Our research has shown that over half of all purchase orders will change in their lifetime. That means that when the PO is cut, the work is often just beginning. Changes must be communicated between buyers and suppliers, and buyers must constantly update their information to keep it up-to-date. More and more, supply chain managers are seeing the value in automating their PO processes to eliminate time wasted on clerical work, ensure full visibility, and stop supplier misses before they become costly bottlenecks.
But what exactly does purchase order automation look like? What are the steps, and why should you bother? Let’s take a look.
Collaboration is Key
Buying teams and many, many manufacturers are stuck using email, phone calls, and spreadsheets to manage their purchase order. In some cases, it can take days or even weeks to properly update ERP data after a PO line changes. Once the PO is cut and sent to the supplier, that supplier sends an acknowledgment…right? Or did they? Did the buyer see the email come through? Did it get lost in the Inbox Shuffle? How long has that other one been sitting there waiting?
Collaboration is step one. Get your buyers and suppliers out of their email inboxes and into a collaboration solution that lets them communicate about each PO and line change, while providing real-time visibility into all relevant data. Long hours are your why, and collaboration lays the foundation for how to automate purchase orders.
Once your buyers and suppliers can communicate effectively, it’s time to take a proactive approach that anticipates line changes and updates your ERP automatically—thus eliminating costly delays and errors. It should also let you monitor supplier performance daily.
Being proactive is the all-important second step for how to automate purchase orders. It means taking advantage of real-time visibility to allocate resources, make accurate forecasts, and stop supplier misses.