Learn About The Most Common Mistake On The Road To Digital Procurement, Plus 5 Tips For How To Fix It
In many companies, procurement is still mired down in piles of paperwork and slow manual processing. That makes it the perfect target for improvement through digital automation software.
Transitioning to digital procurement is pretty easy when you pick out a reliable supplier. With NextProcess, for example, we make setting up the software very easy and it’s super user-friendly. Procurement automation can speed up your process, save money, reduce errors, and give employees the tools they need to handle all aspects of procurement much more efficiently.
However, even the best digital system is only as good as the information you feed it. Problems already in your procurement system can carry-over to digital procurement if you don’t take steps to optimize your process early on.
In this article, we’ll look at five important steps to help you avoid making one of the most common mistakes in implementing digital procurement. Keep in mind that not all these steps have to be done before you digitize. In fact, your new automation system will be able to help with many of these tasks.
The Number One Mistake
The biggest mistake that companies make when digitizing their procurement is to simply turn the process they already have digital.
If you truly want to create a better procurement system, it’s not enough to just digitize the process you already have. You have to begin at the beginning and re-evaluate the whole procurement process.
If you approach procurement digitization as an opportunity to improve the entire purchasing process, you’ll be reaping more benefits than automation can do on its own. A little extra work put in before and during digitization helps ensure you’ll end up with a procurement system that’s truly helping your company succeed.
1) Start With Data
Procurement is a gold mine of important data. However, most procurement departments don’t have the tools to capture and use all this data. Many departments also struggle to collect clean data, and that’s something you’ll want to fix before you digitize.
Normalizing and standardizing master data ensures you’ll be feeding good data into the automation system starting out. That means you’ll want to go through your supplier information, vendor analytics, and other data to fill-in major defects and remove inconsistencies or duplicate information. Your new automation system will be able to help identify missing or inconsistent data. It’ll also help with gathering clean, accurate, useful data in the future.
2) Talk With People
The people who work with your procurement system every day know more about what works and what doesn’t than anyone else. Their feedback is invaluable when you’re trying to update and improve procurement in your company.
Collect feedback from the people who actively use your current system to find out what works and what doesn’t. You’ll also want to find out what they do and don’t want in a new system. That’ll give you a road map for what needs to change. It also gives employees a sense of ownership in the new system that can help make the transition to digital procurement easier.
It’s also important to emphasize the fact that a digital procurement system isn’t designed to replace employees. In many cases, employees are resistant to the idea of automation because they think it’s going to take away jobs. Be upfront about your goals for digitization. Let employees know that eProcurement software is designed to make their jobs easier, not to take those jobs away.
3) Update Compliance Controls
Switching to an automated system is the perfect opportunity to update company compliance controls both within the company and for vendors you work with. For internal controls, the eProcurement system that you’re using to digitize procurement will automatically enforce your custom policies.
Your digital system should already come with features designed to enforce compliance controls. That means you’ll want to up-to-date your company policies before you customize the new system. Once you’ve updated your compliance controls, features like punchout catalogs and item catalogs make it easy for employees to shop within your procurement system
4) Digitize Information and Process
Digitizing your procurement process also means digitizing procurement information. It’s almost impossible to implement a digital workflow when you’re still using paper-based files to keep track of procurement data.
Many vendors and suppliers can supply and accept electronic documents if you ask. For those that insist on using paper, you can still run your purchase order system digitally and only print out the files you need to submit.
For paper entering your department, document imaging turns the paper into electronic files before they enter your new system. If you don’t want to digitize existing and/or incoming files yourself, you can outsource document scanning to NextProcess. We can help you get your old files digital and we guarantee same-day turnaround for incoming documents.
5) Find A Software Company That Works With You
The software company supplying your new procurement system can be one of your best allies in your mission to avoid mistakes when implementing digital procurement. You don’t want to get stuck working with a company that will abandon you halfway through implementation. And you don’t want one that isn’t around to explain how to customize the software to fit your company.
NextProcess is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company that will take care of most of the implementation work for you. That’s big contrast to more expensive installed software that your IT department would have to handle. This also means a new SaaS system will be ready to use 50% to 90% faster than a new internal system. Plus, we’ll work closely with your company to get the software working just the way you need. We also keep the system up-to-date for you.
When you’re shopping for a digital procurement solution, choose the company who will be there to make sure you reach 100% of your digitization goal. Contact us today to schedule a free demo of our software and see how NextProcess can help your company find success on the road to digital procurement.