“Everything is interaction.”

What modern procurement has to do with supply chains and Alexander von Humboldt.

Everything is interaction

“Everything is interaction.” This quote was not the motto of one of the major supply chain conferences in recent months. It is considerably older (ca. 1803) and was penned by Alexander von Humboldt. As an ecologist of the first hour, von Humboldt related this insight to the interdependencies between man and nature. Now, as is well known, it is never wrong to take said nature as a model, because what applies to “the big picture” can certainly also be applied to more specific contexts. As supply chain experts, it is important for us at neoimpulse to focus on precisely such interactions. Because in order to be able to guarantee functioning warehouse management, precise supply processes and valid planning in these areas, it is also a question of factors whose influence must first be identified and then evaluated.

The topic of purchasing is ideally suited for this analysis. After all, the best “own” infrastructure is of no use if the right suppliers do not deliver the right products at the right time in the right price range. And it is precisely at this point – from a supply chain perspective – that there is still room for targeted optimization in many organizations. Various aspects play a greater or lesser role here. If one evaluates these influencing factors in their entirety and puts the associated risks in a direct context with the resulting effects on the productivity of one’s own company, it quickly becomes clear: there is even massive pressure to act.

Take the test yourself and ask yourself internally how your own organization is positioned with regard to the following points:

  • Does your purchasing process handling with suppliers mainly take place via e-mail communication because direct EDI connections are not possible?
  • Do your suppliers struggle with the many, but unfortunately separate systems (keyword “media breaks”)?
  • Are order confirmations and delivery times not adequately recorded at your company and not made available internally so that, for example, delivery problems cannot be identified and compensated for at an early stage?
  • Is the shortage of skilled workers in the area of procurement already having a supply-threatening effect on your company?
  • Do you see production and delivery risks due to too few suppliers (stock-out risk in single-source relationships)?
  • Are you building inventory without knowing exactly what the actual total inventory is?
  • Is lack of transparency regarding your supply chains (e.g. interruptions) a purchasing issue for you?
  • Do you not have any (internal) standard processes to work through problems or errors together?

If you can answer only one of these questions clearly with “yes”, we recommend a non-binding sparring session with our experts for the interactions described. Especially where the complexity of procurement and the corresponding effects are identified as a field of development, the search for a suitable platform starts quickly. This is also a good (important!) moment to get sound advice. We are sure Mr. von Humboldt….would have seen it the same way.