Over the last two decades, procurement automation technologies and supply chain management solutions have transformed supply chain and gained awareness and relevance within the organization and the market. These supply chain management technologies have automated several processes like sourcing, procuring and invoicing with various new-age automation technologies such as procure-to-pay, source-to-settle processes, e-procurement, contract management etc. Automation in procurement has enabled supply chain professionals to focus on tasks that add value to the process, shortened process cycles and enhance efficiency. The widespread acceptance of big data across organizations is crucial to understanding the factors that drive procurement automation. With data accessibility and availability, chief procurement officers (CPOs) can forecast trends, identify potential risk factors and mitigate them.
Automation at Every Step in the Supply Chain
Procurement automation has been adopted at several levels throughout the supply chain to drive effectiveness and achieve greater efficiency. Automation in procurement helps management to identify cost savings opportunities and thereby drive profitability. Organizations can streamline processes, free up employee time and dedicate their human resources to critical business areas by automating procurement activities. At this point in the supply chain, the following are the various ways in which organizations from around the world have embraced procurement automation,
- Source to settle often termed as a requisition-to-check, is a complex process that involves activities right from requisitioning goods and services to invoice and payment, thereby enabling an end-to-end integration of procurement and sourcing
- Creating a smart supply chain by integrating Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotic Process Automation (RPS) technologies such as sensors, leads to improved functioning and operation of the value chain, thereby improving customer service and vendor negotiations
- Spend analysis and benchmarking allows companies to collect, classify, and analyze their supplier spend data, obtain actionable insights on their buying data and related spend activities
- E-Sourcing and e-procurement helps procurement to automate sourcing, requisition and invoice process
- Contract management focuses on automating the vendor contracting process and activities related to contract execution, thereby improving contact visibility and benefiting the supply chain as a whole
Organizations have realized the multiple benefits of enabling procurement automation, but degree of technology adoption in the global supply chains is still at a very basic level. Nevertheless, the advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) will help companies bridge the gap and facilitate a smooth transition and acceptance of automation in procurement.
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