Academic Institutions are often bound by tight budgets, mandates, and deadlines. As a result, innovative solutions such as procurement management software have been recommended to many schools in 2023 with the goal of helping them save time and money.
Moving into a more digital way of inventory management may be the best way to eliminate several inefficiencies in the current procure-to-pay process. These systems are not guaranteed to solve every financial problem an academic institution faces, but they can certainly help make the purchasing process a lot easier.
This article comprehensively explains what procurement software is and how it is used in supply chain management. We also cover some of the most common challenges academic institutions face in their procure-to-pay processes and a simple way to solve all their procurement problems with the best procurement software.
Keep reading to find out how you can save time and money while streamlining your procurement operations with a cloud-based solution.
What is procurement software, and why is it used?
Procurement is defined as the act of obtaining goods or services from a third party, typically for business purposes. Procurement Software is a digital tool that simplifies the purchasing process by taking all the spreadsheets, paper forms, and slow approvals that drain time and putting all purchasing needs into one accessible computer program or suite.
Also known as e-Procurement, this software automates the process of purchasing materials and maintaining an inventory of goods. The procurement software's features are useful for the following procurement tasks:
- Order management (create and track purchase orders)
- Improve transparency and relationships with suppliers
- Manage purchasing documents in one place
- Track budgets in real time and manage accounting systems effectively
- Approval routing and automation
- Unify and manage inventory at different locations
- Match invoices to items and services received
- Warehouse management (track receiving and ensure only delivered items are paid for)
- Spend analytics (gather data and analyze trends to improve profitability)
Each industry has procurement needs, and such processes require preparation, solicitation, and payment processing, all of which usually involve multiple departments within an organization. In a world where time is a valuable (and often scarce) resource, digital procurement software can significantly save time and money.
The education sector, in particular, can greatly benefit from digital procurement solutions. Budget cuts, outdated processes, and limited resources often mean that employees in educational institutions are required to do more with less. Therefore, educators are doubling as purchasing managers to save resources and have less time to focus on their teaching. A cloud-based software system that can streamline this process could be the solution to this problem.
Common challenges faced by academic institutions during the procurement process
There is no doubt that better supply chain solutions and processes are needed to cope with the fact that, in academic institutions, several departments operate simultaneously, but each has its own procurement needs. However, before problems can be solved, they need to be identified. Some of the most common procurement problems faced by education institutions are:
Tunnel-Vision Spending: According to the National Association of Educational Procurement, approximately 91% of spending goes to the top 20% of vendors. In layman’s terms, this means that educators frequently purchase from the same vendor to save time. Unfortunately, this tunnel-vision spending method implies that not enough effort is being put into the sourcing process for each procurement cycle. Simply put, the same vendor is used repeatedly when there may be one with better services and higher cost savings.
Maverick Spending: Higher education institutions and schools suffer from a lack of cohesive sourcing approval processes and purchasing processes. A staggering 38% of resources in academic institutions are reportedly purchased using pCards. By using purchasing cards, the internal organization is compromised, and expense management becomes nearly impossible to track.
Poor Collaboration: Many universities spend in institutional silos when they could be teaming up and ordering together, which can significantly reduce costs. This is probably done to save valuable time, which educators are constantly pressed for.
Lack of Skilled and Experienced Procurement Staff Members: Educators are trained to educate. When they are forced to double as purchasing managers due to budget cuts or a lack of resources, the processes may not be carried out correctly because Purchase Order processes (PO processes) and procurement are not their areas of expertise.
A Lack of Transparency: Schools, especially higher-education facilities, need to be particularly transparent in the procurement process. When crucial information is withheld, a procurement problem can be created that prevents an organization’s preferred suppliers from offering enough value to them. Transparency is essential in providing necessary insights into procurement. It helps avoid duplication of orders and other common errors. It also eliminates the opportunity for illegal activity, makes the procurement process a lot easier, and identifies opportunities to reduce costs.
How Tradogram procurement management solution can solve your procurement challenges?
Schools and higher education institutions like universities are especially susceptible to spending waste due to fragmented requisition and approval processes, low cross-departmental collaboration, and lack of transparency. With a centralized education sourcing and procurement system like Tradogram, these challenges can be eliminated.
Tradogram is a cloud-based platform that helps businesses address and solves all the challenges of end-to-end procurement mentioned above, and more. This e-procurement solution allows educators to focus their attention where it is most needed most: teaching.
Here is how educational institutions can leverage Tradogram software platform to streamline and automate every step of the procurement process.
