Workflow of the Week: Procuring the Best in Procurement Automation

Emily Bogin |

Workflow automation can solve serious issues of communication, collaboration, cost, and efficiency across the entire organization.

One area where it excels? In procurement automation.

According to Procurement Bulletin, what are the five most difficult obstacles for procurement professionals?

Legal Management SoftwareLack of internal communication, leading to poor collaboration between purchasers and the rest of the organization.

Legal Management SoftwareExternal communication blocks between purchasers and vendors/suppliers, creating inefficiency and error.

Legal Management SoftwareCost control, so purchasers spend wastefully, and the procurement process itself is inefficient.

Legal Management SoftwareImproper focus as procurers aren’t in tune with operations, leading to missed opportunities, increased costs, and more.

Legal Management SoftwareFailure to streamline the process, as procurement fails to integrate with corporate strategy and misses out on becoming a key player in demand management.

Ordering the disorder

What do each of these five obstacles have in common? They all have to do with disorder and disorganization–what we recently called the problem of “inner and outer transparency.” 

Procurement teams need to focus not only on working with their vendors to avoid inefficiencies and errors, but they also must be transparent with their own organizations, not to mention internal to their team. Each point of communication, without a streamlined and ultimately automated process in tow, becomes an opportunity for error. 

Properly implemented, using the right software, workflow automation can help address every one of these issues. 

A well-designed procurement automation workflow will drive better communication and collaboration among all the participants and stakeholders in the buying process.

Those making procurement/sourcing requests will submit precise information using smart online forms, which can then be perfectly routed for review and approval in timely fashion; vendors can be looped into the process, too, so everyone is accessing and collaborating on a common task, speeding up execution while slashing errors and costs.

Here’s an actual use case where one of our TAP Workflow Automation clients designed and published a faster, more streamlined procurement process.

A smarter, more streamlined procurement process

Using smart, self-guiding online forms, employees are able to initiate the procurement process without the traditional drudgeries of going through a paper-based RFX.  Rather, the digital form they use automatically pulls information about the vendor if they’re already in the database, determines the right individuals to route the form to for review (someone in the legal department or finance, for instance), and automatically routes it to those process participants.

Automated reminders keep people engaged in the workflow, so requests are promptly looked off and sent to the next person in line. If someone is too tardy on reviewing a request? Their supervisor can be alerted.  Since all requests are centrally viewable from a single dashboard, managers know what’s been requested, and the progress of every procurement workflow.

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