Promena’s view of the crisis: ‘Companies that do not manage processes digitally are facing difficulties’

Orçun Güven, Director of Promena Strategic Sourcing Services

As the coronavirus crisis affects businesses and countries around the world, we wanted to check in on a solution that offers visibility into Europe and Asia, as well as other global business.

Promena, a solution from Turkey, offers strategic sourcing software and more procurement technology that’s backed up by a deep history in procurement services with parent company Zer’s decades of expertise.

Since Promena has a broad perspective on the business climate in these trying times, we wanted to know what it is seeing with the business reaction to the coronavirus crisis. Orçun Güven, Director of Promena Strategic Sourcing Services, joined us recently for an interview. He said the coronavirus disruption has shown the importance of having digital solutions instead of manual processes.

“I wish we didn’t have to go through such difficult times to identify and prove this fact,” Güven said.

Q&A

Spend Matters: Can you describe Promena and tell us what its greatest strength is for dealing with the coronavirus disruption?

Orçun Güven: First, I’d like to acknowledge that the whole world is going through a difficult time right now. All companies are taking a range of measures to continue to operate and mitigate adverse financial effects.

Of particular importance are the measures taken for supply chain and procurement processes. Ensuring supply continuity is essential in such critical times, especially for works in progress. Companies that do not manage processes digitally are facing difficulties, as traditional methods are not available right now. Though our Promena staff are currently working from home, we continue to serve our customers as before. We ensure that our customers reap the benefits of digital procurement solutions in the best way possible. With our sourcing, e-procurement, supplier base management and spend analysis modules, we do our best to protect our customers from supply chain disruptions. Some Promena customers also benefit from Zer’s expertise in supply chain management. This way, they carry out their activities without interruption.

Corporate companies constitute 70% of our customer base. Whereas the number of small and medium-size enterprises is relatively small. Additionally, Promena began serving more international customers in 2019. Today, our global customers account for 15% of our portfolio, and this ratio is rapidly increasing each day. Promena continues to stand out during this unusual period by exploiting its strengths, such as fast implementation, high-level operational support and competitive prices.

Companies that manage to quickly adapt to changing circumstances and working conditions will be minimally affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Accordingly, we aim to help our customers by offering flexible and quick solutions.

How are your customers using Promena during the crisis?

A procurement process ordinarily involves meeting and bargaining with suppliers face to face and gathering relevant documents. However, the pandemic has made it harder for our customers to manage these steps. Fortunately, Promena’s modules allow these processes to be carried out online and digitally. These days, our most frequently used and popular modules are e-sourcing and supplier base management. Currently, we are managing many sourcing events for upcoming periods as procurement processes are likely to be disrupted in the future. We are also working on several projects that require urgent sourcing.

On the other hand, our customers who wish to gather information and documents from suppliers or see periodic supplier performance reports prefer the supplier base management module, which allows them to improve their risk management.

Moreover, supplier companies may act aggressively during tender processes as they want to curb business losses amid the outbreak. This, in turn, financially benefits customers. We have noticed that the savings ratio has significantly increased during recent tenders.

Have you noticed a slowdown in activity across your suite of solutions as companies have employees working at home and as businesses face lower demand?

Surprisingly, no. We were expecting a decrease in the number of processes we manage, but that did not occur. Our transaction level remains the same and have even risen compared to the same period of the previous year. This is happening because of our customers’ additional purchases to keep their stocks high enough for emergencies, and the requirements of ongoing and planned projects. Moreover, most companies now have non-routine purchases on their agenda as part of their risk management strategies.

Additionally, I can say that Promena is still in demand. Both local and global companies are now looking for digital platforms. New opportunities for us have arisen, and we are trying to meet customer expectations with our flexible solutions. At this point, we are hugely benefiting from our cloud-based systems and digital platform. As we are working online, we can soften the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. And we are working hard and monitoring our processes constantly to ensure that we remain responsive to the ever-changing effects of the pandemic.

What advice are you giving clients to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis?

They should first recognize the significance of digitization. Traditional methods are now being replaced with digital processes. I wish we didn’t have to go through such difficult times to identify and prove this fact.

In addition to successfully managing this period, companies must develop a good plan for the fallout from the pandemic, as there may be a sudden excessive demand and a bottleneck. Therefore, it would be wise to make purchases or carry out projects now as part of plans.

The pandemic also spotlighted the importance of supplier base management systems. Companies that do not use such a system should quickly adopt a new application where they can digitally monitor the supplier lifecycle.

If a company wanted to begin adding procurement technology now, how should they start?

Potential customers selecting a platform should consider some critical points. First, the system should be quickly implemented. It takes about a year to implement most of the other suites in the market. In this period, the faster you start operating, the more successful you become. Our agile methodology gives us considerable advantage in this regard. Activating an e-sourcing module for a customer takes us just two weeks. During this time, we can even add language support to the system so that customers can use their preferred language. At later stages, we offer some modular plans. This ensures that customers do not have too much on their plates. It is also more affordable.

Support is another important point. We provide operational and technical support online across digital platforms. Thanks to our online demos and meetings, we are already serving our new customers.

This Brand Studio post was written with Promena.

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