way things should work? Yeah. Each of these steps has its risks, and however closely the procedures are followed, the entire operation can be compromised by a slight oversight or slip. And, in the business’ daily flow, problems in the process are more common than we would like, especially in large companies dealing with many requisitions and deliveries simultaneously.
There are simpler and safer ways to perform each of these steps, to ensure that they occur correctly, and to make your purchasing process really effective. Check them out:
1. Purchase requisition analysis
By establishing protocols and properly training employees, the chances of errors in completing and submitting a purchase requisition are noticeably reduced. Requisition data are critical to the supplier search procedure and purchase decision, and mis-filed or erroneous information can undermine the entire process. It is interesting to invest in ways to automate this step of the purchasing cycle, reducing paperwork and making the activity of submitting a request more optimized and simplified.
2. Selection of suppliers and Issue of purchase order
Here’s a golden hint! A purchasing department in a large company handles hundreds of purchase requisitions per week, which ask for the most different types of goods, which will come from several different suppliers. The person responsible for the requisitions should analyze each of them individually, categorize them, search for specific suppliers for each of the reported needs, search for the best prices in the national and even international market… It is already tiring to read, isn’t it? That’s where the danger is!
To facilitate this part of the process, there are companies that specialize in the purchase of materials for maintenance and replacement parts, that go after the best suppliers around the world and find the best prices and conditions to meet your needs. So you can focus multiple orders in one place, reducing the number of different purchase orders, making the process more organized.
Closing partnerships with this type of company is very valuable to your business, since it reduces the workload of the purchasing department, streamlines the routines and allows the process to be conducted in a more coordinated manner. It’s a typical example of a win-win situation!
And by optimizing routines, purchasing managers are given more time to deal with other procedures, such as better organization of the purchasing documentation, which has a direct impact on the control of each supplier’s deliveries and deadlines.
3. Delivery of the product
With less paperwork to handle, it’s easier for the purchasing manager to track supplier deadlines and deliveries, paying more attention to this step of the process. As a result, the risk of problems going unnoticed decreases, closing the purchasing cycle with a golden key!
It’s also important to say that most of those companies we cited in the last topic manage to also take care of the transportation, making everything easier for you and your business!
How to purchase effectively
In this article we showed you how the purchase cycle should work in every company, the problems usually found in each step and how one can ensure that the process runs without many disturbance. Here, you’ve learnt that the primary concern must be to easy the parts than can be eased, by optimizing routines and getting rid of unnecessary paperwork.
Companies that participate in the purchasing process with you, searching for new suppliers worldwide and ensuring the best conditions for your business’ needs are the best way to turn the purchasing cycle into a well handled and guided process. By doing that, you leave the purchasing department free, to worry about other steps that are as essential to your company’s success as the purchases are.
How do you manage the purchases at your company? Do you think your process runs effectively? Tell us in the comments below!
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