Automation is one of those things that sounds great in theory and can work great in actual practice, but getting from Point A to Point B in this regard is hardly ever easy or straightforward for any company. For that reason, if you are thinking about automating any aspects of your procurement processes, there's a lot to consider: You need to move forward with a comprehensive strategy to make your employees' lives easier and your operations more efficient.
First and foremost, you should keep in mind that when you are automating procurement processes, it doesn't have to be a whole-cloth endeavor, according to Frevvo. There may be some parts of your efforts that take a long time to fully implement, but they will be highly valuable. One of the most obvious benefits is that it brings all purchasing within a company or organization under one umbrella. You never have to worry about double-ordering or losing track of where any given order stands.
Among the many things a completely automated procurement effort can do for you is make it easier to create and process purchase orders, generate purchase requisitions, approve invoices and keep better records — all automatically. While you certainly do those things already in-house, being able to do it quickly, easily and seamlessly can unlock improvements to your behind-the-scenes efforts you might have never considered processes.
What are the benefits?
When you automate your procurement processes on the whole, you may be able to lock previously unreachable levels of efficiency, in a number of ways, according to Kissflow. For one thing, processes that previously took a lot of time to complete manually — such as creating purchase orders — are now done in moments and will eliminate any manual errors (which themselves require significant time and effort to go back and correct).
In addition, relevant stakeholders will automatically receive alerts when they have to take action regarding a specific document, greatly reducing the likelihood that anything gets lost in the shuffle.
Getting it right
In addition to simply finding the software package that will work best for your specific needs, you must make sure it is implemented effectively for everyone on your team and collects all the right data you will need to streamline your procurement efforts on an ongoing basis, according to Negotiatus. That will require a bit of fine-tuning once everything is in place, but the idea is that when you start laying the groundwork, everything starts to improve slowly, then snowballs to a point where you are operating at peak efficiency thanks to your automation efforts.
With all of this in mind, procurement pros have a lot to think about when it comes to these strategic investments and how they will handle implementing them initially and getting everyone on the same page with them. There may be some ups and downs in the early days of adoption, but the end result will be a stronger, more effective procurement process for your entire organization.