Within the banking industry, it’s important to secure hardware as soon as you need it. This will ensure your operations continue to run at peak performance and to meet compliance requirements. Unfortunately, the procurement process has become slow and cumbersome for many financial institutions. This is due to supply chain snags, disparate systems and lack of resources to manage this necessary function.
Automating the procurement process can help banks save time and resources. Ordering all hardware through a single vendor can further simplify the acquiring process.
In a recent podcast, PaymentsJournal sat with Alex Kennedy, Director of Hardware Advantage at Fiserv, to better understand the importance of automating the procurement process.
Procuring Hardware for Retail Branches
Financial institutions require a lot of business hardware and supplies — PCs, check scanners, printers and ink cartridges — to ensure their business is functioning. Increased maintenance costs, decreased security, non-compliance and compatibility issues are just a few reasons to regularly update or upgrade hardware.
“Today the rising demand for hardware is due to changes in regulations, cybersecurity, as well as mergers and acquisitions,” said Kennedy. “In addition, the impact of the pandemic has given rise to supply chain delays from equipment manufacturers.”
Despite automation availability, many banks still procure their equipment through manual systems. According to a recent survey by Oxford Economics, 47% of banking executives reported that most, if not all, of their procurement processes are manual. Kennedy explained that this can be a problem for banks. Not all equipment is compatible. Working with different vendors can result in varied delivery schedules, especially when supply chains are already strained.
Benefits to Automating Hardware Procurement
Working with a single vendor such as Hardware Advantage from Fiserv streamlines and simplifies the procurement process dramatically. This will require fewer workers at the banks. Dealing with just one vendor also means that the equipment procurement process goes quickly. And new institutions can be up and running quickly as well.
“Banks can increase efficiency and agility and reduce expense and risk to their institution while improving transparency,” Kennedy said. “It can also free up employees involved in procurement for other tasks, allowing a bank to do more with less.”
Simplifying Hardware Procurement During Unsure Economic Times
During the pandemic, sourcing hardware became more difficult for businesses, and financial institutions were no exception. But, for companies that partnered with a single large vendor like Fiserv, simplifying hardware procurement lessened the challenges.
“During the pandemic, a large client of ours needed 700 laptops to accommodate its large workforce that was forced to go remote. Normally, an initiative like this takes months of planning, but we did it in under a week,” said Kennedy. “The alternative to using Hardware Advantage was buying out all the inventory of smaller regional resellers and trying to piece together a solution — which even if it was able to be done would have caused an administrative nightmare with multiple vendors shipping multiple products. In the end, we were able to work with the client and minimize the challenge of getting the equipment they needed in a timely fashion.”
Supply chains have improved somewhat, though they’re not back to pre-pandemic levels. One commodity that is still lagging in supply is computer chips. “The ongoing computer chip shortage is making equipment that is critical to day-to-day operations difficult to get in a timely manner,” said Kennedy. “Having a partner you can trust to help you maneuver through these delays and backlogs, and help you plan ahead to ensure your deadlines are met, can help alleviate potential impacts to your business.”
Supply chain disruptions, inflation and the pandemic have increased pressures to reduce costs and to overcome obstacles in procuring hardware. Letting a single vendor take care of all of this is a good solution. It frees up bank staff for other purposes and also removes a lot of distress for senior management. Financial institutions should consider going that route for peace of mind and cost savings as well.