What buyers can learn from bees

Bees represent sustainable procurement in economic, environmental and social terms. The highly efficient honey producers are the perfect networkers with a strong sense of community. All-in-One Procurement takes these characteristics as a model.

02. June 2021 | Blog

Bees give (pollinate flowers) and take (collect nectar). In this respect, they are both “buyers” and “suppliers”. Moreover, they are indispensable for our ecosystem. If there were ESG[1] and CSR[2] standards in the animal world, bees would have been certified long ago.

    • [1] Environmental Social Governance, in German: Umwelt, Soziales und Unternehmensführung
    • [2] Corporate Social Responsibility, in German: Gesellschaftliche Verantwortung von Unternehmen

 

Bees procure economically

The phrase “busy little bee” is no coincidence: for a single gram of honey, bees visit up to 10,000 flowers. A bee colony with 50,000 members thus quickly balances several million collection flights per year. The intensive travel activity presupposes an efficient procurement organization. First, the returning collecting bees deliver nectar samples to the hive bees to evaluate the food quality. Afterwards, the receiving bees do not hand over all the nectar, they distribute samples to their circle of colleagues. In this way, the bees quickly know which food items (nectar, pollen, water) might be in short supply in the supply chain. This information is in turn used to identify additional collection bees or to make changes in the flow of the procurement process between hive and collection bees.

Bees procure ecologically

Not to mention: After pigs and cattle, bees are our third most important livestock. Moreover, bees are systemically relevant to our ecosystem. Bee mortality thus has fatal consequences for humans and the environment. Because bees not only produce delicious honey, they also pollinate around 80% of plants. Their activities, like those of the buyer, are closely intertwined with the environment. The remaining 20% of pollination work is the responsibility of butterflies, bumblebees and other insects. Feeding on nectar and pollen, bees carry pollen from flower to flower and thus ensure the reproduction of numerous flowering and useful plants. They thus ensure the survival of trees, flowers and grasses. Humans owe a variety of our foods to pollination by bees. Most of our fruit-forming crops, such as apple, pear, cherry and berries, and vegetables such as cucumbers and tomatoes, depend on insect pollination. Corporate purchasing plays a similarly key role. Only the smallest possible ecological footprint involving all external and internal business partners will ensure the global supply of tomorrow.A competitive factor for companies if they want to ensure the stability of their performance portfolio in the long term.

Bees procure socially

The bee colony is a flexible, socially networked structure. Entirely without rigid job descriptions or early specialization, bees master their working lives. Job rotation is the magic word. The lifetime of a bee is just under seven weeks. During this time, it passes through a wide variety of positions, such as builder bee, brood care bee, guard bee or collector bee. This is an interesting educational concept for purchasing teams. By systematically changing jobs, they learn to face the highly complex demands of an agile professional world. Beehive teams, called “people” and “swarm” in technical jargon, impressively demonstrate the strategic importance of comprehensive relationship management. Hierarchies or functions are incidental here. The unconditional, lifelong care is crucial. Mutual feeding, cleaning, heating and cooling characterize the social behavior of bees. Purchasing can benefit from this behavior by focusing on “human-to-human networking.” Customers and suppliers are closely integrated into the value chain, the exchange of knowledge is promoted and organizational hurdles are removed. Thus, they simplify the everyday work and reduce costs in the long term.

Procure like the bees with Onventis

Do it like bees and procure sustainably with Onventis All-in-One Procurement. Onventis helps you achieve process efficiencies, cost savings, and financial control while complying with corporate policies, laws, and sustainability standards. Thus, you successfully master the digital transformation of all purchasing processes and downstream financial operations in a holistic source-to-pay procurement system.

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Our e-procurement experts present the Onventis All-in-One Procurement Network.

Onventis bee sponsorship

Did you already know that Onventis is actively involved in bee conservation? Since the last relaunch of our brand identity in early 2021, animals have been a
visual part of our mission statement. They have long been role models for us in terms of procurement. A good reason to stand up for the animal heroes and thus make a contribution to safeguarding ecological diversity. In cooperation with a sustainably managed organic beekeeping company from southern Germany, Onventis has taken over the sponsorship of a honey bee colony.

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