Automating the procurement of services
Since the ’90s, businesses have been investing in procurement technology to develop a more strategic, holistic approach to the buying process. They’ve turned to eProcurement not only to reduce costs, maverick spend and human error, but to increase supply chain compliance and spend visibility.
Until now, however, the procurement of services has rarely been included in this automation. This has mostly been due to the lack of supplier solutions that can integrate with eProcurement systems, the complex nature of service purchasing and the fact that services aren’t always purchased through the procurement department.
But this needs to change. As more and more enterprises invest in procurement technology, suppliers are under increasing pressure to keep up. There’s a growing demand for them to connect not only their product offering to their customers’ eProcurement systems but their service quotations too. Suppliers have traditionally relied on face-to-face meetings, briefs and proposals – leaving the buyers to upload all of the detail into the procurement system, a process which isn’t sustainable as businesses strive to become more efficient.
To keep ahead and competitive in an already complex market, it’s time for a new approach. To help, we’ve pinned down 3 signs that show you’re ready to automate the procurement of services.
1. You’re looking to increase the volume of spend handled by your eProcurement system
You’ve successfully implemented an eProcurement system, such as P2P, and have been enjoying the benefits of automating certain categories of spend. However, you’ve found a limit to which categories can be automated and you’d really like to expand this capability to include your company’s expenditure on services.
By fully digitising/automating your procurement process, you’ll be able to capture spend on complex services such as maintenance and repairs (MRO), software development, technical services, travel, marketing event agencies, and print and media – and achieve 100% compliance.
You’ve been set an ambitious target of increasing the percentage of automated purchase requisitions in your eProcurement system but have noticed certain categories of spend that are entirely untouched, many of which are services. You do some research into why your services suppliers haven’t been onboarded to the P2P system and realise there’s a complexity around quotation processes that makes this difficult, leading us to point 2.
2. Your suppliers don’t have access to a solution that can connect their existing quote-building tool to your eProcurement system
It might even be the case that your suppliers have no technology at all. Which means all of your services purchasing – including everything from software development to contractor, legal and agency spend – is liable to be out of your visibility and control. And as a category that keeps on growing, it’s becoming ever more pressing for services suppliers to get connected to your eProcurement solution.
Aside from putting a stop to the problems associated with the manual processing of supplier quotations, the connectivity of new tech solutions can help you to strategically source new suppliers, nurture better relationships across the supply chain, and get better results.
You have an MRO contractor based near one of your factories. This supplier is extremely low tech with no day-to-day need for technology and doesn’t have the cash or expertise to build or buy a solution that can integrate with your P2P solution. Because of this, the entire quotation process from quote right the way through to approval is completed manually. It’s not until the buyer then manually enters the PO information into your P2P system that there is any central visibility of the work, leading to point 3.
3. You need to gain a deeper understanding of what’s being spent and when
When you create an order, the process to do so doesn’t always produce accurate data – making it extremely difficult to extract actionable spend analytics. This is because as a buyer, you’ll typically enter one line of text into your P2P system to explain an entire quotation. When the PO goes to approval, quotes are being approved on the basis of this very limited line of information – meaning there’s no line-item detail and no visibility of cost breakdowns.
One of your marketing buyers is working under a ‘blanket PO’ with the agency producing your TV ad. The blanket PO covers the total cost and a brief description of the project, but not individual details such as the number of production and production assistant hours, the number of video editing hours, travel expenses to and from location, and any additional costs for talent. When the buyer enters this information into your P2P system, they only write ‘TV ad for summer cosmetic promotion’, leaving out the breakdown of items mentioned above. Without this data, spend analysis is very difficult and can be inaccurate.
If you recognise any of these signs in your own enterprise, you’re ready to automate the procurement of services. So how do you go about it?
G-Quotes, our new online quote-building tool, will do the work for you. It connects service suppliers to your eProcurement system to help you automate the purchasing of services.
G-Quotes enhances the investment you’ve already made (or are thinking of making!) in eProcurement technology, specifically so when integrated with a P2P or ERP system. It’s easy, intuitive and only approved suppliers can provide quotations, so you’ll save time and money. And because we provide a quote building tool to suppliers, you’ll benefit from an end-to-end solution for services procurement.
Here’s how G-Quotes helps you automatically convert supplier quotations into purchase requisitions in your eProcurement system:
Connect G-Quotes to your eProcurement solution using an API or PunchOut connection and invite all of your service suppliers to subscribe.
Your suppliers will have their own low-cost and commitment-free account, where they can build, send and manage their quotes – all with ease.
Supplier quotes are sent directly to your eProcurement system for approval, where a purchase requisition will be raised automatically.
Go ahead and lock down auditable, approved rate cards and negotiated pricing.
If you’re ready to fully automate your services procurement and achieve total compliance, G-Quotes will connect you to your suppliers, help you catalogue even the most complex categories and eliminate maverick spend.
Contact us today to find out just how easy it is to automate services procurement with our online quote-building tool.