We all know that purchase ordering efficiency is critical to maintaining an optimized, effective supply chain – even if it’s something we dread dealing with at times. With IoT and AI integration via modern, multi-faceted workflow solutions such as our own at Tradogram, the potential for value-added and improved procurement is huge.
Now, just how do we go about getting the most out of your purchase order management system, especially if we’ve been around the block and know the fundamentals? That’s what we’ll work on addressing today. Let’s explore several best practices that could end up making a tremendous difference, including whether machine learning really is the answer.
Here are 5 best practices to keep in mind:
1. Revisit the Essentials of the Purchase Order Approval Process
Even the masters always revisit their starting points at one time or another. It does one good to brush up on the basics – don’t feel silly about taking a step back to simplify your process and revisit the fundamentals of purchase order procedures! Take the time to move the clutter aside and revisit how to raise a purchase order, meaning no extra steps that can otherwise complicate matters.
For instance, always double-check that your auto-population credentials are accurate and updated accordingly. Next, select the correct supplier and fill in the site details with their address. Entering a brief description, should the field be available, can also be handy when searching for orders later. Afterward, ensure the order status and total are updated accurately.
On the topic of steps to follow, just how many types of purchase orders are there? If you’re unsure, definitely be sure to revisit the common varieties and differentiate their unique functions; they’re not all the same. For instance, non-recurring purchases typically are allocated to a standard purchase order, while contract purchase orders are used to act as a ruleset of sorts to which future POs for the same vendor need to adhere.
It’s incredible how many times we’ve seen these basics overlooked, so always be proactive. In many ways, learning how to raise a purchase order is much like writing a compelling resume – you don’t want to make a bad impression!
2. Automate and Modernize Your Purchase Order Management Processes
Let’s first tackle automation, and yes, it’s a critical aspect of modernizing your PO strategy that shouldn’t be put on the back burner. This is true no matter which industry you operate in, as demonstrated by the success stories our customers have seen across a variety of applications. It’s not the only trick you can implement either, however, so don’t stop there. With that said, if you haven’t adopted automated purchase ordering processes to streamline operations and make them easier to manage, you’re missing out on a reduced risk of human error that enables for more breathing room – that means more time to focus on specific processes to identify where there’s room for improvement.
Centralizing such a system is also easier than ever thanks to seamless integration with your existing purchasing software. State-of-the-art AI algorithms can actively monitor and analyze not only your overall purchase ordering procurement strategy but also the specific data points of each order itself. This data can quickly be pulled up and checked for inaccuracies, and it also enables for improved efficiency in terms of supply chain cost control with a clearer understanding of your expenses; it’s incredible what a difference having those numbers at a glance can do.
The short and sweet of it? Well, from procurement to payment, opting for an automation-bolstered system paired with secure cloud integration takes a whole lot of busywork and room for error out of the equation.
3. Trust Your Purchase Order Management System Before Committing to Spend
Part of incorporating a purchase order management system that works – and mastering the process of doing so – is knowing that you can count on it. Being confident about the numbers and knowing that they make sense only happens when you’re fully aware of where the spend is committed to – in other words, you can’t improve visibility without a dependable system. Having a flexible, adaptive solution in place that scales with your business can help in this regard. Should you achieve 100-percent pre-approved spend, then nothing has the chance to slip through the cracks, even after more vendor connections are established.
Therefore, always be diligent about not only which system you decide to implement, but also how your team can utilize it. You don’t want something fancy – you need something practical. For the best results, find software that utilizes a clutter-free design, supports multi-integration for easy access and use, enables for improved collaboration amongst your team members, and instills a sense of trust in the information you’re utilizing as a part of the procurement process.
4. Improve Vendor Trust and, in Turn, Your Purchase Order Approval Process
The purchase order approval process is no joke; vendors have plenty at stake as well. With that said, we obviously all strive for a crystal-clear picture of our inventory and supply chains. However, that’s not always easy to obtain, especially when there are so many moving pieces to manage. Again, an automated purchase order management system can assist by decluttering operations and making finding critical data simpler than ever. Plus, when some order recipients are more selective than others, knowing how to raise a purchase order effectively is a must.
Maintaining end-to-end transparency via a paperless, adaptive solution utilizing machine learning is the best course of action; you’ll become more confident in your established system, employees will have an easier go at implementing various steps of the procurement process, and vendors will consider your purchase orders with more interest if the numbers make sense.
5. Be Accountable: Brush Up on Legal Implications of a Purchase Order
The most successful purchase order management system is one that can adjust to legal requirements on the fly, helping you maintain compliance with each order sent out. This is critical for vendor agreements in governmental, manufacturing, and many other sectors depending on the vendor in question, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you’re not familiar with the legal implications of purchase orders you’re working on, now is the time to set everything aside and brush upon them. Always be certain that prices are mutually agreed upon in writing, protecting against charge fluctuations, and establish any other binding terms relevant to your transaction. With the right technology and a digital paper trail of data that can’t get physically left behind or buried, it’s never been easier to ensure both sides stick to their end of the agreement. Plus, it’s data is useful in tracking inventory, spend allocation, forming data-informed strategies, and more.
Interested in learning additional best practices? Learn tips to prepare for the future of supply chain management?
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Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned supply chain pro or a small start-up, there’s always room for improvement and optimization, from understanding the purchase order approval process refinement to making informed decisions based on the legal implications of purchase orders themselves. If you’re ready to get the most out of your company for less, contact our team at Tradogram today. We’re happy to help!