The legal industry is experiencing a period of transformation, thanks to technology, an increasingly informed client base and new market entrants.
Industry research reveals the extent of the challenges. Clients are more sophisticated and expect more flexible ‘on demand’ service delivery, in line with other industries. There is more competition due to new ‘disruptor’ providers, such as online dispute resolution. Legal workplaces themselves are changing, as flexible and remote working become more widespread. These issues are high on the agenda, as well as addressing AI, cyber security and Brexit.
To keep pace, today’s law firms must embrace technology and find new ways to work smarter. So how can proficient budget holders add value? The focus is on efficiency and ensuring streamlined processes.
An effective way to bring a range of cost and process benefits to your firm is through supplier consolidation. By working with a key strategic partner you can reduce the total cost of office products and services.
Consolidation through a multi-category business supplies provider is a smart move. Primarily working with a sole supplier will enable you to better control – and reduce – costs across your property portfolio. The process of accurately tracking your inventory and negotiating prices with vendors will be simplified, as this can be managed through one provider instead of multiple products from multiple contacts. This will help you to mitigate rising costs and ensure better long term cost control.
Reducing suppliers will also increase visibility of expenditure across multiple categories. Management information will be clearer to review and discrepancies easier to manage, making it easier to spot high spend areas and/or leakage. This should assist future strategic decision-making.
A major advantage of consolidation is also the streamlining of internal processes. This will reduce workload across the firm, making it more efficient (and competitive).
Numerous orders, invoices and deliveries can be replaced by one order, one invoice and one delivery – which include multiple product areas and hundreds of items. This frees up time and resources across departments, and improves supply chain distribution across your portfolio.
You can also increase compliance and quality with this approach. Implementing a consolidated process will help to reduce rogue ordering; only allowing pre-approved product options for ordering. This ensures that approved items meet the necessary quality and compliance requirements from the start.
Reducing suppliers is an effective strategy for busy teams, tasked with ensuring the smooth management of office supplies and services. However, legal teams rely heavily on key suppliers for a range of support services, which can be essential for lawyers to do their job. So how can you ensure that the best supplier is chosen in the quest for increased efficiency?
There are a few questions to ask before bringing a sole supplier on board. In addition to investigating service delivery and KPI’s, pricing and logistics, there are some extra areas to consider. Does the supplier have extensive experience in the legal sector? Are the legal products fully compliant for the market? Will the quality of items uphold our professional reputation? Does the provider have the functionality to support a modern legal practice? Seek testimonials in each case.
For example, OfficeTeam provide goods and services to 60% of the UK’s law firms, including 75% of the Top 200. So it’s safe to say that we understand the market and challenges faced, and have a range of customers who can offer testimonials.
Consolidation adds value for organisations who are seeking a more efficient way to procure office products and services. It enables firms to reduce the total cost of procurement across a large and varied mix of categories.
Along with cost benefits, consolidation also brings increased efficiency. Against a backdrop of technological and workplace changes, smarter working and improved productivity is in demand. The law firms that adapt and seek new ways of working will be the ones that succeed in an extremely competitive market.