By | Mohammed Kafil
In recent years, the age of digital transformation has sparked an increased interest in simplifying and optimizing processes across all areas of business, including procurement.
Traditional procurement methods are paper-based and rely on inefficient manual processes prone to bottlenecks and errors. In contrast, procurement automation enhances productivity by eliminating redundant and time-consuming processes and provides value beyond cost savings.
If businesses focus only on cost savings, they can procure from the cheapest Supplier, which can be easily sourced through automation. But procure-to-pay software takes other factors like market risk, product quality, supplier reputation into consideration when sourcing a supplier.
Increasing productivity while thinking beyond cost savings requires extra effort with carefully determining the next steps. Traditionally, performing tasks like verifying a supplier’s experience, market reputation, going through the contracts to find areas for negotiations, etc., makes the procurement team’s life miserable.
With procurement automation, businesses can enhance their efficiency, save costs, provide value to the customers and become a market leader while effectively utilizing their workforce.
Imagine a situation where you aren’t able to manage your organization’s talent effectively. In that case, it can be challenging to motivate them to work toward shared goals and perform to their full potential, which can be disastrous for your organization.
Making Best Use of Your Talent Through Procurement Automation
Let’s see how procurement automation can help you make the best of your talent.
Tactical to Strategic Tasks
Human talent must benefit from automation by being promoted from the dull, frequently repetitive tasks that robots and machines can efficiently perform. There is a lot of work to be done that involves empathy, creativity, and strategic thinking, all of which people excel at.
Unfortunately, most small and medium businesses do not have the time to engage in strategic operations as they are consumed with data entries and repetitive tasks. That decreases productivity, wastes talent, and leads to employee burnout.
According to a McKinsey report, current technology can automate 45 percent of employee time, and considering all of the mundane things you have to complete every day at work, this isn’t unexpected.
With the help of procurement automation, human labor and mistakes are eliminated from your most typical procurement operations. Bottlenecks and costly delays are eliminated with automated approval procedures that include built-in contingencies and reminders. Forms are automatically filled out, removing the need for time-consuming data entry.
Procurement automation saves money and reduces human-prone error by removing paper, manual procedures, workflow redundancies, and the need for most or all human participation.
Additionally, by managing consolidated data, procurement software reduces cycle times for tasks involving invoices, purchase orders, contract management, and audits, thus increasing the efficiency of the procurement process.
A report by APQC ranked social and soft skills as critical, with some of the top skills including critical thinking, communication, stakeholder management, and relationship building.
By automating tactical procedures such as data entry, invoices, and approvals, executives can allow their teams to think creatively, innovate, and explore other avenues such as designing successful procurement strategies by leveraging modern tools.
Moreover, now that redundant tasks are out of the way, procurement teams can focus on procuring quality goods from reliable suppliers, negotiating with the existing suppliers, and interacting with critical suppliers to build strong relationships.
Spend Reports Through Automation
As tedious tasks such as data collection and data entries are performed mainly by procurement automation software, this helps procurement teams to spend less time collecting and sanitizing data and more time interpreting the data to make decisions such as which suppliers to focus on, where to cut additional costs and so on.
With the consolidated view of actual spend generated by automation, procurement teams can identify areas of improvement and design strategies for cutting costs and expanding business as per the organization’s needs.
Strategic relationship with Supplier
Both the buyer and the supplier profit from spend analytics generated by procurement automation: When it comes time to negotiate a contract, all sides may concentrate on their own strategic goals rather than fighting for tiny victories.
Comprehensive spend analysis reveals how much money your company spends with each Supplier on various items and services and which vendors receive most of your business.
Organizations may use supplier performance information managed through procurement automation software to foster stronger supplier relationships and proactive growth. For example, procurement teams can quickly develop a list of non-performing vendors using automated spend analysis to identify valuable suppliers.
Automation can enable supplier management systems to help procurement teams develop a strategic relationship with suppliers rather than a transactional one by focusing on fewer suppliers for better value, resulting in a leaner and more efficient procurement process.
An organization’s workforce is one of its most important assets. Suppose companies fail to keep their employees engaged and motivated to work. In that case, they can be vulnerable to different threats, including low employee productivity, burnout, low retention rates, and exposing the company’s secrets.
With the help of procurement automation, businesses can effectively manage their human talent by taking tedious and exhausting tasks out of their hands. Procurement automation also empowers the workforce by engaging them in higher-value activities such as designing procurement strategies and leveraging their interpersonal and critical thinking skills.
Mohammed Kafil is a certified procurement consultant who has been coaching companies to establish resilient digital procurement operating models for over a decade now. With Kissflow Procurement Cloud, a flexible purchasing software that streamlines end-to-end procure-to-pay, invoice management systems, and also eventually the vendor management process, Kafil helps medium and large enterprises with their digital transformation projects. In the recent past, he has also worked with Fortune 500 companies to implement platforms like Coupa, Ariba, Ivalua, and BuyerQuest