Achilles works closely with the ACOPC (Asociación Colombiana de Profesionales de Compras, Colombian Association of Buying Professionals) in Colombia. Here, Douglas Regueros, the President of the association, shares his vision of the Colombian market regarding awareness of the importance of procurement within a company, the challenges faced by Colombia and the repercussions of using technology.
1. According to ACOPC’s experience in analysing and advising buying organisations, what are the main gaps in procurement in Colombia?
In my opinion, many companies have still not got off the starting blocks when it comes to procurement: buying is still managed treating all categories equally and with no strategy in line with the corporate strategic plan (mission and vision). This is mainly due to there being no support from senior management in this key area, as they don’t see the value of strategic management of spending (bleeding companies dry) or see the economic and added-value benefits that can be brought to organisations.
2. Do you think there is one specific sector that is more mature than others when it comes to strategic procurement?
Perhaps not so much one economic sector but in terms of access to international models of high standards, some multinationals definitely have the advantage. If we were to define progress regarding one specific sector, perhaps those with high-cost operations, either in terms of price or volume (oil & gas, retail-supermarkets and public services), could be said to be the most “agitated” sectors in this sense.
3. If you conduct a study in relation to 5 years ago, do you think that companies are becoming more aware of the importance of good supplier management and strategic buying?
There is definitely greater awareness than 5 years ago regarding the importance of moving from traditional buying to strategic procurement. However, sadly, awareness is still mostly at operational and administrative levels, and less so at senior management levels where all the support and strategic direction in this regard should come from.
4. What are the challenges faced by ACOPC in terms of training buying professionals?
Raising awareness in all companies regarding the important role played by these professionals on a daily basis, receiving the commitment and support of senior management in companies and achieving the recognition of their professionalisation through the relevant certification.
5. Do you think the cost/benefit ratio is being assessed properly when adopting new buying technologies, such as a supplier prequalification platform?
Not while there is no business awareness that procurement is as important as commercial aspects. As a result, budgets enabling Buying to access technologies supporting its management and making it more efficient are quite “flat”. Changes in the strategic aspect of Buying need to keep up with the support technologies in the field.
Achilles is committed to making corporate procurement more strategic not only in Colombia, but globally. We prequalify suppliers and help reduce risk across your company’s procurement process.