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Why Should Hotels Automate Inventory and Procurement?

E-procurement can provide numerous operational benefits to hotels that make the transition to this type of system. To help demonstrate exactly why automating inventory and procurement should be a top priority for hotels as 2015 winds down and 2016 gets nearer, we want to highlight the most significant benefits:

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November 18, 2015
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BY Bellwether
How Workflow Automation Can Shorten the B2B Sales Cycle

In general, the sales cycle for B2B offerings is significantly longer than it is for B2C. From initial contact through pitches to negotiations, there’s a lot that has to get done in order for a deal to close. Because there are already so many potential roadblocks in place, it’s important for a company to provide as much support as possible to their salespeople.

By providing all the support that’s needed, companies can ensure that they’re not causing any inefficiencies that make things even more challenging for their salespeople. While salespeople will still have to contend with challenges like making it clear why a specific offering is superior to that of a competitor, not having internal hurdles to overcome can provide a significant boost.

To ensure that there aren’t walls between sales and management which are hindering the ability of the former to make deals, let’s take a look at three ways workflow automation can be successfully used:

Provide Smart Deals

One of the reasons that it’s typical for B2B sales to take longer is because price is something that’s almost always negotiable. From more complex packages to higher volumes, buyers want to be sure that they’re getting the best deal for their money. Since a lot of back and forth is already going to accompany this process, companies don’t want to create even more of it for their salespeople.

Instead, eliminating the need for drawn out internal discussions can give salespeople the flexibility to push for a sale and successfully close. With an automated approval workflow, salespeople can have the confidence to strategically discount without worrying about offering something that is going to make their manager unhappy.

Process Special Requests

Price isn’t the only element of B2B negotiations that often requires approval. There are a wide range of things that may come up which will require a salesperson to seek approval from their manager. If you want to ensure that getting special requests approved doesn’t stand in the way of a deal, an automated workflow is essential.

Dynamic Management of Inventory

One big consideration for B2B buyers is how quickly a solution can be delivered. If two offerings share many of the same features but one provider is able to deliver significantly faster than the other, the buyer is probably going to err on the side of speed. Utilizing automation in regards to inventory can help a business be as aggressive as possible with their delivery timelines.

It’s worth noting that the type of automation discussed above can benefit a business in other ways as well. For example, purchasing managers can use purchasing software to streamline their purchasing process and increase the overall efficiency of everything related to procurement.

Contact us today for a Free Live Demo, or sign up for a Free 30 Day Trial and try out Bellwether Purchasing Software for yourself. No credit card needed.

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September 19, 2015
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BY Bellwether
The 3 Cornerstones of Effective Purchasing

As the role of purchasing continues to expand and grow, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the latest trends. While there is definitely value in knowing what’s new, it’s now more important than ever to have a really strong grasp on the fundamentals of effective purchasing.

The reason that fundamentals are so important is because many organizations are looking to enhance their purchasing through efforts like automation with purchasing software. Since automating different tasks can provide a major boost to what’s currently being done, it makes sense for companies to explore the different options that are available.

However, the key thing to remember is if there are currently processes in place that aren’t optimal, automation isn’t going to magically solve them. So before a company can reap the benefits of things like automation, they need to ensure that purchasing is being done in the best way possible. That’s where the three cornerstones of effective purchasing come into play:

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August 21, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Automated Purchasing Process: How to Get Started

It wasn’t that long ago when most forms of automation were only accessible to very large companies. But thanks to all the rapid advances in technology that have brought costs down over the years, businesses of all sizes can benefit from automation. One area where automation can be very helpful for small to medium businesses is with purchasing. Specifically, a more automated purchasing process can help take a business to a new level of efficiency. Not only will this help save time for everyone who is involved, but it’s also a proven way to help keep costs at an optimal level.

How can a business start transitioning towards an automated purchasing process? That’s exactly what we’re going to answer in this post, so be sure to keep reading:

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August 21, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Should Your Purchasing Department Automate Its Invoice Processing?

While there’s no denying the fact that technology is now everywhere, that doesn’t mean it always lives up to its promises. Most businesses have gone through the process of getting excited about a specific piece of technology, only to have it fall short of the claims it makes. Because this can cause a business to invest time and resources into a solution that ultimately ends up not working out, plenty of businesses have a healthy dose of skepticism about adopting any new types of technology.

