Trying to manage enterprise spend is one of the biggest challenges for procurement managers and their teams. Automation can streamline the procure-to-pay (P2P) process. However, implementing new automated P2P solutions can bring a new set of challenges.
Procurement typically starts with an identification of a requirement and ends with paying the supplier. In-between is a long cycle that can easily become complex when the proper tools are not used. Automation of this process has the benefit of streamlining every part of the procurement process from generating electronic RFI’s and RFQ’s to invoices and payments. It enables procurement teams to collaborate digitally with suppliers on each transaction. One of the most attractive features is seamless data flow between an ERP system, the purchasing process, and suppliers.
Let’s take a look at five strategies you can use to make it easier to implement a new P2P solution.
Establish the Benefits of Your P2P System
Using automation is an important technological tool to use in your P2P process since it eliminates dealing with requisitions, purchase orders, and invoices manually. If you’re still using paper-based systems and antiquated software for these P2P steps, you’re only asking for further delays and errors which negatively impact your bottom line.
Automation of your P2P process can cut costs, save time and yield higher quality supplies and better supplier relationships. However, change in your systems may be met with resistance from your team and other company stakeholders.
You should expect this at first, especially if you’ve used the same procurement procedures for years. However, to bring everyone on board with this technology, you need to first show the consequences of keeping the current system. Statistics continually show that project failure is common when employees resist change.
Take time to show the benefits of using automated P2P systems and what it could do to help on an individual basis. Also, showing what it can do to help the company as a whole is essential. You can demonstrate this by showing comparison charts on how much money and time you’ll all save using automation in the procure-to-pay process.
Enlist Your Team’s Help in Implementing Automated P2P
Once you convince your entire team that automated P2P is the best solution, how do you go about implementing it in an efficient manner?
Ask your team for their input regarding their needs and the features that will make their job easier. They may have grown frustrated with the old system and will likely have ideas for ways to improve it. There are many P2P solutions on the market, though you need software that will successfully cover the entire procurement cycle for seamless data flow and that will include easy ERP integration.
Work with your team to decide when implementation should occur. Forcing your own timeline and setting unrealistic deadlines can lead to more resistance. Give your team some ownership of the implementation process, and they will be more likely to use the new system.
Executive Team Endorsement
Getting your executive team on board with the decision to switch to an automated P2P is crucial. Their leadership will be instrumental in employee buy-in of the new system.
As one of those executives, you will be accountable for bringing this technology to your organization. When you demonstrate that corporate leaders endorse the new automated procure-to-pay system, it will be more readily accepted by other departments.
Educate Your Team on the Technology Behind Automated P2P
You may face a roadblock when your team doesn’t understand how automated P2P works.
Even if you’ve shown them the benefits of the new system, your team may not fully understand how the system works and how they fit into it. Since automated P2P software is cloud-based, you’ll want to get everyone up to speed on what the cloud does and how it will improve the data they use, the quality of their work, and the decisions they make. Also, demonstrate to them how it will improve communication among the team.
Integrating the new system with your existing ERP will also make the transition easier. Make sure they understand how the new and current systems will work together.
In the illustration below you can see how ProcurePort’s P2P software fully automates the procure-to-pay process and integrates with most ERP software.
Proper Training and Support
Once the new P2P solution is in place, proper training and support are paramount to successful implementation. The new system is only as good as the employees using it. If they become frustrated, they may go back to their old systems, and you’ll be back to square one. A good training strategy will ensure everyone understands their part in the new process and how to use the new software correctly.
Finding a good automated P2P vendor that offers training should be top of mind while vetting a new system. Not all software providers offer training and even fewer provide ongoing support to answer questions quickly.
You may also be interested in: 5 Reasons Procurement Directors Resist P2P Process Automation
At ProcurePort, we offer an automated P2P solution that’s easy to implement and which will streamline the procurement process. Our Spend Management Software integrates the entire buying process across your company while fully automating your Procure-to-Pay process. Contact us to learn more about the features of our P2P software and how we can help you transition to an automated procurement solution.