What is Strategic Sourcing in Procurement?

Over the last couple of years, procurement teams are finding it increasingly difficult to efficiently source materials for their organisations. Prices are skyrocketing, while shipments are continually delayed due to supply chain issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, not to mention a shortening labor pool. For example, a global shortage in chips is making it difficult for automotive manufacturers to source enough vehicle chips, resulting in fewer cars.

Given an environment that few have ever experienced in their careers, procurement professionals face steep obstacles in their day-to-day jobs—challenges which call for new ways of working. Rather than rely on decades-old workflows, procurement teams need to shift from tactical executors to strategic business drivers. For companies all across the globe, procurement teams are the lynchpin to keeping business moving ahead. 

Here’s how procurement teams are using digital tools to streamline strategic sourcing.

Efficient strategic sourcing is the key to supply chain business continuity 

During times of disruption, procurement teams need to find alternative suppliers when needed—on-budget and on time. Digital procurement tools such as electronic signature can give suppliers better and faster experiences —thereby retaining long-trusted suppliers and helping to source new ones. A digital tool set enables both procurement professionals and their suppliers to expedite every step of the vendor contracting process: negotiation, approval, execution and onboarding. 

Ideally, employees want digital tools that also intelligently and automatically understand the contents of their contracts before the first signature such as data privacy compliance or force majeure clauses. This modern approach can save organisations money and time, and enable them to gain a competitive edge over those also vying for scarce resources.

Introducing the DocuSign Agreement Cloud for Procurement

The DocuSign Agreement Cloud for Procurement offers digital solutions that streamline the contracting process between procurement and suppliers, enabling an efficient and secure sourcing process. This suite of solutions gives procurement teams a centralised digital agreement platform to prepare, sign and manage documents, helping to transform unsustainable, manually-based procurement workflows into a long-term efficient process. 

Agreement Cloud for Procurement improves visibility into the entire lifecycle of supplier management while centralising and streamlining the management of supplier agreements across the procure-to-pay process, helping control costs and decreasing supply chain risks. From RFPs and MSAs to supplier contracts and financing agreements, DocuSign can help procurement teams transform the way they manage suppliers.

DocuSign eSignature

DocuSign eSignature is an easy-to-use digital contract signing solution embraced by procurement teams across industries and sectors. This simple but highly sophisticated tool creates a smooth-flowing end-to-end digital procurement agreement experience—all the while generating audit trails to ensure complete and accurate fulfilment. 

eSignature automates signature workflows so tedious tasks are minimised at every step. The electronic signing solution flags missed fields in vendor contracts, helping procurement teams eliminate critical roadblocks to signing. What’s more, eSignature’s easy-to-view mobile forms work on virtually any device, allowing procurement professionals and suppliers alike to sign agreements from almost anywhere at any time in a remote, global supply chain. 

With end-to-end automation, intuitive signing experience and workflow, DocuSign eSignature speeds up vendor contracting, saves money and ramps up efficiency.

DocuSign Analyzer

DocuSign Analyzer uses insights derived from artificial intelligence to automatically, quickly and accurately  analyze clauses and terms in all inbound contracts. Designed for the pre-execution stage of your agreement process, Analyzer empowers procurement professionals to strategically negotiate with newly-acquired vendors and renegotiate contracts with existing ones when it's time for renewal.

After going through a document, Analyzer delivers a risk score based on all current contract content in your digital repository and recommends pre-approved clauses. Analyzer guides procurement professionals to faster, more appropriate actions throughout the agreement process. The result: the contract review process is expedited by leveraging pre-approved terms and intelligently generated scorecards to help procurement teams prioritise high-risk contracts. 

DocuSign Click

DocuSign Click makes capturing consent to agreement terms easy with just a single touch of a button. Click’s visual display and acceptance options are customisable, allowing procurement professionals to tailor consent capture format based on your organisations' needs. This widely used clickwrap solution is easy to deploy and ideal for situations such as nondisclosure agreements(NDA), data processing agreements (DPA) and code of conduct documents (e.g., environmental, social and corporate governance policies such as child labor, conflict minerals and fair wages). 

Pre-built integrations

Agreement Cloud for Procurement’s digital agreement solutions easily connect the contract process with your organisation’s existing  procurement sourcing tool sets such as SAP Ariba and Oracle Procurement Cloud. These pre-built, customisable integrations ensure your organisation can quickly and easily incorporate DocuSign eSignature, Insight and CLM into your organisation’s procurement workflow.

Digital tools empower strategic sourcing

AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, is using digital tools like DocuSign eSignature to accelerate business and modernise their supplier agreement process. Back in 2014, AstraZeneca embarked on a transformation initiative, identifying obsolete processes within the business that needed a digital makeover. The result? Today, 85% of AstraZeneca’s agreements take less than one day to complete.

“DocuSign fits right in as one of the tools that drives simplification, drives speed, and drives value clearly. It's an enabler,” said Dave Smoley, chief information officer at AstraZeneca.

By digitalising the end-to-end vendor contracting process, DocuSign Agreement Cloud for Procurement enables procurement professionals to streamline strategic sourcing from their suppliers of choice. With a suite of leading digital agreement solutions that are easy to adopt, procurement teams can be today’s and tomorrow’s heroes, securing and speeding the flow of goods and materials so that everyone can successfully get on with business.

Learn more about how strategic sourcing can be streamlined with 8 Digital Best Practices for Procurement Professionals.