How should SMMEs operate with mature procurement functions?



big-fish-small-fish.jpgHope Factory business mentor Busi Raphekwane shares some crucial guidelines for SMMEs interacting with procurement, in this month’s SmartProcurement. This is pertinent information for procurement and supply chain functions to share with their SMME suppliers.

As an SMME interacting with procurement departments, there are certain expectations that need to be met. The key is to understand what those expectations are in order to serve those companies well and to ensure that all the functions of your business exist to support the customer.

Fact: Customers are the heart of every business. Without customers there cannot be sales and without sales you have no business. Therefore, all the functions in the business (human resources, finance, marketing, etc.) exist to keep the heart of the business pumping - the customer. Understanding what the customer really wants and what will keep them coming to your business, will keep you sustainable in the long run.


Busi.jpgThere are a number of important questions that each business needs to ask to ensure that they have pleased customers:

1. Do you know what your customers expect of you?
Knowing and understanding customer needs is at the centre of every successful business. Therefore, make it a priority to gain an understanding of what your customers expect from you. Speak to your core customers to find out what satisfies them, what makes them happy about your service and what they would like you to improve on. The only way to please your customers and meet their needs is if you understand what they want. When a customer is placing an order, take the time to ask them questions regarding their expectations.

2. Do you know the standard of service you would like to achieve?
Draft service level goals and share them with everyone in your business. Your people need to understand the standard of service that your customers expect, especially those that are in direct contact with your customers. When drafting these goals, you should also look at how enquiries are handled.

3. Do you have adequate systems and processes to support your operations?
It is important to have a policy in place, which details all the processes in your business from the time a customer places an order to the time that you deliver the final product. These processes need to be documented so that anyone in the business can understand them. The great benefit is that your staff will be able to handle challenging enquiries even when you, as the owner or manager are away from the business.

4. Do your customers experience the same service every time they interact with your business?
Consistency is such an important part of gaining customer confidence. You can have a spectacular product or service, but if your customers do not receive the same experience every time they buy from you, they will lose trust in your business. Customer loyalty is built on relationship, trust and consistency.

5. Do you have a communication strategy relating to your customers?
A good communication plan is necessary to ensure that you maintain a good relationship with your customers. Proper planning will enable you to communicate all key information necessary for the customer: the progress, delays, delivery dates, etc.

Whether you are offering a product/service to a corporate or to another SMME; you must offer it consistently, says Raphekwane. Whether the service is for a big or small client is irrelevant; the focus must be on ensuring that you know exactly what your customers need and what makes them happy. When you spend time gathering information about your customers; who they are, what they buy, why they buy and why they will buy from you; you will understand what makes the heart of your business pump and this will result in ongoing growth and success.

For more information on small business support and enterprise development contact The Hope Factory.

Leave a comment

SmartProcurement Newsletter

Please enter your details below to receive the SmartProcurement Newsletter for FREE on a regular basis.

As part of the SmartProcurement Newsletter you will be receiving World Class Procurement News, Tools, Tips, Tactics, Procurement Training updates, Upcoming Events, and the latest Procurement Career Openings.

* Email Address:
* Title:
* First Name:
* Surname:
* Company:
* Country:
* Public / Private:



Career opportunites

Warehouse Manager

  • <500 000 Gauteng Logistics & Warehousing Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent
R400 000 - R480 000 CTC per annum.Location: ...More

Supply Chain Analyst

  • <500 000 Analyst Permanent Supply Chain Western Cape
R400 000 - R500 000 per annum.Location: Cape ...More

Commodity Manager

  • <500 000 Commodities Gauteng Permanent Procurement Consultant
R650 000 - R750 000 per annumLocation: Cape ...More

Logistics Manager

  • <500 000 Gauteng Logistics & Warehousing Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent
Salary: R 800 000 - R 900 000 ...More

Demand Planner

  • <500 000 Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent Projects / Category Management
Salary: R 600 000 - R 650 000 ...More

Supply Chain Analyst

  • <500 000 Analyst Gauteng Permanent Supply Chain
R600 000 - R700 000 per annum Location: ...More

Commodity Manager

  • <500 000 Commodities Gauteng Permanent Procurement Management
R850 000 - R1 000 000 per annumLocation: ...More

Commodity Manager

  • <500 000 Commodities Permanent Procurement Management Western Cape
R700 000 - R850 000 per annum,Location: Western ...More

National Supply Chain Manager

  • <500 000 Across borders Permanent Procurement Management Supply Chain
R750 000 - R1 000 000 per annum,Location: ...More

Industrial Engineer

  • <500 000 >500 000 Industrial Engineer Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent Western Cape
R450 000- R500 000 CTC per annum,Location: Western ...More

Commodity Manager

  • <500 000 Commodities Gauteng Permanent Procurement Management
Category: Procurement,Salary: R700 000 - R800 000 per ...More

Supply Chain Manager

  • <500 000 Gauteng Permanent Procurement Management Supply Chain
Category: Consulting,Salary: R750 000 - R800 000 CTC ...More

Logistics Manager

  • <500 000 Across borders Logistics & Warehousing Permanent Procurement Management
Category: Logistics,Salary: R900 000 - R1 000 000 ...More

Demand Planner

  • <500 000 Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent Projects / Category Management
Area of Specialisation: Planning,Salary: R500 000 - R650 ...More

Industrial Engineer

  • <500 000 Analyst Gauteng Industrial Engineer Permanent
R800 000 - R850 000 CTC per annum.Location: ...More

Security Manager

  • <500 000 Analyst Gauteng Permanent Procurement Officer / Specialist
(Total Cost to Company R350K - R550K).This is ...More

Operations Manager

  • <500 000 Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent Projects / Category Management
(Total Cost to Company R650k - R750k) excluding

Commodity Manager Raw Materials

  • <500 000 Commodities Gauteng Permanent Strategic Sourcing
(Total Cost to Company R980k - R800k) excluding ...More

Commodity Manager Logistics

  • <500 000 Commodities Gauteng Logistics & Warehousing Permanent
(Total Cost to Company R1mil - R900k).Industry: Engineering

Procurement Consultant

  • <500 000 Gauteng Permanent Procurement Consultant Procurement Management
(Total Cost To Company 550K - 450K) includes ...More