By now, we are all aware of the challenges of social distancing and working remote. For most, these are only minor inconveniences, albeit major headaches, that remind us of how efficient we can be with the right monitor, workspace, or being able to probe a colleague for their opinion or feedback. The virtual workplace is very much capable of enabling all of us to perform this daily work. Policy and procedure should not be the exception.

When reviewing current policies and procedures, what images come to mind? Is it a set of “rules” or “recommendations,” or is a document that guides through the purchasing process, noting actions and needed steps? An important question to ask when reviewing your policy is, “how often are we reviewing, auditing, or making exceptions?” If you find you are asking these questions frequently, this is likely a sign that your policy isn’t prescriptive enough, or your policy is unfinished or fragmented. Despite our social distancing, policy and procedure and our daily work interactions should still operate effectively and efficiently. To help optimize your policy and procedure—even during social distancing—review the tips below to conduct an effective review of your current state, and implement new practices to improve your current process.

How Prescriptive Do You Want to Be?
When drafting or updating your policy and procedure, establish how prescriptive you want to be. This is the chance to draft step-by-step guidance and documentation, or a chance to take a lighter touch to enable your team to use their discretion. As a general rule of thumb, your policy should be the governing document that establishes the steps and requirements for a given procurement event, while your procedure (or procedure documents) will determine when and how to conduct such events. You have options when determining how to draft these documents, and opinions can vary on how detailed or prescriptive this documentation should be. Be sure to gather the input from
your team early on and iterate while you make that determination.

Optimize Where You Can
Review your process from end to end and take a look at a standard or typical event. Highlight any areas where there’s an opportunity to optimize. For some, this may mean using E-signature tools, having an approval flow that makes sense, an appropriate delegation of authority (DOA), or reducing the number of emails or handoffs during your process by combining processes. This is especially important in our current environment with social distancing. It may be tough to take an objective look at your process and identify gaps, but your team must highlight these pain points or opportunities for improvement. If you find it difficult to truly identify areas for optimization or to effectively implement these measures, a team like Corcentric and Source One may be the right fit to create effective change within your organization.

Invest in the Right Tools and Solutions
If much of your process is still manual, then it’s time to review the current platforms and solutions that would best fit your organization. This could be a suite of different project management and procurement software solutions, or implementing an Accounts Payable (AP) automation solution. With the right solution, you can automate or optimize many of the gaps identified above and correct your process with these solutions in mind. The right tools should ultimately help establish the appropriate, streamlined process for your organization and would eliminate some the stress associated with our current situation. Corcentric has a suite of tools available to help automate and optimize your procedure.

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John Sepcie

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