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Get Back to Business with Automated EProcurement

EProcurement automation reduces the time we spend on mundane procurement tasks, increases the ROI of procurement budgets, and lets us focus on what matters.

11-4blog.pngThroughout history, automation technologies have relieved people of the need to waste time on tedious but necessary tasks. In the past, automation was mechanical: the washing machine’s invention in the early 20th Century massively reduced the time and energy spent on laundry.  Today, automation is more often digital.

A century ago, businesses employed armies of clerks to create, assess, and move paper documents.  Now software and networks automate much of the information flow around and between companies.

EProcurement automation is one of the most significant developments in business automation in the last decade. It helps businesses to bring spending under the management of procurement professionals; to automate the exchange of procurement documents such as purchase orders, invoices, and shipping notifications; and to leverage employee skills for tasks that generate more value than paper shuffling or manual rekeying. 

B2B buyers recognize the strategic importance of procurement to their business’s profitability, which is why eProcurement is the fastest growing B2B sales channel in the U.S., and the global procurement software market will be worth over $6 billion by 2023. 

Save Time With eProcurement Automation

Procurement is data and document-driven. Procurement professionals receive, create, and process vast numbers of documents: contracts, purchase orders, invoices, bids, quotes, RFPs, and more. Businesses that have yet to digitize with eProcurement process these documents manually by email, or even through snail mail.

An employee has to look at every document and, in the best cases, enter it into the relevant internal system. Often, documents never leave email inboxes, giving procurement managers little oversight into what is happening in their department.

EProcurement automates the flow of data and documents, particularly if businesses integrate with supplier commerce platforms so that data can move seamlessly between buyer and supplier. EProcurement Integration and automation save time by enabling features such as PunchOut catalogs and purchase order automation. Instead of moving multiple versions of documents between systems, integrated eProcurement platforms automatically ensure that information gets to the right people at the right time without manual intervention.

Use Procurement Budgets More Effectively

Employee work hours saved is money saved, but eProcurement automation doesn’t mean job losses. Instead, it empowers procurement professionals to do more. Instead of manually processing documents and entering data, they can use their time to increase supply chain efficiency or research and negotiate with potential suppliers.

Businesses task procurement professionals with spend management, ensuring they get the best deals on products and services. EProcurement automation helps procurement departments achieve that goal, but it also helps them use their procurement workforce more efficiently. Businesses that intelligently leverage automation generate a significantly higher ROI for their procurement department budget. According to McKinsey, companies can expect cost savings of 15 to 20 percent through procurement digitization. 

Reduce Mental Clutter

At the beginning of this blog post, we mentioned the revolutionary impact of the washing machine. Before the washing machine, laundry was laborious. People had to source hot water mixed with caustic chemicals, soak and stir clothes for many hours, scrub them with a washboard, rinse them, and wring out the water with a mangel.

Laundry involved physical work, but it also consumed a considerable amount of thinking time. It had to be planned and coordinated. In a large household, washing started on Monday so that it could be finished by Sunday. Today we barely think about laundry at all. We throw some clothes in the machine, turn in on, and take washed and dried clothes out later.

We have automated many aspects of our lives — from cooking and laundry to travel and communication — so that we don’t have to think about them. We’re free to focus our minds on other tasks.

EProcurement automation has the same effect. It frees us from mundane tasks that are essential but better handled by a machine. Machines don’t miskey and create data entry errors or suffer eye strain from staring at tiny numbers on a brightly lit screen. They have nothing to work on or think about but the task at hand, leaving procurement professionals to focus their mental bandwidth on what matters: cost-efficient procurement and building better relationships with buyers and suppliers.

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