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Leveraging Procurement Analytics for Data Storytelling

from  June 12, 2024 | 3 min read

As data continues to play a role in shaping workplace narratives, procurement professionals can position themselves as key players in driving strategic decision-making within their organizations.

This involves utilizing analytics gathered through procurement processes and honing the skill of storytelling with data by converting information into engaging stories that influence business strategies and results.

By adopting this method, it showcases how the modern procurement team has transitioned from a functional role to a strategic one, thereby establishing procurement as vital contributors to organizational achievements.

What exactly is procurement analytics?

Procurement analytics involves the organized examination of data pertaining to an organization’s purchasing activities, supplier performance and current market trends. With the data stored securely in the cloud, it can offer insights that enable organizations to cut costs improve existing procurement procedures and address potential risks effectively.

Here are some key areas where procurement analytics can deliver value:

  • Expense analysis – Identify opportunities for cost savings, recognize spending trends, and classify expenditures accurately.

  • Carbon footprint assessment – Enhance your sustainability efforts by gaining visibility into supplier data through measuring, reporting on, and understanding Scope 3 emissions.

  • Supplier evaluation – Strengthen relationships with suppliers by assessing their quality standards, reliability levels, and delivery performance.

  • Understanding Market Trends - Support your purchasing decisions by gaining a perspective on market dynamics, emerging trends, and price fluctuations.

  • Managing Risks - Stay ahead of risks related to supplier relationships, market changes, and geopolitical factors. 

The importance of data storytelling in procurement

Data storytelling merges data analysis into a narrative so as to be clearly communicated and understood by all stakeholders. As procurement processes transition to digital platforms, mastering the art of data storytelling becomes crucial. Procurement experts can establish themselves as thinkers and trusted advisors within their organizations, with examples supporting that position. They can contribute to business strategy formation by presenting data-driven insights that shape decisions such as market expansions, supply chain enhancements, and contract negotiations – illustrating the relevancy of the many moving parts.

Spotting inefficiencies opens doors to cost-saving opportunities supported by clear fact patterns easily visualized with the data. Identifying risks promptly allows for measures to safeguard the organizational interests. Furthermore, analyzing market trends can help drive innovation efforts, such as discovering new technologies or exploring alternative suppliers. This can enhance collaboration across departments by sharing insights that align procurement objectives with those of finance, operations and marketing teams.

Starting the journey of data storytelling in procurement

Utilizing procurement analytics offers access to a wealth of valuable data. However, the real test lies in transforming this data into a captivating narrative. 

Here is a brief guide on initiating data storytelling in procurement:

  • Understanding your stakeholders: Prior to crafting your story, it is essential to identify the stakeholders – whether they be procurement professionals, department heads or executives – to tailor the narrative to their interests and business needs.

  • Crafting your message: Having a set of messages and key findings derived from the data before structuring your story ensures that everyone stays engaged from start to finish. Consider the desired outcomes of your story and plan for actions or strategic decisions.

  • Presenting findings visually: Gone are the days when Excel spreadsheets were the means of presenting data. Data visualization plays a role in compelling communication by highlighting trends, making comparisons, and pinpointing anomalies. Opt for presenting your data using graphs, charts, dashboards, and visuals to facilitate understanding and processing.

  • Insightful Presentation: The presentation of data findings without context can quickly lead to confusion. When crafting a narrative, it is essential to consider factors that may impact the data understand the reasons behind trends and assess how the findings align with broader business objectives.

  • Mapping Out the Next Steps: While data findings and trends can be intriguing on their own they risk becoming irrelevant without steps. It is crucial to ensure that your data story transitions into recommendations or calls to action.

Storytelling with Foodbuy

Foodbuy is a foodservice procurement organization that collaborates with over 600 manufacturers and distributors nationwide. With a team of over 200 procurement experts who manage contracts exceeding $20 billion for food, beverages and services, Foodbuy partnered with Scanmarket by Unit4 to enhance innovation and transparency in their data storytelling efforts.

Empowering procurement professionals

The integration of procurement analytics with data storytelling can transform procurement professionals from operational executors into strategic advisors. Leveraging data to craft stories can empower procurement teams to reveal insights, facilitate decision-making and support their organizations in generating tangible value for upcoming business triumphs.