Find the Best Supplies at the Best Prices...FAST
- With Tradograms Supplier Management tools, like the supplier evaluation scorecards, academic institutions can rest assured that they are only dealing with the best vendors. With these procurement tools, you can create a list of your approved suppliers, manage supplier performance, store their information, and communicate with them using a single software system. Categorizing and organizing your suppliers using custom categories allow you to filter the vendor database efficiently. They can be sorted using their location, type, services, and more using the sub-categories feature. Tradogram’s supplier dashboard allows suppliers to send and receive communications and documents even if they are not Tradogram members, making relationship management a lot more seamless.
- Strategic Sourcing Management features allow faculty members to negotiate with their suppliers for better prices. The white-labeled e-sourcing tools enable educators to create an effective sourcing plan for their negotiation process and send convenient RFP/ RFQ forms to one or more of their suppliers. This tool also allows for the initiation of sealed bidding processes with your vendor list, as well as the opportunity to perform a cost forecasting analysis.
- The Tradogram Budget Management tools, combined with the cost forecasting analysis tools, prevent academic institutions from falling into overspending traps. With these spend management solutions, you can create a business budget and plan your project spending. You can set and track your budgets for open projects and efficiently allocate funds from the main budget into sub-categories. Tradogram's analytics feature provides deep insights that are extremely useful when it comes to saving money and making quick, well-informed spending decisions throughout the entire purchasing process.
Combat Maverick Spending Easily
- By using Tradogram's e-procurement software, you are able to grant each of your team members permission for specific tasks within your procure-to-pay system. This means that you can decide who is allowed to purchase and who can submit a request via the cloud-based purchase order system. By utilizing a tool like this one, you can empower your team by giving each member a specified role, and it safeguards your procurement data. Each user is assigned their role according to your procurement workflow, so they are only able to see features that are specifically enabled on their accounts. Team members can be sorted into various roles, including Administrator, Requisitioner, Approver, Purchaser, Receiver, and Accounts Payable.
- Approval workflows will automatically send purchase requisition orders to decision-makers, allowing you to control the procurement process more effectively. These can be as simple or detailed as you need, and they allow you to configure hierarchy levels, approval criteria, and user exemptions. This feature also provides relevant parties with instant notifications via email, mobile, and their Tradogram account, when approval is needed so they can approve or reject accordingly.
- Manual procurement processes are highly unlikely to maximize transparency, but the Tradogram procurement management system digitalizes everything making transparency effortless. Suppose you are looking to find the best procurement tool that will provide full transparency into any requisitions and minimize the risks of the entire purchase order management process, including separate departments accidentally double-ordering. In that case, the Item Master Catalog tool can help. This feature allows you to import and organize your items on an easily accessible database. The organization features are very comprehensive and even allow you to link your online shopping carts through punch-out-enabled technology.
Eliminate Guesswork with Tradogram’s Collaboration Tools
- Tradogram’s procurement collaboration features allow you for real-time communication similar to instant messaging but much more efficient. This tool can enhance your communication and collaboration using direct messaging, note sections, and notification options. The instant messaging tool facilitates confidential information exchanges and negotiations, which are maintained on a secure database.
- Tradogram’s flexible purchase requisition system combines an unlimited number of items in a single order to achieve economies of scale. This unified procurement system is highly reliable for internal orders. It allows you to convert requisitions into purchase orders through one efficient management system. Create, approve, track, and fulfill multiple requisition orders with one convenient system.
- Contract Management Tools prevent off-contract spending by directing all orders through established purchasing protocols. This versatile contract management software solution optimizes cost control and improves contract performance. Additionally, it includes options for RFP/RFQ forms. You can also enhance contract lifecycle management by storing stand-alone agreements in the contract repository. As e-contracts (digitally created procurement contracts) synchronize timeframes, quantities, and financial amounts, they are the most effective way to manage supplier information throughout ongoing purchasing arrangements.
- Tradogram's procurement suite also comes with an integration option that allows you to integrate with today’s biggest enterprise resource planning (ERP systems), accounting, and SSO platforms to enhance your existing financial systems.
Tradogram is an award-winning procurement software that makes the entire procurement process a breeze. That is why it is trusted by a long list of academic institutions and other businesses. Even with its long list of features, it remains intuitive and extremely easy to use, so even people without extensive knowledge of technology and procurement can operate the system.
Tradogram’s mission is to use its affordable, flexible platform to take business spend management to the next level. After launching in 2014, this purchasing software has been able to help businesses throughout the world and currently has active users in over 80 countries. These users log into Tradogram daily to manage their procurement processes and the platform has become one of the top procurement software 2023.
Tradogram is shaping the future of business spend management. If you would like to be a part of that future, get in touch with us and ask about our affordable pricing offers. From basic memberships to premium and enterprise memberships, you are bound to find an option that suits your business needs and your budget.
We even allow you to try our software for free or upgrade to a premium membership for a low monthly cost. To help you get started, you can create a free account or request a live demo! With the live demonstrations, all you need to do is fill out a form, and one of Tradogram’s product experts will reach out to you to set up the demonstration.