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Simple solutions that put a stop to maverick buying

Discover the second part of our maverick buying series.

Two procurement professionals look at a computer to figure out solutions to Maverick Buying

Maverick buying might have crept up on you, but it’s not a problem you should ignore. In blog one of this two-parter, we covered what maverick buying means, why it happens, and the risks it poses to your business. We recommend taking a quick read before getting stuck into part two.

What are the 6 key signs of maverick buying? 

There are a number of big risks to your business caused by maverick buying, so getting on top of this issue is crucial. The first step in reducing or eradicating it is being able to identify if you have a problem and, crucially, where it’s happening within the business.

By conducting a thorough spend analysis, you can find where maverick buying is happening most frequently and where to focus your attention. These are the key signs to look out for:

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1. More creditors than expected

An unwieldy number of creditors could be a clear sign that maverick spending has gotten out of control. Ask your accounts team to assess if they think the number is out of the ordinary.

People moving parcels in a human chain

2. Duplicated suppliers

If there are duplicated suppliers in your system, particularly if those suppliers have different addresses, chances are employees are purchasing directly from those suppliers for tail-spend needs, requiring each one to be set up manually in your accounting system.

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3. High costs

Look at how much time and money is spent on processing orders and suppliers by procurement teams – as well as the time and cost associated with audits too. If it’s off the charts or more than you expect, maverick buying might be the reason.

Procurement professional looks at price points on a mobile phone

4. Price differences

If buyers across the business are getting the same products at different prices, something isn’t right. That means they’re not ordering from suppliers using existing framework agreements and you’re not benefitting from negotiated prices.

Warehouse with parcels

5. Unused supplies in a warehouse

Another sign maverick buying might be out of control is if teams are failing to make use of supplies purchased through contract agreements. Chances are they’re buying additional supplies elsewhere at higher prices.

A line of white blocks with a single blue block signifying the odd one out

6. Unfulfilled contract agreements

With your supplier framework agreements, chances are you’ve set out specific delivery times and product specifications. If the products and deliveries are not lined up with these, then maverick buying could be to blame.

How can we stop maverick buying from happening?

Maverick buying won’t die out overnight, but it’s easier than you think to rein it in. With the right policies and processes in place, in time you can take control of your tail-spend once and for all.

Communicate the rules clearly

With clear, well-documented purchasing policies in place, communicated effectively, no one can use the excuse that they don’t know how things should be done. This will also clear up any confusion around who requires permission for what, how to create a purchase order request and how vendors should be vetted. 

Make it simple

To ensure enforcing your policies is as easy as possible, your processes need to be simple. For example, using an e-procurement solution and training everyone who needs to know how to use it.

Take care of all your contracts

With contract management taken care of centrally, ideally using a digital procurement solution, you can find conflicts or out of date information, and make sure all your decentralised teams are benefitting from the same terms.

Approve all your suppliers

Whether you have a list of pre-approved suppliers or a system that only allows employees to buy from vetted suppliers, it’s important to make sure everyone you’re spending with meets your criteria. The more options available (particularly when one supplier is unable to fulfil an order), will prevent people from looking elsewhere for what they need.

Track your spend

Measuring where the money goes is the only way you can understand if your efforts are working. From tracking spend by employee or department to keeping tabs on purchase requests, the right procurement software should give you the visibility you need, enabling you to tackle maverick buying head on.

A person is browsing product catalogue on the laptop
Digital procurement tools help reduce maverick buying.

How do digital procurement tools help reduce maverick buying?

If you want a data-driven culture that focuses on efficiency and cost control, you can’t afford to let some spending slide just because it was hard to track and control in the past. 

When procurement processes were largely paper based and required manual data entry into multiple spreadsheets, it made more sense to focus attention on big-ticket items and strategic spend. 

Today, there are digital procurement tools at your disposal to help take back the leadership of your spend management. Whether it’s strategic sourcing or supplier management, one centralised procurement solution streamlines processes through automation and covers all types of buying needs, including tail spend, for the whole organisation.

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How can Unite make maverick buying obsolete?

If you need a tool that can support your procurement teams and make buying easier for everyone, look no further than the Mercateo Marketplace and Procurement Portal from Unite. Our solution is ideal for controlling all aspects of tail-end spending, including maverick buying.

A Unitee at work reviewing the Mercateo B2B Marketplace

Among its many benefits, Unite's Mercateo Marketplace:

  • Offers multi-user capabilities, including approval workflows and budget limitations.

  • Enables procurement teams to see, measure and control decentralised buying.

  • Allows departments and employees to retain some control, flexibility and choice over what they buy, while guiding them towards your preferred suppliers where you have the most preferential terms.

  • Provides an integrated marketplace with more than 1,500 pre-vetted B2B suppliers in 14 European countries, ensuring your people find everything they need.

  • Produces accurate and detailed procurement data for effective analysis and informed decision-making.

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Want to learn more?

Find out more about the Mercateo B2B Marketplace and Procurement Portal and discover how we can support your procurement needs.