Procurement is a core activity for many businesses. After all, businesses use materials and services in order to create and deliver their own products and services.
Yet, in spite of the fact that it’s such an integral operations process, procurement is persistently one of the most disorganized activities for many organizations including institutions of higher education. Often, this is because procurement’s top priorities haven’t evolved to align with the priorities of a modern business.
It’s hard to blame the procurement department. In many organizations, they’re still stuck using Excel spreadsheets and email for routine processes. Without automation, employees in charge of procurement are still spending a lot of time on paperwork, and simply don’t have the time to think bigger picture. Concerns such as Corporate Social Responsibility or reducing everyday risks to the business unfortunately take a back seat to simply getting through all the routine tasks.
Whatever the size of your business, process automation helps increase agility and sets your business up for success in the 21st century.
In part 1 of this series, we discussed the latest trends in procurement for the 21st century. Building upon that, we’ll now highlight some modern digital procurement technologies and help you choose the right ones for your organization.
As more organizations are leveraging procurement technologies to increase operational efficiencies, reduce costs, and respond to market demand, it’s no longer an option to ignore the various digital transformation tools if you want to stay competitive and improve profit margins.
However, with the many solutions on the market, choosing the right technologies can be quite a daunting task.
To get the most of your IT budget, you should first devise a clear digital transformation strategy to guide the selection of technologies for your organization.
Here are some tools to consider based on the latest trends in procurement technologies (which we discussed in part 1 of this series):
Recent advances in technology are creating profound impacts on many businesses activities. In particular, digital transformation is rapidly changing back-office operations such as supply chain management and procurement. Digitally transformed organizations increase efficiency, lower cost, and adapt to fast-evolving customer expectations.
To stay relevant, competitive, and profitable, businesses need to keep pace with new technologies. Procurement is no exception. New technologies facilitate e-procurement, contract repository, supplier performance management, spend analysis, supplier information management, AP automation, business networks, contract authoring, and more.
Fast forward to 2019, and things seem to be pointing in a different direction. The latest Deloitte study found a clear shift in procurement, with an accelerated pace of change in digital procurement. While cost reduction remains a priority (78%), there was a clear emphasis on innovation and value as well.
So with that in mind, here are some key statistics to focus on as we move toward 2020 and beyond.
In life or in business, risk taking has benefits and may even be an essential ingredient of success. Quite the opposite when it comes to procurement – the last thing you want is risk. A smoothly functioning procurement process is standardized and dependable.
Purchase Orders (PO) and Purchase Requisitions are extremely common documents that practically every business uses. They help businesses control costs, ensure that employees cannot bypass business standards and that the business gets the best possible deal. Problems are easier to track down. If the vendor delivers the wrong items, the signed copy of the purchase order proves what the business actually ordered.
Purchase order and invoice processing are basic functions every organization performs as part of its day-to-day operations. Employees in the finance department handle POs, get them signed, send them out to vendors and process related invoices on a routine basis.
These processes can often have complex business requirements:
Organizations of every stripe – small businesses, schools & colleges, and even some large companies – continue to email Excel sheets to approve purchase requests and issue a purchase order. While that’s better than paper, Excel still has numerous disadvantages particularly in today’s mobile-centric, data-driven world. You need a fully digital solution.
Let’s face it – even though procurement management is an essential part of successful businesses, it’s one of the most disorganized activities at many organizations.
More often than not, inefficient manual processes are the root cause of these challenges. These messy and wasteful processes causes delays, errors, and workarounds that result in much larger downstream issues such as:
Procurement is a core operational function of any business. Without the ability to obtain the necessary materials, a business cannot manufacture its products.
Traditionally, procurement’s most important goal was to lower costs. However, the pace of modern business has accelerated dramatically. Today’s businesses also operate on a global landscape sourcing materials and selling products across the world. That’s forced procurement to become a digital, measurable function aligned with overall corporate priorities.