Although this outlook on things is completely understandable, it’s important for businesses to maintain the right perspective about technology. Despite some bumps along the way, that simple reality is that modern business is driven by advances in technology. Since technology is the best way for businesses to save time and money, businesses that constantly adopt the right solutions are able to gain a significant advantage over their competitors.

If you want to ensure that your business stays at the forefront of its industry instead of being at risk of falling behind, it’s important to be open to utilizing technology solutions with a track record of saving time and money. One solution that falls squarely into this category is to have your purchasing department automate. Even though it wasn’t that long ago when businesses had no choice but to manually process purchasing orders, that’s no longer the case.

And given the fact that manual processing has significant costs and resource requirements associated with it, this is something that businesses should automate as soon as possible. If your business understands the savings benefits associated with this form of processing but is concerned that implementing this type of system is going to be a major undertaking, you’ll be happy to know that Bellwether Purchasing Software offers a simple but powerful solution.

The Ideal Automation Solution for Small Business and Mid Market Purchasing Managers

The reason that Bellwether Purchasing Software has such a good track record is because it was specifically designed with small business and mid market purchasing managers in mind. Since it was built to make it possible to easily automate purchasing processes and eliminate paper, it has all the necessary features without any unneeded bloat.

Because our software was built with user friendliness in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it is incredibly easy to get up and running. Thanks to its availability as a secure SaaS solution, purchasing managers can fully use Bellwether Purchasing Software without needing to pull IT away from their other responsibilities.

Requisitioning, approval processes, PO generation, receiving, inventory, invoice matching and reporting are all features of our purchasing software. So if you’re ready to enjoy all the benefits of upgrading purchase order processing from a manual process to an automated one, contact us today.

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May 11, 2015
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BY Bellwether
How Setting Up PunchOuts to Vendors Will Benefit Your Business

A PunchOut provides a way to connect directly to vendors’ catalogs. By using a procurement software to set up PunchOuts, buyers have the ability to order directly through the web. Given all the benefits that this type of system can provide, it’s not surprising that usage of PunchOuts has seen an increase of 31% over just the last year.

While that is a notable amount of growth, many businesses still aren’t utilizing this system. When asked why, one of the most common responses is that businesses are concerned that the process of setting up this type of system is going to take too much time or require a large amount of resources. Although it is true that some setup is required, the process is simpler than most businesses expect. And given all the benefits of having PunchOuts in place, it’s an investment that businesses end up being very happy they made.

Whether you’re already on board with this concept but need some concrete points to help build your case or you’d like to know more about exactly what can be gained from PunchOuts, we want to take a look at look at the exact benefits that this practice can provide to a business:

No Maintenance Required for Purchasers

Once you get PunchOuts set up, you won’t have to worry about any ongoing maintenance. The reason is because any required catalog maintenance will be handled by the supplier. Since this isn’t something that your business will have to spend time doing, it will save you both time and money.

More Detailed Information

Not only are PunchOut catalogs really convenient, but they’re also very useful. Since being online means it’s easier for suppliers to properly maintain these types of catalogs, they provide purchasing managers with more detailed information. From current discounts to correct shipping costs, the fact that suppliers can do real-time updates is something that’s quite helpful for buyers.

Centralized and Simplified Purchasing

In addition to concerns about setting up PunchOuts, one of the other hesitations that purchasers have is that this system will get in the way of them being able to negotiate. However, thanks to the fact that negotiated prices can be hooked directly into the system, PunchOuts actually provide a way to promote purchasing consolidation, which in turn helps to maximize spend management.

Save Time and Increase Productivity

Since most purchasing managers already have a lot on their plate, there’s no reason that they should be spending their valuable time trying to navigate broken systems. By making the transition to PunchOuts, buyers will be able to save time, increase their productivity and focus their energy on the types of tasks that will have a very positive impact on the business as a whole. Bellwether Purchasing Software can help you make this transition easier. Contact us today to learn more.

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May 11, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Mobile Stats Purchasing Managers Need to Know About

One of the many features that Bellwether Purchasing Software offers is the ability to approve requisitions and purchase orders from anywhere. As long as you have access to email or a web browser, you can complete this task. A big part of why this flexibility is good news for purchasing managers and others involved in the purchasing process is modern workflows continue to become more mobile.

