As the role of procurement continues to increase in scope and importance across organizations, more people are looking at exactly what makes great procurement professionals. While there was a time when procurement was an afterthought for many organizations, its increased role means organizations are looking for talented individuals who can deliver the results needed to thrive. Because countless organizations simply don’t know what they should look for in a procurement professional, we want to provide some clarity by highlighting the five traits that matter most:
Contracts are crucial for enterprises. Without them, there wouldn’t be a way to cement the relationships that enterprises have with their suppliers. Given that suppliers are the source of goods and services that enterprises require to remain functional, it’s easy to understand why contracts are something that need to be taken seriously. Although contracts serve a very important function for enterprises, that doesn’t mean they’re always handled properly.
Regardless of the size of a company or its specific industry, the activities of procurement and accounts payable impact each other. Because of this link, a company’s goal should be to maximize the efficiency of both departments. Doing so has very clear benefits, especially in regards to the procure-to-pay process.
One of the best ways to reap all of those benefits is to automate procure-to-pay activities. Purchasing automation offers efficiency and speed improvements that simply aren’t possible through any other means.
Automation directly impacts procurement staff. Once automation is introduced into this environment, it provides procurement professionals with what they need to operate at a higher level of both efficiency and productivity. What’s even more appealing about those gains is they can then help to reduce the staffing costs that go along with processing orders. Instead of spending large amounts of time on basic tasks related to the purchasing process, members of this department can focus their attention on activities that create far more value.
Key Benefits of Procure-to-Pay Automation
Once procure-to-pay processes are automated, a business will notice faster cycle times. The second notable benefit of purchasing automation is increased efficiency for purchase order processing. Because an automated system takes care of routing information in the most efficient way possible, previously wasted time caused by communication inefficiencies is eliminated.
The third benefit that’s very meaningful for businesses is that procurement employees are able to process significantly more purchase orders. That benefit stems from purchasing automation directly assisting with common tasks like purchase order generation.
Another benefit that goes along with automating procurement is a reduction in supplier lead times. The clear and consistent data sharing provided by automation ensures that suppliers have everything they need to avoid delays.
Moving Towards Purchasing Automation
Once businesses learn about all of the benefits that procurement automation has to offer, they generally want to learn more about what it takes to make this transition. When this topic comes up, it’s generally a good time to review the current strategy that’s in place for managing procurement. Looking at the current state of areas like receiving and invoicing provides an opportunity to identify key areas for improvement.
The good news about purchasing automation is not only is it very beneficial, but it’s easier to implement than many companies expect. With the right purchase order software, companies can get all the features they need. From customized work flows to purchase order generation, quality purchasing software puts all the power of automation into a straightforward interface.
A purchase order (PO) plays an integral part in the purchasing process. This document lets a seller know that a buyer is ready to place a formal order. Because this document does serve as a contract between the buyer and seller, it’s important for it to include all relevant information.
It’s critical for the price to be clearly stated on the PO. Since it’s common for buyers and sellers to negotiate price, the PO needs to show the price that was agreed upon. If a purchase order doesn’t include price information, it won’t be helpful later in the event of a dispute.
In terms of areas where buyers can gain leverage for negotiating, quantity is at the top of the list. Simply put, higher quantities make sellers more willing to negotiate on price and other terms. One of the many benefits of purchasing software is it makes it easy to ensure orders are made together in maximum quantity instead of being spread out across multiple smaller orders.
Latest Ship Date
One of the most common mistakes organizations make with purchase orders is failing to negotiate a latest ship date and then putting that date on the PO. Knowing the absolute latest an order will be sent out is the only way to know when it will be available to actually put into inventory.
Terms of Sale
In addition to pricing, a well-done purchase order should cover all other relevant terms of sale. From how payment will be handled to specifying expected quality, using a purchase order to cover these details ahead of time is the best way to avoid a future dispute.
During the rush of trying to put together a purchase order, it’s easy to overlook seemingly small details like marking requirements. However, overlooking this detail can result in products getting stuck in customs. To avoid that type of delay, ensure that all required markings are specified on the purchase order.
Purchasing Software Simplifies Purchase Order Generation
There’s a lot that goes into correctly preparing a purchase order. As a result, the process of preparing one manually can take up a lot of time. For businesses that want to ensure this task is done correctly and maximize efficiency, purchase order software is the ideal option.
With the help of software, purchasing managers and anyone else involved in procurement will have everything they need at their fingertips. Not only do customized work flows make preparing and generating accurate purchase orders a breeze, but this type of software streamlines numerous other tasks like vendor research and vendor negotiations.
In recent years, purchasing departments have begun to play a more significant role within many organizations. A big driver of this shift has been the realization by companies of all sizes that purchasing can actually provide a competitive advantage. As a result of this increased significance, it’s important for companies to understand how to properly measure purchasing performance.
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:
Although the summer is already behind us, there’s still a good amount of time left in 2015. If you want to make most of the remaining months of this year, one thing to focus on is becoming the best purchasing manager possible. Because this is a role that continues to receive more attention and responsibility, you may already be feeling a substantial amount of pressure.
While there are times when pressure becomes too much, it’s something that can also be very motivating. If the amount of pressure you’re experiencing is motivating you to become the best purchasing manager you can be, we have a handful of tips that can help you work towards that goal.
Keep Things in Perspective
Even though it may sound like New Age advice, keeping the various professional obstacles you encounter in perspective can truly help your performance. Staying focused on what matters the most and finding small but meaningful ways to improve will add up to a significant change.
