How we help regional members successfully navigate procurement challenges

Published on May 21, 2024
How we help regional members successfully navigate procurement challenges

Australia presents inherent challenges to procurement specialists, especially if they are located in remote or regional areas.
In this blog, we explore these challenges in more detail and suggest strategies and tactics procurement professionals can use to overcome them.

Tyranny of size and distance

Australia is a big place. Comparable to the size of the United States, traversing it is no easy task. However, unlike the United States, Australia has significantly fewer major cities operating as transport and manufacturing hubs. It’s also incredibly isolated, making transport and access to goods and services dependent on availability.

These geographic isolation and supplier access challenges are familiar to procurement specialists, especially those located in Australia’s remote pockets and communities.

While these challenges may seem mammoth, there are strategies procurement experts can implement to obfuscate them, or at least minimise their impact.


Embrace collaborative procurement practices

One effective way for regional members to diversify their supply chains and improve their sourcing options is to engage in more collaborative procurement practices.

By strategically employing this collective buying strategy, members improve their chances of achieving greater economies of scale, while also enhancing their purchasing power.

Through the pooling of resources, it's possible for members to negotiate better deals than they would on their own, with the added benefit of streamlining the entire procurement process.


Support more local and Indigenous businesses suppliers

Collaborating with local suppliers and community organisations can help mitigate risks associated with geographic isolation and foster meaningful, long-term relationships.

By exploring alternative sourcing options and diversifying supply chains, members can reduce dependence on external markets and mitigate the impact of disruptions.

Further to this, members in regions with significant ties to Indigenous communities may benefit from building on these relationships, especially from a supplier perspective. By being more selective and purposeful in their local supplier selection, members can do much to support initiatives that increase economic prosperity for Indigenous communities, while also promoting impactful acts of engagement and reconciliation.


Infrastructure constraints

From residential housing to commercial construction and roadworks, Australia has been largely blessed with the ability to invest in an infrastructure boom.

However, in the face of rising interest rates, cost overruns and reduced worker capacity, the health of the infrastructure pipeline is under pressure. Sustained inaction in the infrastructure space can lead to failing road networks, inadequate telecommunications, and limited storage facilities – all things needed for a robust regional procurement industry.

For those in regional areas, these vital projects can play a significant role supporting and growing the local economy, providing opportunities for local suppliers and contractors to participate in construction, maintenance, and service contracts.


Hone expertise on projects that benefit community

Regional procurement is not only about cost savings. Regions also have to take into account broader community benefits, including how developments support local employment, foster economic growth, and promote sustainability.

By angling organisational skills and expertise towards growth areas that support community initiatives, members can develop their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) profile, staying leaps and bounds ahead of immediate competition.


Advocate for greater infrastructure investment

We work directly with many members with the ability to influence industry direction. By engaging in more advocacy and thought leadership practices, members can influence policymakers by advocating for infrastructure investment in regional areas, potentially addressing persistent infrastructure constraints that hinder economic growth.


Address skills shortages

Australia is in the midst of a skills shortage crisis, with 47% of professional occupations relating to health, engineering, information communication technology (ICT) and science. Beyond bringing in new talent, there are things regional organisations can do to address these challenges internally.


Invest in skills

Building capacity is vital for future-proofing any organisation. Regional businesses may need a boost in skills to ensure they’re staying on top of procurement opportunities. This can take the form of training programs, networking events, and even outside support throughout tendering and contract processes.


Invest in technology

It’s no secret that we’re heading towards a technology-driven future – and procurement is not immune from this. To stay ahead of the curve, many regional organisations are turning to digital procurement solutions to improve efficiency and overcome logistical challenges.

By investing in more agile procurement platforms and systems now, many regional businesses are aiming to streamline their purchasing and supplier management processes both now, and for the future.


Regulatory compliance and red tape

Procurement requires rigour, transparency and accountability – all things we value highly at Procurement Australia.

Depending on the region, many procurement specialists will encounter local laws, regulations and standards particular to the local area, making holistic compliance tricky.

To ensure compliance with speed is maintained, there are things members can implement now.


Engage a procurement specialist

For regional members looking to overcome familiar procurement issues and prepare for the future, having a procurement expert on board can make all the difference.

Our strategic partnerships are designed to offer members exclusive access to the highest-quality goods and services, without compromising on accuracy or reliability. For regional members, our partnership with Bunnings Trade is helping remote businesses and organisations to overcome persistent procurement challenges.

Featuring complete trade support, swift Click & Collect times, inbuilt digital procurement platforms, and stores conveniently placed within four hours of many members, we’re helping regional businesses and organisations to supercharge their procurement, no matter where they’re located.


Source: Procurement Australia


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