A Detailed Guide to Material Procurement

December 18, 2022
Procurement Management

The term "material procurement" is self-explanatory, implying the process of procuring materials for a purpose. But, there is a broader comprehension of material procurement if one digs into it.

Raw materials are essential for the production and supply of many products and services. Getting these supplies from vendors allows production to continue persistently.

However, there are a lot of variables that come into action during the procurement of materials. Supply chains are dynamic systems, always adapting to meet the needs of a company as it expands and demands additional resources. 

This article talks about the definition of material procurement, types of materials, their relevance, benefits, and how best to go about it.

What is Material Procurement? 

The term "procurement" refers to the process by which businesses acquire commodities, services, or tasks from a service provider.

Material procurement refers to the steps involved in discovering, evaluating, procuring, and purchasing the raw materials required for product development or delivery of a service. 

It is critical to discover potential vendors or suppliers, evaluate their offerings, negotiate terms, and finally award contracts when doing any type of procurement.

Direct procurement forms an essential part of the supply chain management (SCM) process and can massively influence a business's bottom line. Thus, companies must take into account each of these aspects to make the most profitable decisions.

In some contexts, the terms procurement and purchasing get utilized interchangeably. However, there is a difference. Procurement is a larger concept that involves not just purchasing but also sourcing, negotiating, and managing contracts.

Four Vital Factors to Consider in Material Procurement

  • Material Cost

In most cases, the price of materials is the deciding factor in the procurement process.

Businesses always shop around for the optimum deals on supplies and required services. Thus, strategic sourcing becomes a crucial consideration in the process. It entails looking for the best deal and comparing pricing from several vendors to settle on one.

  • Material Quality

The material quality should also be taken into account during the procurement process as it directly impacts the performance of the products or materials getting procured.

For instance, if a construction firm, in search of cost savings, settles for less-than-stellar lumber, the resulting structure won't be up to standards and won't stand the test of time.

Businesses only want to buy commodities that are up to par with their specific criteria. To acquire the quality they want, they might have to pay more. For businesses, this also signifies an opportunity to get an edge over the competition.

  • Material Availability

What you purchase and from whom can be affected by the accessibility of resources and materials. Companies need to have ready access to the supplies they require regularly.

If the company requires unusual or scarce materials, this could present challenges. To ensure timely delivery, orders need to be placed in advance. Otherwise, it may jeopardize an extensive supply chain if a single link is broken.

  • Delivery Time

Additionally, it is crucial to consider how long it will take for the materials to be delivered.

The on-time delivery of procured materials is a top priority for businesses. If their supplier base is situated across the country or the globe, this could prove problematic.

To effectively manage customer expectations and include estimated delivery dates in vendor contracts, a thorough understanding of the supply chain is essential.

What are the Different Types of Materials?

Primarily, there are two broader types of materials, which are as follows:

  • Direct Materials

Direct materials refer to those directly used in the production or completion of the project at hand. It indicates the product's actual cost and value. Pipelines, concrete blocks, cement, timber, and glass are some examples of such materials.

To finish a project, companies must get their hands on the direct materials they require. The business could suffer significantly in its revenue and profitability fronts if these resources are unavailable during any production phase.

  • Indirect Materials

Such materials are employed during the product development project but rarely constitute integral parts of the process. These materials refer to the objects or tools used to create the final product. Hardware and components like hammers, cutters, drill bits, and screws are some examples of such supplies.

What's the Importance of Material Procurement?

Material procurement features prominently in direct procurement since it guarantees that companies can locate and acquire the raw materials they require to operate.

  • Supply chain interruptions caused by a lack of materials are less likely to occur if those materials are effectively procured.
  • Most of the time, procurement operations are also accountable for ensuring that products are purchased at the most competitive rates, which can result in substantial cost reductions for the business.
  • Some suppliers may provide more generous terms to customers who commit to bigger, consistent orders, which can aid in maintaining a competitive edge.
  • The best procurement strategy for each given organization will vary based on factors like the nature of the business, the quantity needed, the available budget, and the inclinations of the company's leadership.
  • Some common approaches to procurement include direct, indirect, and online procurement. 

Top Benefits Offered by Material Procurement

1. It Promotes Sustainability

The procurement of materials ensures the continued viability of the project prior to its completion.

It supports the project by making sure the materials are on hand. Procuring materials sustainably also vouches for cost-effectiveness and environmental value. 

2. It Helps Reduce Production Delays 

The probability of delays could be mitigated significantly, if not entirely eliminated, through diligent material procurement. The reason is companies have all the materials on board, owing to the timely arrival of all orders.

Moreover, it guarantees the quality of the delivered materials. It ensures that there will be no hiccups during production and development, allowing them to wrap up on schedule.

3. Acquire Excellent-Quality Products at Competitive Rates

The procurement department always tries to get the best deal possible. Here's where competitive bidding kicks in. The procedure begins with compiling a long list of potential vendors, which is subsequently whittled down.

The company may provide preference to potential vendors who can meet its specific budgetary, logistic, and service needs.

It's advantageous to the business since it ensures they will stick to their quality standards without exceeding their budget.

Although, a cheaper price offered by the vendor or supplier is not necessarily enough to get the deal approved.

Some companies also factor in the supplier's ability to deliver enough material quantity for the project's duration.

This way, the negotiating power gets shifted to the business, giving them an upper hand.

Three Valuable Tips for Effective Material Procurement

1. Perform Due Diligence Before Dealing with a Supplier

Over the years, growing reliance on suppliers has been accompanied by an increasingly complicated supply chain.

These factors have contributed to an increase in the complexity of supply chain management.

Furthermore, digital presence and social media have a significant influence on the supplier's credibility because it is capable of magnifying controversies with a single incorrect action.

That's why it's crucial to verify early on that your prospective vendors can deliver on your compliance needs.

Purchasing managers must have a thorough familiarity with their vendors. It ensures that their procurement process is supported by vendors who can meet their needs.

2. Rely on Expertise and Experience

Companies should realize that they can't do everything by themselves when it comes to procuring the supplies they need.

If they have an experienced, qualified workforce to whom they can delegate, they'll have more time to concentrate on other strategies for improving the procurement process.

A team led by procurement managers can help save precious business time on administrative tasks like billing and spending analysis. Such a team can streamline the company's procurement operations, leading to enhanced productivity and profitability.

3. Employ Technology

Technology has progressed to the point that there are tons of products available to simplify procurement operations.

Leveraging procurement software solutions and platforms can help speed up the purchase process. Additionally, it facilitates team interaction and collaboration among themselves and with stakeholders.

The procurement department will function at peak efficiency once new platforms are implemented. Moreover, the increased data generation will help the organization refine its purchasing management. In addition, this could promote data-driven decision-making and better negotiations with vendors.

Final Thoughts

Each company that purchases its supplies directly should prioritize its material procurement strategy.

Irrespective of the industry a business operates in, procuring the right stuff at the right time and for the right price should be the ultimate goal. 

Material procurement can be accomplished in several distinct ways, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

So, businesses must keep in mind that there is no universal best practice for direct procurement.

As a result, it is crucial to examine all the prospects at hand and pick the most suitable one for the business.

Procure to Pay
A solution that simplifies your complex workflows.
Lease management
Your one-stop shop for everything lease management.
Asset management
Asset Management Solution that adapts to your business.
Expense management
Manage your expenses your way
Please submit your details and our Product Consultant will connect with you to understand your use case  🚀
This field is required .
This field is required.
This field is required.
Thank you for submitting your details! Our team will contact you shortly