Stay on Top of Changes
Technology means that changes and developments across industries are moving faster than ever before. As a result, purchasing managers can benefit from carving out time each week to keep up with new issues and trends. Consistently doing this will give you a strong, strategic understanding of where your company is moving.
Make Diverse Interactions a Priority
Just as staying on top of what’s changing can be very beneficial, getting different inputs on what people truly want from procurement can help you focus your attention on the right tasks. That’s why it’s worth making a concerted effort to regularly speak with a diverse spectrum of professionals both inside and outside of the company.
Use the Best Tools Possible
If you put the three items we covered above into action, you will see a boost in your performance as a purchasing manager. But if you want to perform at your absolute best, there is one more key step that you need to take. That step is to take advantage of everything that quality purchasing software has to offer.
The reason that purchase order software can revolutionize your performance as a purchasing manager is it provides all the functionality that’s needed to supercharge procurement. Specifically, you’ll be able to easily automate any purchasing process that you want. This in turn will help eliminate the need for paper.
Instead of feeling basically helpless in regards to budget thresholds, using software means that you will have the ability to enforce approvals and put an end to maverick spending. All of this streamlining and enforcement will save you a ton of time every single week.
What’s even better is you can reap all the benefits of this type of software without needing IT support. And to top things off, you’ll be able to leverage vendor pricing through the use of historical data. The ability of our software to help purchasing managers be the best at what they do is why over 1,000 professionals like you have given it a top usability rating.
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.
The hotel industry has gone through some major changes in recent years. Not only has it had to adapt to the Internet, but it has also had to find ways to stay competitive in an environment with increasing pressure from sources other than traditional hotels.
Even though the changing landscape has presented very real challenges for hotels across the entire industry, the ones that have continued to thrive share some key characteristics. Specifically, the hotels that keep making progress are those that have embraced what technology can do for them.
Although it would be easy to only view technology in a negative light as a result of the additional competition it has created, savvy hotels have taken a different approach. Instead of trying to resist the major ripples created by technology, they’ve found the best ways to harness the technology that’s available.
Technology Can Play a Key Role in Procurement Growth and Efficiency
Since technology is having a major impact across most industries, those in procurement should take a cue from the hotel industry and take advantage of what’s available. Specifically, purchasing managers can gain a lot from using purchase order software. With help from purchasing software, procurement professionals will no longer need to stress over things like enforcing budget thresholds.
Instead, they’ll have the tools that are needed to make this process a breeze. The reality is that’s just one of numerous examples of the way that the right software can help optimize procurement activities. While this type of software is very powerful, what makes it especially compelling is that it can be used without the need for IT support. And to top things off, the cloud functionality of purchasing software means that data is easy to access, completely secure and backed up at all times.
An Important Takeaway for Salespeople and Customer Service
This isn’t an issue that’s only relevant to procurement. It’s also a topic that salespeople and customer service can learn from. For salespeople, the lesson is to keep an eye out for ways to make the lives of prospects easier. By actively looking for solutions instead of just trying to sell a product, salespeople can frame their offerings in a manner that is much more compelling to purchasing managers and other professionals within an organization.
The lesson for customer service is similar to that of salespeople. When someone calls a customer service representative, it’s generally because they have a problem that needs to be solved. Customer service professionals can get a leg up by always having their eyes open for the most efficient way to tackle problems. By being open to even better ways of doing things, members of the customer service team can make things easier for themselves and others.
Contact us today to learn more about how Bellwether Purchasing Software can assist your company in automating your purchasing processes. We offer a Free Live Demo and Free 30 Day Trial, no credit card needed.
The last thing any purchasing manager wants is for procurement disasters to blow up to the point where it’s costing the company resources and time. Although small errors and miscommunication are part of doing business, you still want to prevent major misfires that have a significant negative impact.
Even though it can be stressful to think about everything that can go wrong with tasks like vendor negotiations, thinking through this process can be a very useful exercise. By taking the time to carefully think through the purchasing process, it becomes possible to identify areas where things can go wrong. Identifying potential pitfalls in advance makes it much easier to figure out the best way to deal with them.
So in the spirt of preventing problems that can lead to major purchasing issues, let’s take a look at four ways you can proactively prevent a very bad situation:
Always Get Everything in Writing
When you’re on the phone with a vendor and you have a dozen other things on your to-do list that need to get done by the end of the day, it’s easy to speed through the conversation and assume that everything is in order. However, unless you have the exact order you discussed in writing, there’s always the possibility of something going wrong. That’s why you can save yourself a lot of headaches by getting details in writing. Even if you’re quite busy at the time, taking this action will save you from complications down the line.
Have a Policy in Place for Disputes
In a perfect world, purchasing managers would be able to go about their job without ever worrying about disputes. But because we’re in the real world, it’s important to understand that disputes may arise. The best way to minimize the negative impact of a dispute is to have a clear policy in place for resolving it. You want to know ahead of time what actions should be taken. This possible complication also shows the importance of keeping detailed records.
Prevent Things from Being Done Twice
In terms of wasting time and resources, duplicated procurement efforts are definitely a problem. One of the best ways to avoid this issue is to centralize all procurement efforts. A proven way to make that happen is by taking advantage of purchasing software. Implementing purchasing software will make it much easier for you to stay on top of purchasing activity and prevent issues like duplication from arising.
Whether it’s done deliberately or accidentally, buying items that aren’t needed may not seem like that big of a deal. However, this is an issue that can snowball and become a very real problem. To prevent that from happening, purchasing managers can enforce budget thresholds via our purchasing software.
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