How to Streamline Your Procurement Process from Weeks to Hours
When contract management and procurement software first arrived on the scene, overnight it became an easy way to streamline the procurement process. Businesses didn’t have to rely on excel, emails, conversations, and word documents as much as they did in the past. In addition, having software in many cases provides digital proof when something goes awry. However, the sourcing and procurement process flow constantly changes, and its needs do as well.
With those changing needs, software needs to change, your contract management procurement process, and how you go about things. Even with the best software suite, you may be wondering why elements of your procurement process are still taking weeks when you’re they might take hours. Are you going about things the wrong way? Are you using the wrong software? Read on to learn more about how to streamline your procurement process and what the steps involved are.
How to Streamline Your Procurement Process: What Are the Steps Involved?
Generally speaking, there are 10 steps involved in a procurement process. Your business may do things slightly differently, but more often than not, a procurement process could include the following elements:
- Recognition of needs
- Purchase requisition
- Request review
- Negotiation and contract period
- Requests for quotations
- Budget approvals
- Receiving goods and services
- Three-way matching
- Invoice approval and payment
- Record keeping of the event
At each turn, you can streamline your procurement process; but this depends heavily on the skills of your team and the intuitive nature of the supply chain software that you’re using.
How to Streamline Your Procurement Process: What is E-Procurement?
This might seem like a confusing statement as you may be thinking, “Wait. I already work in E-procurement,” because I’m using this software. To a degree, that is true—but E-procurement refers more to the automation of many different procurement processes. It doesn’t take out the human factor completely, but it does bring automation to the forefront to streamline the process and remove human error.
Another benefit that automation provides is analytics. Relying on analytics, such as a spend cube to make decisions, helps you make more informed decisions. While it does take time to run, analyze, and judge reports and then make decisions, the efficiency and money it saves, in the long run, is well worth it. There are also other ways that E-procurement can help streamline your procurement process.
How to Streamline Your Procurement Process: Other Ideas to Try
If you’ve automated your manual procurement processes and you’re still wondering how to optimize your procurement process, there are other things you can do as well. Some ideas include:
- Make collaboration easy. Sometimes contracts go back and forth quite a few times before you hold the finalized copy in your hand. Ensure that PDF editing software or tracking in MS Word is a part of your contract management process, or readily accessible to your team.
- Make your contracts transparent. Everyone on your team should be able to see at what point a contract is in real-time. This avoids confusion, unnecessary emails, waiting for answers, and essentially, wasting time. You can also offer transparency to your suppliers too.
- Look for software that can easily integrate with software you’re already using. If you’re about to install something that isn’t compatible with Microsoft Office, yet your entire office uses the MS Suite, that’s not a wise idea and will only slow things down. Always read the fine print as you’re choosing software to streamline your procurement process.
- Ensure whatever software you choose automatically provides status information and reporting as a byproduct of people using. Reporting and status shouldn’t be something that people have to build after doing their jobs.
To hear more about how to streamline your procurement process, or to request a software demo, contact EC Sourcing Group today at 973-936-9672. We want you to reimagine the way you think about procurement.