Purchasing/Procurement departments must navigate long supply chains with several points of contact, which increases the chance of things going wrong. Often, with proper control and overview, these problems can be avoided but because there are so many stakeholders involved, it becomes complicated. Reducing unnecessary or accidental orders, optimizing the number of purchases, finding cheaper alternatives to expensive products, and improving efficiency are the main challenges handled daily by this department.
Furthermore, finding high-quality suppliers which fit the budget of the organization is difficult. These issues are compounded by the fact that data is not always accurate. Procurement is becoming more automated but not standardized. This means companies in the same supply chain can have a very different vision on how data should be handled.