World-Class Spend Control: Taking Action (Part 4)

Charlotte Sutton
Charlotte Sutton,
Following on from our previous blog posts in this series, now let’s outline some of the high-level capabilities required for the underlying spend control framework.
Starting with Sourcing… you will need:
  • A systematic way to engage with suppliers online
  • Handle all types of sourcing requests: RFxs, reverse auctions; framework agreements & complex tenders, procurement-assisted events etc.
  • The sophistication to handle the most complex solicitation project with a simple user experience that guides even the occasional user through the process
Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)
  • Structure and streamline the entire supplier life cycle – from supplier recruitment, through qualification, on-boarding, and performance appraisal
  • To make supplier information readily available by consolidating it into a central supplier directory
  • Reduce workload by providing suppliers controlled access to maintain their own company information and catalog and to view current account status without needing to inquire.
Content Management 
  • Provide improved visibility and control of contracts
  • A central electronic repository for all types of supplier contracts, with links to the P2P system to make them visible to buyers
  • Automatically collect purchase & delivery activity
  • Continually monitor contract dates and other criteria, alerting people when review or actions are needed.
Catalog Management
  • Maintenance & publishing tools enable the incorporation of new supplier catalogs and updates
  • Supplier self-service maintenance to make it easy to upload but without losing control
  • For buyers, extensive search capabilities to make it easy for staff to find, compare and select exactly what they need
  • Ensure catalog items & prices are in sync with current contracts
On the Purchase-to-Pay (P2P) side… Purchasing:
  • Simplify the purchasing process for staff so they can find exactly what they need while following established policies and procedures
  • Easy access to electronic catalogs and “punch out” to websites for direct purchases, as well as streamlined submission & full visibility of purchase requests
  • Provides managers with easy approval capabilities as well as info to support budget decisions
  • Purchasing with history for spend analysis and better supplier negotiations
Downstream in Accounts Payable
  • Turn all paper invoices into electronic records that can be processed in an automated fashion
  • Provide eInvoicing methods from suppliers using EDI, XML, PDF, Excel, Self-billing or PO flip.
  • Manage exceptions with automated workflow-driven communication to accelerate troubleshooting
  • Handle PCard statements in addition to all forms of PO and non-PO invoices.
These are the basic underlying eProcurement building blocks.

Even if you are doing all this well, the chances are there are still some way to go for “utopia”. The challenge in truth is to pick your next battle, keep up momentum with all stakeholders and to put in place a program of small but perfectly formed initiatives to progress.

Why not check out our online self-assessments to gauge the health of your current spend control processes?