The Procurement Game Plan for Professional Sports

Turning 5 Procurement Challenges in Professional Sports into Strong ROI and Collaboration opportunity.

by Salim Khalife, Founder & CEO

Football manufacturer Wilson provides each Super Bowl team with 108 balls – 54 for practice and 54 for the game. While Wilson likely donates those balls to the teams as a promotional activity, professional sports teams have many expenses, and effectively and efficiently managing those expenses can make the difference between winning and losing off the field. We’ve identified five of the procurement challenges professional sports teams and franchises face, and how a procurement and spend management solution can help even the score.

1. Vendor service contracts – from dropped balls to full court press

It takes a team of vendors to provide a team with what it needs. In addition to all the gear and equipment required to maintain a professional sports team, there are numerous services involved in keeping the team and their venues healthy and in good condition. While many organizations have effective methods for tracking spending on “stuff,” only a few have a robust software solution for tracking and managing spending on services. As a result, services spending can end up happening outside the organization’s prescribed workflow and approval process.

A robust procurement solution can help grab and keep hold of services spend, by keeping vendor approvals with accounts payable staff, while allowing requisition and procurement users to request a new services vendor. Once the user submits the new vendor request, it triggers the approval process for vendors and maintains a complete audit trail of the procedure.

Once a vendor is approved and a service contract is in place, the committed amounts and quantities against the contract terms are tracked by the procurement software – even restricting a particular vendor to a prescribed list of items/service items for additional control.

2. Travel expenses – from out of bounds costs to savings opportunities

Travel expenses for the players, coaches and support staff represents a significant outlay for professional sports teams. Keeping travel expenses in line with your budget is key.

You can configure your system to honor the budget limits you’ve established in your ERP system, ensuring spending doesn’t get out of bounds. You also gain better visibility into your travel spend, providing the insight and metrics you can use to negotiate better travel-related contracts to save the organization money and hassle.

3. Uniforms and team gear purchases – from delay to on-time performance

Professional sports teams buy a ton of gear, including jerseys, helmets and uniforms. And much of it is the same thing, over and over again.

Using a Shopping List for regularly requested items is essentially a “Favorites” list that can be setup by user, by department or system wide. Additionally, using the duplicate requisition function in your requisition software saves you from entering the same data for each re-order. It’s a simple, powerful feature that makes smart use of your staff’s time, reduces data entry errors and keeps your procurement engine performing at its peak.

4. Multi-company/multi-league teams – from penalty box to slam dunk consolidations

Between the majors and the minors, many professional sports organizations have multiple corporate entities, teams, and locations – which naturally complicates the requisition and purchasing processes.

Consolidating purchasing across the entire organization eliminates costly duplicate purchasing and enables you to take fuller advantage of volume buying discounts by using the procurement software’s multi-company and inter-company features. You also have the ability to transfer inventory among companies’ central repository for multiple AP ledgers, streamlining and simplifying multi-company accounting.

5. Managing approvals – from interference to keeping the requisition ball rolling

With a busy staff often operating out of multiple locations, obtaining the proper approvals on purchases is often a challenge for professional sports teams. When approvals become too burdensome, employees often seek ways to bypass those approvals, resulting in unmanaged spend and costly budget overruns.

Using a procurement management solution, you can simplify and streamline the approval process, while ensuring your organization’s business rules are followed. With unlimited approval rules and approval paths, you can configure your approval rules to match the way you do business. Base them on any available data element, such as vendor, department, league, amount or expense type, and the software will honor those rules during the approval routing. You can even allow your requisitions to be initiated and approved on mobile devices or through email for maximum flexibility and usability.

A robust procurement solution with powerful features allows you to gain speed and visibility, boost profits and score wins on the operations side. Paramount WorkPlace is considered an MVP by many professional sports teams across the country for its breadth of functionality, robust feature set, speed of delivery, pricing and service, allowing teams to focus their efforts on winning. Watch it in action here.

About the author:

Salim Khalife is the founder, president and CEO of Paramount WorkPlace, a technology company that develops, sells, and supports advanced web-based and mobile requisition, procurement, and expense software solutions for mid-market organizations. The company introduced its first cloud-based SaaS requisition application in 1997, and continues to innovate and expand its partnerships and integrations ever since. Learn more at www.paramountworkplace.com.

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