Supply chain challenges can crop up in many places, but our research has found that over 70% of all problems originate before parts are shipped from the supplier. Any issues that arise can easily be compounded by the long email work that buyers and suppliers must use in order to execute even the most basic tasks like processing purchase orders. For most companies, the PO process is long, tedious, and error-prone. That’s why in 2023 and beyond, manufacturers, retailers, and distributors are turning to purchase order automation software to simplify their daily work, provide visibility to all stakeholders, and cut the enormous costs tied to operational inefficiencies.
The Challenges of Manual Purchase Order Processing
Under normal circumstances, you can expect about half of all PO lines to change in their lifecycle. When that happens, buyers must be ready to act quickly to adjust forecasts and allocate short term resources to manage the change before it leads to a bottleneck on the company’s end. Sometimes a supplier might be out of stock on one part, which can lead to delays or partial shipments. But that’s not the only potential cause. Here are a few things a buyer might hear from a supplier:
“I lost the PO.”
“I forgot to ship.”
“I didn’t see your email in time to expedite the shipment.”
“Your PO email went to spam.”
When these challenges arise, buyers must either wait until they see an email from the supplier (or did that email go to the buyer’s spam?), or set manual reminders to follow up and get an acknowledgment. Reminders, emails, inboxes…sticky notes?? These are just not the tools of a modern buyer seeking efficiency, better supplier performance, and cost savings. To truly move the needle, you must adopt a purchase order automation software.
To cut costs and improve performance, adopt a purchase order automation software.
Digitizing and automating your buyers’ purchase order processes has many benefits. Automation allows buying teams to respond immediately to PO changes, it fosters accountability for both buyers and suppliers, and data errors are virtually eliminated. Efficiency is greatly improved, with buyers seeing their clerical workloads reduced by dozens of hours per week.
With real-time updates from suppliers and visibility into PO line changes, buyers can now think and work strategically to improve supplier performance and ensure every needed part is available just in time. They can ping suppliers within the solution to ask for acknowledgments.. Data updates are automatically written into their ERP, so they have certainty that their decisions are based on sound information. Approval bottlenecks are virtually eliminated, and hours of data entry are eliminated.
The Future is Automated
When POs are automated, scale is much more accessible, time and money are saved, errors eliminated, and risk mitigated. To grow your business in the years to come, it will be critical to get your purchasing teams out of their long clerical work and into processes that are more streamlined and efficient. Purchase order automation software is a necessary component as you look to move your teams into the future.