Article

E-Procurement Automation 101

15 August 2019

The best steps to follow when looking to automate your electronic procurement process.

With eProcurement automation, you can gain better insights into your business’s spending and enhance your sourcing strategies. When you know what you’re spending, by who, and why the procurement team can better understand your business’s current and future souring requirements. Also, it can help you identify future souring opportunities and savings.

Today, over 85 percent of business leaders are prioritizing digitization. In fact, over 65 percent of C-suite executives are afraid that failing to digitize their organizations will make them lose their competitive edge. One process that can help you digitize your business is e-procurement. For starters, e-procurement is the purchase and sale of supplies, services, equipment, and works through a web interface or networked system. Electronic automation setting up a system that ensures the interaction between a business, its customers, and other value chain partners happens automatically.

What are the Benefits of eProcurement Automation?

Automating the procurement process offers significant benefits to your business, including:

It Eliminates Repetitive and Laborious Tasks

Manual processing of supplier invoices is draining and stressful. People in financial circles refer to this condition as “bane.” Also, there’s always a likelihood of missing PO or VAT numbers, non-matching line items, and incorrect financial values. Correcting these oversights manually is draining and time-consuming. However, you can quickly eliminate these inconveniences by using eProcurement software to automate the process.

It Helps Save Time Sourcing New Suppliers

When looking for new suppliers, you want to ensure you’re dealing with a reliable entity. Finding a dependable supplier can be a tedious, trial and error undertaking.

Electronic procurement automation allows you to drive the best value and increases the chances of getting the ideal supplier. Since there’s no paperwork, you can save the manual overheads and time spent negotiating with the supplier.

Further, you can be sure of finding the right supplier because only those that meet your specific criteria at the start of the process can tender for work.

It Helps Improve your Sourcing Strategy

With eProcurement automation, you can gain better insights into your business’s spending and enhance your sourcing strategies. When you know what you’re spending, by who, and why the procurement team can better understand your business’s current and future souring requirements. Also, it can help you identify future souring opportunities and savings.

It Improves Spend Visibility

As a business owner, you want to grip your expenses for better cash management. However, establishing spend visibility isn’t easy, especially if running a big company with complex, indirect expenditures.

With e-Procurement automation, however, you can track and monitor what each department is spending at the click of a button. That way, you can achieve better control of costs and cash flow.

Think of it as a strategy to help you identify cost-saving opportunities that will allow a more accurate budgeting process.

It Ensures Faster Order-to-Delivery Timescales

Shortening order-to-delivery timescales by automating requisition approvals is essential to reaping the benefits of eProcurement.

By enabling fast online approvals, eProcurement software eliminates downtime for users and approvers. It also ensures that your procurement team doesn’t have to deal with paper trails or file away documents.

Best e-Procurement Automation Practices

You now know the benefits of eProcurement.

The next question becomes, what are the best steps to follow when looking to automate your electronic procurement process? Here’s a step-by-step breakdown:

Step 1: Analyze your Entire P2P Process

Automating e-Procurement is a complex and far-reaching process that will affect multiple departments.

Therefore, you’ll want to look at every department and examine your Purchase-to-Pay process to determine how electronic procurement will affect your team.

Ideally, you want to make sure that everyone understands the impact of the transition. That way, you’ll minimize the interruption of business processes.

Step 2: Involve Management

When implementing a system that affects multiple departments, such as eProcurement, you want to ensure that you have full support from your management.

The best approach is to sensitize the management team about the benefits of e-procurement automation.

A good practice is to outline the pros and cons of automation. Also, let the management know about the long-term benefits of automating procurement.

Why is this essential?

For one, the management team is closer to the employees who will use the system once implemented. Essentially, this means the management is better placed to ensure relevant departments leverage the automation and everything it offers.

Step 3: Choose a Good eProcurement Automation Solution

With everyone on board, it is time to choose the e-procurement software. You’re better off with a solution that is intuitive and super-easy to use.

Remember, the primary reason you want to automate procurement is to improve speed and increase the efficiency of the process.

How can you know if a particular e-procurement solution is worth it? Here are some pointers:

  • Read independent reviews to see what previous users have to say about the software.
  • Analyze the solution’s features to determine if they’re what your organization needs.
  • Consider the software’s price to ensure it is within your budget estimates.
  • Check if the vendor will help roll out the system in your organization.
  • Ask the vendor if they can guarantee support in the future.

Of course, the best e-procurement solution should offer all the above and meet your unique needs.

Step 4: Implement e-Procurement and Train your Team

Now that you have found the ideal solution, it is time to adopt it in your organization. As mentioned, the vendor should help integrate the software into your current procurement system.

Also, you want to train your team on how to make the most out of the software. Again, the vendor should help with the training.

Conclusion

Electronic procurement offers benefits that will transform your businesses and improve your relationship with your suppliers.

Still, the key to successful adoption and subsequent implementation starts with choosing the right vendor.

Unimaze can help you automate your eProcurement process through our innovative cloud-based solutions.

If you want to shift from manual procurement or are looking for an eProcurement automation that’s unique to your organization’s needs, we can help.

Book a consultation session for further discussion with our technical team.

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