E-procurement is one of the most effective ways to drive productivity and efficiency in procurement processes. The success of this model is reflected in the e-procurement sales volume that grew by 17 per cent in 2021, reaching a new high of $934 billion. The model is popular as it allows you to streamline your procurement system, reduce manual input, increase visibility into spending and suppliers, and improve the contract management system.
Despite being a popular trend in the procurement landscape and many organisations implementing stand-alone portals, e-procurement technology continues to evolve, advance and become even more user-friendly and intuitive, as do employees’ expectations. As such, your e-procurement process must meet their needs.
Define Your Key Objectives
When it comes to e-procurement, the first step is to define your key objectives. It will help identify areas where you can improve your process and measure your implementation’s success.
Some of the most common goals include:
1. Reducing Cycle Times
By improving the visibility of procurement activities and process flow, you can significantly reduce the time required to complete them as teams can plan.
2. Increasing Supplier Engagement
By enhancing the shareability and visibility of data, you can increase your engagement with suppliers and enhance their experience with your organisation. Improving vendor management can also help with increased supplier engagement. This is especially important as B2B e-procurement grows around the world. Last year, 7.2 per cent of all B2B sales resulted from e-procurement.
3. Increasing Procurement Spend Visibility
You can increase procurement spend visibility and make more informed decisions with improved data visibility.
4. Improving Procurement Staff Satisfaction
Enhancing the user experience for procurement staff can significantly increase satisfaction and productivity. Ensuring the predictability of work with a better contract management system can also contribute significantly.
Commit to a Continuous Improvement In E-Procurement Process
When it comes to e-procurement, commit to a continuous improvement process. Successful implementations of e-procurement portals tend to be the result of a process that’s consistent and focused on constant improvement.
To ensure you’re setting yourself up for success, follow a process designed to achieve your objectives. It means ensuring that you have the right people in place, the right tools, and the proper strategy in place to take advantage of e-procurement. Along with this, it’s essential to set realistic expectations and timelines for your implementation to ensure you remain focused on achieving results.
Implement An AI Platform For E-Procurement
Nowadays, many e-procurement solutions come with an AI platform. AI allows you to automate repetitive tasks and make the procurement system more efficient. With an AI platform, you can automatically receive notifications when there are issues with your procurement process. For example, you may receive a message if there is a change in supplier pricing.
Additionally, AI can provide insights into spending, which can help you identify areas where you can improve your process. For example, it provides insights into the cost of a particular item across all suppliers or the total spend on a specific item.
Leverage a Robotic Process Automation Platform
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) lets you automate tedious, manual administrative tasks. RPA is a methodology and technology that allows you to automate data input, procurement activities, and workflow management. With RPA, you can reduce errors during data input, eliminate manual actions, and improve visibility into procurement processes.
RPA can be especially useful when it comes to procurement spend visibility. You can track a particular spend’s progress, such as a purchase order’s progress. In addition to that, RPA can save you money since it eliminates manual activities, reducing your payroll costs.
Establish a Centralised Inventory Management System
Regarding e-procurement, a centralised inventory management system can help you improve procurement spend visibility. This system allows you to track all departmental purchases, including services and supplies. It will help you identify and understand your current spending and where you can potentially optimise. Further, it can help improve procurement spend visibility, especially regarding services.
A centralised inventory management system lets you see which services are used across departments and their costs. It will enable you to identify potential areas for cost reduction.
To summarise, e-procurement is a great way to optimise procurement processes and drive efficiency across the board. However, to get the most with the time and money you spend, it’s essential to ensure that your method is designed to meet your employees’ needs and that it’s meeting its full potential. It can only be done by optimising your e-procurement system with a dedicated portal.
If you’re finding the transition difficult, consider Procol for help. It is a procurement solution that can help make the transition smoother for you and your team. Schedule a demo today.