A simple way to understand why mobile is having such a big impact on how people work is to look at existing consumer behavior. Since most people consistently use their phone from when they get up until they go to sleep, it’s easy to see how this behavior carries over into the workplace. The fact that the average person has their phone within reach for 14 hours a day is why Apple and other technology companies are betting so big on wearable devices like watches.

Understanding Just How Big Mobile Has Become

Although you can see mobile devices anywhere that you go, it’s still easy to forget just how much of a societal shift that these phones have caused. The best way to put the full impact of mobile into perspective is to dig into the numbers.

Currently, 378,000 iPhones are sold a day, while only 371,000 babies are born on a daily basis. The incredible popularity of the iPhone and other smartphones is why more people on earth own a mobile phone than do a toothbrush. It’s also why projections point towards the presence of 10 billion mobile connected devices by 2017.

Shopping is one of the behaviors that consumers regularly rely on their mobile device to do. Not only do 80% of consumers use their smartphone to shop, but 56% believe their mobile devices make shopping more enjoyable. And what may come as the biggest surprise is a full 25% of consumers do all of their online shopping via a mobile device.

Since these stats put into perspective just how big mobile has become, it’s easy to see why failing to embrace this trend would be a mistake for a business. But by making the transition to a more mobile workflow, businesses can ensure that their best practices don’t fall out of step with what’s happening around them.

Mobile Provides An Advantage in Both B2B and B2C

Regardless of the specific industry you’re in, your personal productivity will benefit from being empowered through mobile. Not only will mobile provide you with flexibility and the ability to stay on top of your work, but it will also benefit anyone who works with you. So if you want to feel more in control of your daily processes and less stressed out by your responsibilities as a purchasing manager, Bellwether Purchasing Software features like mobile accessibility will greatly benefit you. Contact us today to learn more.

 

April 23, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Procurement Best Practices in 2015

One of the big advantages of Bellwether Purchasing Software is that all vendor, price, procedural and other updates are automatic. That means these changes are seamlessly implemented without any need for technical support. The problem with many other types of purchasing software is automatic updates aren’t possible. Instead, all updates have to be pushed out in a manual and time-consuming manner.

With other forms of software that don’t support automatic updates, developers have a reason to avoid improving their software on a regular basis. But as anyone who works as a purchasing manager knows, this field continues to expand and evolve. As a result, many types of software quickly become outdated and end up making life harder for purchasing managers instead of helping them save time.

Since Bellwether Purchasing Software isn’t constrained by those types of limitations, we spend a lot of time speaking with purchasing managers about their workflow. By making these conversations a priority, we’re able to come up with new ideas that we can implement to make Bellwether Purchasing Manager Software even more useful. And because talking to purchasing managers allows us to stay on top of what’s happening in this line of work, we thought it would be helpful to spotlight a few of the best procurement practices for the current calendar year:

The Current State of Procurement

If you’ve been in this field for awhile, you probably remember a time when your primary mandate was to keep costs low. And your secondary mandate was likely along the lines of ensuring that supply is available at all times.

While we can all agree that thinking along those lines is outdated, the reason it’s worth bringing up is to show how far this field has come. In its current state, there are over a dozen responsibilities that professionals like purchasing managers must consistently deliver.

Identifying opportunities for savings, prioritizing improvement initiatives, delivering applicable quick win savings, improving spend visibility, ensuring proper integration and improving performance management are just a few examples of what’s required of modern purchasing managers.

How Procurement Best Practices Have Evolved

Since this field has seen such significant expansion, it’s not surprising that current best practices have evolved as well. While you could fill an entire book with the procurement best practices for 2015, the key takeaway is that this department needs to function in a way that’s active instead of reactive.

For example, procurement professionals now need to have a detailed understanding of their suppliers’ business practices. Although that’s a task that can take some time to accomplish, it’s the perfect example of the type of practice that needs to be in place so that a procurement department can run at optimal efficiency.

If you want to ensure you’re following best practices because you want to maximize your productivity, be sure to take a minute to contact us at Bellwether Purchasing Software to look at all the different ways we can help you achieve that goal.

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April 23, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Can Your Company Benefit from a Procurement Approval System?

Whether you’re a purchasing manager or an employee from another department, if you’re looking at Bellwether Purchasing Software, you may have already spent enough time reading about this product to know that it’s going to improve your efficiency and productivity. However, before you can start reaping all the benefits that our Purchase Manager Software has to offer, you may need to make a case about how your company can benefit from a procurement approval system.

