Recent global events, including natural disasters and pandemics, proved how important it was for organizations to be prepared to support remote workers. Moreover, as people returned to the office, many preferred in-person and remote work hybrid. Either way, companies soon discovered how day-to-day operations improve with cloud automation and online procurement.
Consider the split-second decisions to make during business interruptions to ensure production moves forward, regardless of supplier shortages or delivery delays. Cloud collaboration puts real-time data at your fingertips to make critical strategic choices when they matter most. But can procurement be one hundred percent online?
What is an online procurement system?
Understanding what an online procurement system can do for your organization is the first step to streamlined operations. Basically speaking, online procurement systems enable companies to request, order, and make purchases using a closed system for optimum security. Plus, online procurement supports cloud collaboration in a secure environment.
Cloud automation provides superior flexibility and visibility - both in-office and remotely. Activities such as supplier vetting, bidding, and comparing the best terms and prices are done in real-time to coincide with global marketing conditions and production requirements. As a result, crucial decisions to keep production moving forward are made in hours rather than days or weeks.
Plus, procurement metrics are easy to measure with cloud automation. Tracking procurement metrics cuts costs, improve production, and boosts brand reputation. Metrics to consider include:
- Vetting and evaluating suppliers based on real-time data rather than outdated terms or speculation;
- Number of suppliers to ensure affordable sourcing during all market conditions;
- Understanding which suppliers are available for urgent orders at competitive prices to always stay on top of production schedules;
- Analyzing industry benchmarks to compare procurement processes and performance metrics to the industry best practices of the competition;
- Keeping track of spend under management to keep procurement and AP working together seamlessly to improve productivity and increase profits;
- Determining online procurement ROI to support strong supplier relationships, timely production, and competitive pricing.
What are the advantages of online procurement?
Organizations quickly discover the many advantages of adopting online procurement solutions, including:
- Shorter purchase cycles to eliminate late payments, build strong supplier relationships, improve production, and boost brand reputation;
- Cost savings by eliminating fees for late-payments and realizing potential discounts for early payments;
- Improved inventory control with updated online procurement data available in real-time to make critical decisions when it matters most;
- Superior visibility and transparency to instantly detect procurement issues before they become significant problems;
- Real-time updating and reporting to get the best possible terms and prices to remain competitive in all global and market conditions;
- Faster supplier vetting to ensure production moves forward without unnecessary costs or interruptions;
- Easier invoice matching when the information is verified and goes through a proper process to ensure pricing and billing is accurate;
- Support remote workers with access to important financial data from any device and location;
- Ensure compliance and eliminate procurement fraud by providing optimum security and visibility at all times.
Realizing an ROI and why
Organizations realize a measurable ROI for implementing online procurement. Consider the top procurement risks in a post-pandemic world and how collaborative cloud automation eliminates them and boosts business outcomes, such as:
- Connect processes, including procurement, finance, and AP, to improve productivity;
- Identify and optimize savings opportunities;
- Provide more accurate data for budgeting, forecasting, and decision-making;
- Control cash flow more effectively in real-time;
- Minimize procurement risks via collaboration;
- Capture and eliminate operational issues harming supplier relationships
- Achieve stakeholder goals more effectively;
- Create a single resource for accurate financial information and reporting; and
- Improve business case evaluations for more robust results.
Is procure-to-pay online possible?
Finally, is procure-to-pay online possible? Fortunately, cloud automation brings together procurement and accounts payable for the best possible results. Online procurement and AP solutions enable remote work with real-time financial updates, creating a secure collaborative environment for financial decision-making.
Partial automation leaves gaps in collaboration, leading to errors and opportunities for fraud. However, cloud automation provides the highest security and visibility to eliminate fraud and reduce costs. In addition, with streamlined operations, the entire financial team saves time, improves efficiency, and boosts productivity.
To answer the question, procure can be one hundred perfect online - and to remain competitive today, it should be. Online procurement has become a necessity rather than a luxury post-pandemic. In a world fueled by remote workers and technology, failing to adopt cloud automation could mean losing a competitive edge.