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Why are B2B Buyers Demanding that Suppliers Digitize and Automate?

B2B buyers prefer automated procurement processes because automation reduces expensive manual processing while increasing procurement transparency and flexibility.

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B2B buyers increasingly prefer suppliers that offer digital sales via eCommerce. Many go even further, choosing only suppliers capable of providing automated order data exchange that is compatible with their back-end eProcurement and spend management platforms.

buyer_demand.jpgA substantial proportion of US distributors and suppliers fall at the first hurdle: around 80% process orders by hand and too many fail to provide even a rudimentary eCommerce experience. That’s a significant mismatch between buyer expectations and supplier capabilities, but it’s also an opportunity for suppliers who can provide the level of integration and automation buyers want.

What do we mean by B2B automation? Part of it is the availability of supplier punchout catalogs within the buyer’s eProcurement solution. But true automation goes deeper, seamlessly handling the two-way exchange of purchase orders, invoices, and other procurement data. Buyers are enthusiastic about automation because it helps them to drive operational efficiency within the procurement process.

Let’s look at some of the reasons B2B buyers prefer digitization and automation.

Automation optimizes staffing costs

It is time-consuming and expensive to manually process purchase orders, invoices, and other procurement documents. Basic digitization helps to make the process less cumbersome, but receiving orders and invoices by email is barely more efficient than receiving hard copies in the mail. The real issue is the amount of valuable employee time used to process documents. Buyers invest in eProcurement platforms to increase procurement efficiency, a project which is hindered by the need to manually verify and enter each order into their eProcurement platform.

Automated data exchange allows buyers to maximize the ROI of their eProcurement platform and move procurement employees to areas that generate value for the business.

Automation gives buyers greater insight into their supply chain

End-to-end procurement transparency helps buyers to optimize their procurement workflows, spotting inefficiencies and redundancies. But transparency requires data from across the supply chain to be consolidated onto a single platform for monitoring and analysis. Without digitization and automation, data tends to collect in silos spread across different teams, facilities, and business units.

The supply chain is a major cost center, and choosing suppliers who can integrate with procurement and supply chain management platforms is a crucial cost reduction strategy for many businesses.

Automation increases procurement flexibility

Competition and customer demand for shorter lead times, smaller margins, and more frequent orders put pressure on businesses to improve the efficiency of their supply chain. The agility demanded by customers is all but impossible with slow-moving manual procurement processes. Digitization and automation allow businesses react more quickly to changing customer demands than old and slow manual processes, and that makes businesses unwilling to partner with suppliers who can’t provide the flexibility and agility of eCommerce and automated purchase order and invoice handling.

PunchOut2Go provides the technology to enable end-to-end procurement integration and automation solutions capable of automating data interchange between any eProcurement platform and any eCommerce application. To find out more about how PunchOut2Go can help you meet your buyers' demands for automation, contact us via live chat or complete the form below.

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