Caused by the unprecedented and ongoing economic situation from the COVID-19 pandemic, price inflation is being closely monitored by leading experts. Many industries are already seeing pressure on transport, raw materials, and increased demand. Among these areas is packaging — specifically, packaging that is manufactured from corrugated cardboard.
As 2021 closed and the world is still processing COVID-19’s devastating impact, procurement professionals continue to navigate murky waters. Amid setbacks, new virus variants, supply chain disruptions, and a continuously stuck transportation industry, procurement professionals need to be one step ahead to mitigate current and future disruptions and protect the supply chain while driving value for their organizations.
Transportation companies are essential to the supply chain since they quickly deliver incoming materials and ship finished goods to customers. Though some operate with their own transportation fleet, most small to medium-sized manufacturers rely on external transportation companies, which means most have been faced with significantly increased land and air freight costs and challenges that began during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A bit over 18 months have passed since the majority of the globe locked down due to COVID-19. As we continue to acclimate and adapt to the ongoing pandemic, we see some signs of recovery. The manufacturing and packaging industries, however, continue to struggle in many areas. These struggles have required procurement executives to become more agile and diverse in their approach to finding the most cost-effective packaging while also problem-solving when others come up short.
With roots stemming back to the 1950s, the flexible packaging market is a significant product in the procurement industry due to its efficiency, customizability, and sustainability.
Flexible packaging is a type of package or container made of flexible material, which, when filled, can still easily change shape. Though there are many examples of flexible packaging, a few examples include:
- Blister packaging
- Flexible laminates
- Woven bags
There would be no such thing as vendor negotiation if prices were set in stone. Yet decisions in government, international relations, speculation, and supply and demand shape market trends and price fluctuations, requiring procurement professionals in the manufacturing industry to develop and implement vital vendor negotiation techniques.
Vendor contract management is the process of creating, negotiating, agreeing, storing, and tracking vendor contracts. This process enables teams in legal, procurement, and finance to manage risks involved as well as renewals.
Restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic appear to be lifting, and some people are resting easier. Nevertheless, many organizations faced upheavals and disruptions that have left systems and processes tattered and, in many cases, broken. Moving ahead, managers can try to revert to the old ways of doing things ... or they can embrace change, learn how to solve procurement challenges, and adjust procurement strategies and processes to tackle the new realities.
Most were glad to leave 2020 behind. Yet, for all the uncertainties and unusual changes the world faced, people also learned important lessons and, as a result, changed their habits in ways that will be in effect for years to come. Nowhere is this more apparent than in manufacturing procurement.
Remote work, social distancing, supply chain issues, shortages, and other disruptions have permanently reshaped operating strategy trends and created new opportunities for cost-saving initiatives in procurement. The operational landscape has altered, and many long-held practices are being adjusted to reflect the new reality.
Partly due to the pandemic and partly because of advances in technology, several trends have emerged in 2021 that promise to affect procurement strategies for years to come. Additionally, these changes offer new cost-saving opportunities. Below are four trends and cost-saving initiatives in procurement that every manager should consider implementing.