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The process of obtaining new products and services involves numerous steps that cross multiple departments, from identifying the need for a particular product or service, to finding the right supplier, initiating the order and delivery process, and making sure all invoices are approved, paid, and stored in the right system of record. As a result, it can be easy for this process to stall or become bottlenecked at some point in the process. This can cause lengthy delays that can ultimately lose the company a great deal of time and money. Procurement has traditionally been difficult to automate since the process involves multiple users and systems, but low-code business applications are increasingly being used to automate more complex business workflows, such as procurement or quote to cash. Here are five reasons to look into using business apps to automate your procurement process:
Streamlined procurement form creation process
Business apps make it possible to build customizable procurement forms online, including procurement requests, purchase orders, contracts, invoices and more, with little to no code. Some apps come with out-of-the-box integration capabilities that make it easy to bring together information hosted in multiple systems from one, centralized access point. This gives you the information you need without having to navigate through multiple systems to get it, speeding up the time needed to create each form. The forms can then be tied to your procurement workflow solution, ensuring that the information is delivered to the right parties, at the right time.
Reduced manual, paper-based errors
Going ‘paperless’ can also help you reduce errors commonly caused by manual processes. When working with printed documents, there is always a greater chance of documents getting lost in the process. There is also no way to set up automated alerts that remind the involved parties to review, approve or sign a particular document, making it tough to stick to deadlines and keep the process moving. Storing information online is often more secure than storing it manually as well, with many systems providing security parameters that allow you to limit who has access to any given information. Business apps allow you to store your forms online in whatever system you choose, while still being able to access that information, as the need arises, from one location.
Reduced cycle times
Automating the full procurement cycle can significantly reduce cycle times by keeping the process moving and making approvals as simple as a click of a button within an email. Some business apps come with escalation features that send alerts or reroute a task if isn’t completed within a designated timeframe, to ensure that the process doesn’t stall just because someone is sick or on vacation.
Increased overall process visibility
With so many steps involved in the procurement process, the task of overseeing all the steps involved in the process can be challenging. Look for business apps with management dashboards that give you a view of all the processes you manage in one interface. Similarly, custom reporting capabilities can help you maintain visibility into all steps of the process, from the users involved to the time it takes each user to complete any given step in the workflow.
Increased control of expenditures
With manual processes, it can be difficult to make sure every purchase order is approved by the right parties before a purchase is made. When building a business app to automate this process, however, business rules can be added to ensure both the goods and the amount being spent are approved by the right people. It is even possible to add levels of approval, such as a purchase order being sent to a second or third approver if the expenditure is over a certain dollar amount. In addition, some business applications have auditing capabilities that help you keep track of what money is being spent on what, which will help you stay in compliance and have the information you need to make the right purchasing decisions in the future.
Work smarter, build faster
K2 makes it easy to build your procurement solution to fit your company’s needs through no-code visual tools that allow you build and deploy applications in minutes or hours instead of weeks and months, so you can start seeing immediate benefits. Once your procurement solution is up and running, leverage your investment to automate other business processes, such as employee onboarding, expense claims, travel authorizations, and case management and compliance. Your business, your way. With K2, the possibilities are endless.
Check out this upcoming live webinar on April 15, 2015 to see just how easily you can build out a procurement app for your business. For more information on automating procurement or other business processes, visit K2.com.