Understanding Procurement in The Modern Business Environment Understanding Procurement in The Modern Business Environment

Procurement Types, Processes, and Technology

Procurement has been an integral part of businesses globally ever since the start of the cycle of commerce. Every business has been involved in procurement activities to produce the goods or to fulfill day-to-day requirements. The role of procurement has increased from just being a purchase function to optimizing the available resources to improve the efficiency and profitability of businesses.

Although it has changed from its traditional avatar, what does procurement mean for a business today?

Here is all you need to know about procurement and its role in modern business:

What is Procurement?

It is important to understand the meaning of procurement before we get to understand how the current procurement management works. Procurement is the process of obtaining goods and services required by a business to either manufacture the end product or service or to run the day-to-day business operations. Procurement was initially considered a purchase function for the business. However, the role of the procurement department has evolved to handle end-to-end process that can include activities such as sourcing, identification of suppliers, negotiation, purchase, receiving, inspecting goods and record keeping.

What is Procurement Management?

Procurement management is the process of identifying, appointing, and managing reliable and competitive suppliers for the day-to-day requirements of business operations. It can include a wide variety of requirements such as office supplies, furniture, raw material, marketing services, for a business to run effortlessly.

The process includes procurement planning and execution so that the business can get the right material at the right price and at the right time. Therefore, the procurement department is always on the lookout for reliable suppliers that can meet the increasing procurement demands of the enterprise.

What is the Procurement Process?

The procurement process includes several stages aimed at meeting the requirements of the organization for its smooth functioning. A procurement management software or an overall supply chain software can help you handle the procurement process with ease.

The procurement process can be divided into the following stages:

Stage 1: Procurement planning

The step requires understanding the requirements of the business and creating requisitions. It is mostly used to lay a strong foundation for the procurement process of an organization.

Stage 2: Develop A Procurement Strategy

An enterprise needs to have a robust procurement strategy in place to handle all the business requirements. The strategy can either be devised in-house or with assistance from procurement consultants.

Stage 3: Identify Potential Suppliers

The procurement department focuses on identifying potential suppliers during this stage. Depending on the requirements, it can be a mix of old and new suppliers.

Stage 4: Negotiating for the Best Price

Depending on the procurement strategy, the procurement function either negotiates for the best price with a single vendor or a group of vendors.

Stage 5: Purchasing Goods or Services

After vendors have been identified and the best price has been agreed upon, it is time to purchase the goods or services as required by the business.

Stage 6: Record-Keeping

The procurement process also requires vendors to maintain proper records of the procurement done for the business.

Stage 7: Payment and Vendor Management

The process ends with making payments to the suppliers for the goods or services procured. In addition, the procurement department is also expected to handle the vendors on a continual basis to keep meeting business requirements.

Types of Procurement

Various procurement types can help a business meet its requirements. Some popular procurement types are as follows:

  • Direct procurement
  • Indirect procurement
  • Goods procurement
  • Services procurement

These can be explained as follows:



Direct procurement

Indirect procurement

Goods procurement

Services procurement


Any procurement that helps in producing an end product

Any procurement that is essential for day-to-day business operations but does not contribute directly to the bottom line of the organization

Any procurement that includes the procurement of physical items for business requirements. This can include both direct and indirect procurement

Any procurement that includes procuring people-based services for meeting business requirements. It can be both direct and indirect procurement


Raw materials, items purchased for resale, machinery, components

Marketing services, office supplies, utilities

Wholesale items, raw materials, office supplies

Marketing services, security services, law firm services


What is Procurement in Supply Chain?

Procurement is an integral part of the supply chain function. Supply chain management is a broader concept that not only includes sourcing the products from the suppliers, but also entails optimal distribution among consumers. In other words, procurement can be considered as a subset of the supply chain function, especially in the case of direct procurement.

What is Procurement Technology?

Procurement management has evolved from its early days and is no longer done via a mountain of paperwork and weak analysis. Procurement technology includes using sophisticated software that can help with end-to-end procurement. The various stages of the procurement processes can be handled by the software to make efficient and cost-effective decisions for the business. As these solutions are specifically designed to reduce costs and improve efficiency in business processes, procurement technology helps in improving the overall competitiveness of a business.

How is Procurement Technology used in Supply Chain Management?

Procurement technology has been playing an increasingly important role in the supply chain management of several global organizations. As businesses cope with uncertain times riddled with crisis management and a tense geopolitical situation, effective procurement technology helps a business make the right decisions. Procurement technology can be broadly divided into two categories – procure-to-pay and source-to-contract. Procurement technology helps extend procurement-as-a-platform, provides native mobility, enables built-in social collaboration, and provides intuitive intelligence to the supply chain management framework of a business.

Procurement technology helps automate the regular procurement processes and brings innovation to the overall supply chain management of an enterprise.


The procurement function has undergone a paradigm shift over the past few decades. Starting from paper scrolls to spreadsheets to ERP systems to procurement software, the procurement function has evolved from being limited to purchase activities to being the driving force of businesses.

Procurement dashboards, powered by technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, can help provide better insights into the procurement function of any business and are customizable based on the needs of the business. Procurement technology solutions are often part of the overall supply chain management software and can integrate with the existing ERP systems for better business results.

Businesses can continue to create value by either increasing profitability or reducing costs. An efficient procurement management strategy can prove instrumental in improving the profitability of a business and increasing competitiveness.