- By Sanjay Puri
India has one of the most significant numbers of startups in the world. Consequently, the technology sector in India is among the most competitive, globally. Nimble startups across the country are finding ways to disrupt established processes and as a result, are giving uncompetitive incumbents a run for their money. The government knows that having a culture that nurtures startups is essential to the economy of the country. Innovations by startups will be the drivers of economic growth in the coming decades. The Indian government, to foster startups, has created the Startup India Initiative, whose purpose is to encourage a startup culture.
As the world’s economy transitions into one where economic value is created by bringing about disruption, and consequently behavioural change, governments know they have to create ample runway space for startups to take off. The Startup India Initiative is the government of India’s attempt to create a vibrant startup culture in the country. Aiding the governments’ realisation of dynamic startup culture is e-procurement services that benefit them.
E-procurement offers startups a structured relationship with suppliers. Such a structured relationship results in excellent rapport with suppliers and clear visibility of the startup’s requirements. Using e-procurement services, startups have a good idea of how much inventory, materials, or services it needs in the future. Armed with such foresight, startups can buy from suppliers as much of a product or service as they need. Also, e-procurement eliminates cumbersome paperwork, making processes smoother and less costly.
In addition to lowering costs, e-procurement makes hidden processes transparent. With an e-procurement system in place, startup founders enjoy full oversight of every purchase made and product or service sold. Every transaction made by a startup is visible on an easy to access and understand dashboard. As a result, graft in startups dealings with vendors becomes a thing of the past.
Relationships with Vendors
Increasingly, vendors prefer to deal with companies, including startups that use e-procurement. An important reason why is that e-procurement makes processes smooth. A vendor has no difficulty understanding which product or service a startup needs because the information is available on an easy-to-use e-procurement portal. Furthermore, with full transparency in place, buyers can focus on cultivating relationships with vendors. Such cultivation is possible with minimal face to face interaction because trust between supplies and startups is already high thanks to the e-procurement solutions. Much friction that exists between buyers and sellers is eliminated because of e-procurement. Vendors like such friction-free relationships.
A startup that uses e-procurement enjoys full oversight of processes. When an e-procurement solution is operational, it can be managed by a small team. Processes that earlier required dozens of people can be completed by a handful in a fraction of the time it took before.
A well-designed e-procurement solution has inbuilt AI capabilities. The AI in such systems is very powerful. It can help startups reach crucial decisions about vendors. For instance, AIs sentiment analysis capabilities are powerful enough to decipher whether a vendor is trustworthy or not. The accuracy rate of such sentiment analysis exceeds that of human buyers. A buying manager will more easily be fooled by an unscrupulous vendor than an AI system will be. When a startup has an inbuilt AI system in its procurement system, it can understand vendors motives better and thereby avoid being taken for a ride by suppliers.
The country’s startups have accomplished a great deal in the short time they have been operational. Numerous success stories like Flipkart, OYO, Ola, Byju’s and others highlight that India understands what kind of business model a startup needs to succeed. The Startup India Initiative is likely to lead to produce even more success stories in the future, especially as awareness about the benefits of e-procurement for startups grows.
It is important to note that the successes of Indian startups are more significant than financial. In addition to disrupting traditional markets, they have brought about behavioural changes in Indian society. More and more Indians have behaviours and tastes identical to those of people living in advanced countries. Such advancement has only been possible by the unique services delivered by startups.
The best of the Indian startup ecosystem still lies ahead. The latent potential in Indian startups has a better chance to be realised when startups deploy e-procurement. A startup that aspires to reach a billion-dollar valuation has a better chance of doing so when it uses every available tool at its disposable. Hence, more than ever before, startups need to use e-procurement to remain competitive and realise the potential of the Startup India Initiative.
Sanjay Puri is the CEO of C1 India. Views expressed are the author’s own.