Since Bellwether Purchasing Software is committed to reducing stress and increasing productivity, we thought it would be helpful to put together a post that explains exactly how a company can benefit from a procurement approval system. Once you finish reading this post, feel free to use as much of it as you need to build a compelling case for how your company will benefit from utilizing Bellwether Purchase Manager Software.

Putting the Role of Procurement Into Perspective

In order to properly demonstrate the benefits of a procurement approval system, it’s important to put this practice in the right context. While procurement has evolved over time, its core is still tied to keeping purchasing costs low and ensuring that inventory remains properly stocked.

While those tasks may seem fairly straightforward, if you take a step back and look at them, it becomes clear that they impact many areas of a business. From ensuring that margins are strong to enabling a business to properly service its customers, a lot of what a business does relies on procurement.

The Benefits of a Procurement Approval System

Now that we’ve clarified why procurement is so important to a business, it’s time to explain exactly how a procurement approval system will benefit a company. Because this type of system guides the entire procurement process, it covers requisition, approval, purchase and receipt of goods.

The first reason this type of system is beneficial is because it ensures business is only done with approved suppliers. Second, it requires a valid purchase in order to obtain goods or services. Third, this type of system encourages supplier competition, which in turn can lead to more favorable pricing.

Fourth, information like confidential procurement practices are properly safeguarded. And finally, a procurement approval system not only minimizes conflicts of interest, but also provides a system for dealing with any that arise. Because a procurement approval system has so much to offer a company, the only question left to answer is how to best implement one.

The Best Way to Implement a Procurement Approval System

Utilizing Bellwether Purchasing Software is the best way to implement this type of system. Not only does our purchasing software suite make it possible to easily automate purchasing processes and eliminate paper, but it works without requiring any IT support. And because Bellwether Purchasing Software has numerous other features that make it possible to save time, it’s simply the best way to start using a procurement approval system. Contact us today to learn more.

April 22, 2015
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BY Bellwether
What’s the Difference Between Strategic and Tactical Sourcing?

At Bellwether Purchasing Software, we’re committed to improving purchasing managers’ professional quality of life. Whether that means easily automating purchasing processes or providing clear information that can easily be shared with others, we consider ourselves advocates for this field.

Since purchasing isn’t a practice that exists in a bubble, we’ve found that employees from other departments often have questions about different topics that fall within the scope of procurement. One of those topics is what’s meant by the terms strategic sourcing and tactical sourcing. Because we know from our conversations with purchasing managers that this question comes up on a regular basis, we wanted to create a resource that purchasing managers could point people to or even print out as a resource.

What is Strategic Sourcing?

Holistic, long-term and systematic are the three terms that best describe strategic sourcing. The approach to sourcing focuses on both the current and future needs of a company. One of the main focuses of strategic sourcing is having both the lowest TCO and lowest supply line risk. A big part of how strategic sourcing operates is by creating a closed loop link. Since this loop exists between the supplier and customer, it becomes possible to improve elements like delivery on an ongoing basis.

In order for strategic sourcing to be carried out in the most efficient way possible, it needs to properly address relationship management, supplier evaluation and spend analysis.

What is Tactical Sourcing?

Whereas strategic sourcing takes a longer-term outlook, tactical sourcing focuses on activity that’s transactional and short-term. Although there are some aspects of tactical sourcing that can be reactive in nature, it does take a proactive approach to ensuring that purchases are made at optimal prices, as well as that supply is available when it is needed.

This type of sourcing is most commonly found within manufacturing companies that are small to medium in size. Another area where tactical sourcing significantly differs from strategic is there’s no emphasis placed on understanding a company’s overall requirements. The same goes for really digging into what a vendor is capable of doing in terms of helping a company. Instead, most of the quick quote and order processes used in tactical sourcing are focused on providing production operations with the support it requires.

While strategic sourcing may seem like the obvious choice for a company, there are plenty of companies who have found that tactical sourcing best fits their needs. That’s why Bellwether Purchasing Software is designed to fit into a company’s workflow instead of requiring them to change all of their practices. By offering this type of flexibility, our Purchase Manager Software makes it easy to get everyone on-board and subsequently enjoy all the rewards of a properly optimized procurement process.

April 22, 2015
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BY Bellwether

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