The term “connected workforce” continues to gain traction, but its meaning often changes depending on the business function it is applied to. For procurement teams, many think connected workforce is out of their hands. Try to challenge yourself not to get stuck in the buzzword trap, procurement can directly influence and empower both productivity and innovation across your organization. The question is not whether innovation is listed on your job description but rather, what advantages can your organization gain from purchasing technologies with innovation in mind?
PLANT FLOOR TO OFFICE, WHAT DO THE WORKERS THINK?
Without the right solutions at the helm of your IT spend strategy, working efficiently with uncompromising security is a mere pipedream. A Future Workplace study uncovered 62% of workers think technology must help employee productivity and collaboration. Proving there is a direct link between the technology purchased and ROI.
Bleeding-edge technology in modern facilities is a foundational necessity that starts on the plant floor. Workers need the ability to access more than their physical tools from the plant floor for a seamless and profitable culture. Procurement can leverage your spend to empower the workforce by arming them with an integrated approach that will realize numerous benefits- reduce waste, increase speed to market, provide real-time reporting, expedite decision making, significantly reduce downtime and reduce cost. In 2016 Corporate United assessed substantially over $12.8 million in dedicated indirect spend for this type of technology. In a marketplace with this sizable budget allocated it is a target area for substantial, unrecognized cost reductions.
1 in 5 manufacturers are planning to invest in smart connected tools, the 2016 State of Manufacturing Technology Report. Technology is a baseline of worker performance, without intuitive solutions the workforce is not producing competitively, or even worse, openly inviting expensive downtime into the budget.
This also rings true for counterparts in any office setting. Adobe reported in their 2016 ‘Work in Progress’ survey, that 85% of U.S office workers say technology makes them more productive, but a mere 1 in 4 respondents feel their working environment is equipped with forward thinking technology. Procurement does not need to become technology evangelists in order to provide meaningful value to your facility. Embracing the need to modernize your business is fundamental to success. Procurement can have a direct role in achieving this level of success by purchasing agile information management solutions that support an environment of rapid-change.
“Because information drives business, getting the right information when and where you need it is imperative. It begins with innovative technology that streamlines business processes, enables your organization to speed up workflow, strengthens collaboration, secures systems both internally and externally, controls costs, increases employee productivity, and maintains compliance with current and future regulations,” says Michael Cardwell, Director of Development at Konica Minolta.
A strategic ecosystem approach to technology spend will add impactful expertise and help avoid spend waste. Konica Minolta describes their vision of a digital ecosystem as complimentary technologies that make your work life more efficient, collaborative and productive, where success requires pinpointing partners that help you establish a platform so you can draw on each other’s expertise. A strategic partner will provide deeper insight to aid procurement in making informed spend decisions.
Procurement should focus on not compromising security and productivity by selecting a partner that is focused purely on commodities. A valuable partner will prove influential but also have your operation’s profits in mind, in addition to their own.
“It's very easy for a business to simply replace what they have with something newer, at a lower price; however, while that will provide the potential for savings and improved technology it's not a guarantee that the technology will be fully utilized, properly integrated, or the savings will be as great as they could be. Long-term savings aren’t always achieved by simply getting a lower price. They are achieved through the execution of a long-term, strategic plan. The most critical attribute of a technology partner is their willingness and ability to understand the members’ current environment, and corporate initiatives,” explains Cardwell.
You may be aware of the Konica Minolta program with Corporate United, but are you versed in the full scope of the program? The program offers significant value beyond multifunctional devices and you could be missing high-level service based offerings (in addition to significant savings). In 2016 members in the Konica Minolta Corporate United program saved over $3.8 million, often averaging savings of 40% or more.
Embrace technology that will create a competitive edge for your facility and drive savings. Contact CU to evaluate your savings potential.
Ben Hatch: Category Manager, IT/Telecom at Corporate United
Ben is responsible for Category Management within the IT/Telecom vertical at Corporate United. In this role, he serves as the category manager for Multi-function Devices, Conferencing, IT Hardware Support, and Telecom Consulting. He works cross-functionally with stakeholders and suppliers to provide program support, provides ongoing support to Corporate United supplier relationships and ensures value is provided within the category to members and suppliers alike.