With the increased focus on cost and compliance, the procurement function has been elevated to a strategic component of value creation and a rich source of competitive advantage. To achieve this, rather than creating a world class procurement capability in-house, many companies have simply outsourced it.
Procurement outsourcing is often undertaken to leverage economies of scale and improve the execution and control of underperforming or non-core tasks and poorly managed spend categories. In doing so companies can realise reduced supply and operational costs, improved compliance and enhanced performance and cycle times.
It is important to recognise that outsourcing the procurement function does not necessarily mean a complete transfer of control but more likely the utilisation of third-party services.
At a simple level procurement outsourcing can involve migration of infrastructure: people, technology, systems and supplier management. A step further and more complex procurement-related processes can involve, for example, transferring procure-to-pay (P2P) and/or requisitioning. At a higher level, value-added functions such as strategic sourcing can be transferred. Taken to its full conception, strategic responsibilities can be given over, which might include the formulation of business rules.