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Managing the Procurement Process with Automation

Delays caused by constantly sending documents back and forth, miscommunications and maverick spending are some of the top challenges faced by procurement teams. Automating procurement provides transparency for internal and external stakeholders and streamlines the process. This makes it easier and more likely for other employees to engage with the procurement department to fulfil a purchasing need providing opportunities for cost savings across the organization.

 

How does automation benefit the procurement process? 

Automating the procurement process brings benefits to procurement teams, other teams in the business utilising the procurement function and suppliers. These benefits include: 

- Increasing the speed at which documents are processed, shared and approved enabling procurement teams to work more efficiently and source, approve and pay suppliers faster.  

- Providing greater visibility and better collaboration creating better working relationships internally and externally.  

- Encouraging outside teams to engage with procurement department reducing maverick spending and giving procurement more opportunities to make cost savings for the business.

 

Automation has a role at each stage of the procurement process: 

- Purchase requisitions 

Submitting purchase requisitions manually can be an incredibly slow and error prone process. Multiple revisions and numerous approval levels often cause information to get waylaid and cause delays. Automating the process allows requesters to upload the information required in a predefined template which is then directed to approvers for review. Any feedback or changes can be updated directly in the platform making it easier to track progress and approve cases faster.  

- Purchase orders  

Much like purchase requisitions, purchase orders often go through multiple touchpoints prior to approval. Automation allows you to create a workflow that automatically routes your purchase orders through the appropriate steps based on predefined business rules preventing bottlenecks and allowing them to reach final approval faster. The automated process can also update your ERP automatically. 

Improving perception of procurement at Takeda 

Leading pharmaceutical company Takeda wanted to make it easier for other departments to engage with procurement and increase the procurement team’s overall activity. They automated their business engagement model, converting a three-page form into a web-based questionnaire supported by workflows and business rules. The streamlined process improved the perception of and engagement with the department massively increasing the potential for cost-saving across the organization. 

- Vendor onboarding 

Collecting information needed to review supplier compliance and risk, then communicating requirements often takes place across different systems creating silos and preventing transparency. Automating tasks and centralizing documents allows you to input and share information more easily ensuring that internal and external stakeholders know where they are in the process and the next steps. 

Speeding up onboarding at adidas

Global sportswear manufacturer adidas wanted to streamline their lengthy vendor onboarding process. By creating an automated workflow they were able to centralize supplier data and gain more visibility into the onboarding process allowing them to track status. These changes led to a significant improvement in data quality and a 50% reduction in factory onboarding time.  

- Invoice processing  

Matching invoices to purchase orders, resolving queries, submitting for approval and issuing payments can take anywhere from days to weeks. Automated invoice processing performs automatic matching to verify accuracy, routes invoices to the right people for approval and provides a central repository for records reducing manual data entry and speeding up the entire process.  

- Payments  

Your accounts payable team need to be able to pay invoices quickly and securely. Automated payments provide them with access to the documents and communications needed to ensure that suppliers are paid on time, every time. This avoids late fees and sometimes opens up the opportunity for early payment discounts. Tracking payments in a single platform also allows you to accurately monitor and control cash flow.

 

Implementing automation across your procurement process will increase efficiency and give your procurement team valuable time back to focus on negotiating the best deals for your organization. You can find out more about our procurement automation solutions here

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