Procure to Pay Automation – Top Priority for Large Enterprises

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The procurement function has gone beyond cost savings, to now being as a key lever for competitive advantage and to build resilience within enterprises. The pandemic has given enterprises significant learnings and opened them to a world of opportunities to optimize inventory, deeply engage with suppliers, reduce costs, and manage risks via transparent and automated processes.

Digital is fueling significant transformation in this process eliminating paper, accelerating cycle time to the process, and enabling faster decisions. Good supplier collaboration platforms enable superior supplier engagement, significantly improving visibility between enterprises and their suppliers and facilitating faster turnaround time. With invoice automation, enterprises can get early visibility to liabilities, eliminating risks of duplicate invoices and ensuring faster vendor invoice management (VIM) and payment.

Enterprises have witnessed anywhere between 35%-50% reduction in process cycle time while bringing down procurement costs by at least 10%,” says Srividya Kannan, Founder-Director of Avaali Solutions, a Bangalore headquartered company which has done over 120+ transformations of this nature for large enterprises.

Avaalis expertise in OpenText VIM support and upgrade helped us manage our VIM project efficiently, stay compliant, reduce downtime and keep running things smoothly,” says Rahul Yadav, Head – Digital & Technology Business Solutions – Asia Pacific & Middle East, Compass Group.

Parthasarathy S, VP-Finance & Chief Accounting and Transformation Officer, Nayara Energy, adds “At Nayara Energy, we made a definitive move from fragmented, laborious, and time-consuming accounts payable process to implement SAP Vendor Invoice Management system. The platform not only helped us improve efficiencies, enhance productivity, simplify operations, and most importantly, helped in eliminating bottlenecks. The multi-level approval approach that this platform brings ensures more control on systems and significantly improves the cycle time. The smooth and successful implementation of the platform has resulted in achieving timely closure of books and appropriate governance and records management.

Price discovery and negotiation processes consumes significant time for enterprises. What is worse, this process is also complex with little transparency when done manually. The procurement teams spend significant time in supplier negotiations, even after which they worry that money is left on the table since not everyone in the team is trained on great negotiation skills. Enterprises have therefore actively started adopting solutions like Reverse Auctions thereby bringing in full transparency in the process and reducing cost of procurement anywhere between 10% – 35%.

Says Alkane Patel, Chief Digital Officer of Bidco Africa, “As a result of this implementation, we have been able to reduce our invoice processing time significantly by 75-85%, it is now down to 1-2 days from an earlier 7-day invoice processing cycle time. We have also now achieved about 55% touchless invoice processing within 4 months of the go-live of the VIM solution. Using VIM reports, we have good visibility on the liabilities and bottlenecks, thus enabling the business and management to have better control over the whole process and faster decisions. With this solution, Avaali has implemented standardized invoice processing rules across locations, thus enabling better governance of the end-to-end process.

Srividya feels that enterprises have significant opportunity to realize benefits from digitalizing their source to pay processes. “Some of the forward-looking enterprises have started more aggressively with the source to pay automation and are moving further to leverage AI and blockchain to bring in traceability while others are most definitely automating their invoice management and supplier collaboration processes to bring down costs and improve visibility.”

The pandemic has been a wake-up call for enterprises and traditional operating models are no longer viable. Procurement leaders are ensuring that processes are digitalized to a large extent such that they auto-run, while they spend more time to build stronger supplier relationships, broad base suppliers to meet sudden demand spikes, reduce risks due to factors such as trade sanctions as well fuel innovation by working closely with business and delivering new operating models.

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