Automating contract management to boost control and transparency

By Ilija Ugrinic, Commercial Solutions Director, as seen on Supply Chain Digital

With the UK facing recession, energy supply challenges and a cost-of-living crisis, businesses of all sizes are seeking to manage and minimise disruption – and increasing interest rates and a slowing global economy are hitting mid-sized organisations particularly hard.

Many are unable to brush off huge cost hikes in their supply chains and are tasked with saving money elsewhere. A recent report found that one third of mid-level UK businesses have restructured in a bid to mitigate spiralling costs, and a further 38% intend to.

Others may be contending with cost-saving measures such as reduced budgets. So, attention must instead turn to internal practices and procedures – identifying ways to create more efficient processes through automation and the adoption of software to enable rapid benefits.

Automating procedures
With every business differing in its needs, there are multiple ways to enlist automation and improve processes throughout the Source-to-Pay (S2P) cycle – from preferred supplier models and category management, through to optimised invoicing and driving spend against contracts as part of a guided buying experience.

Automation can help organisations to drive maximum value by enabling spend visibility, and providing a strong foundation for organisations to decipher how contracts and suppliers are performing - with the potential for vast cost-savings. Manual, de-centralised processes often mean contracts are filed in different places, leading to duplicate agreements and, often, the automatic renewal of contracts. This leads to missed opportunities to renegotiate; and ultimately, a lack of visibility of spend.

Our Proactis Contract Management solution makes the monitoring of spend against supplier contracts much more controlled and transparent. The solution can automatically highlight upcoming dates and details to category managers in procurement or people requiring access in the wider organisation in an easily accessible way, reducing the man-hours that would otherwise be needed to review documents.

This not only reduces the risk of contracts expiring or automatically rolling over, but it also means valuable resource can be reallocated to other tasks that can facilitate growth and future planning.

Transparent accessibility
With the right digital tools in place to support organisations, employees should be able to access the right information at the right time, providing a more guided buying experience to the right suppliers and contracts. Proactis modular solutions can integrate with the enterprise resource planning (ERP) or finance systems, meaning there are options for both public and private sector organisations.

The rapid implementation and benefits realisation of such solutions are significant. The cost of ‘doing nothing’ can far surpass any costs associated with implementing such systems, as the number of suppliers and contracts continue to grow, compounded with a lack of visibility of spend.

By enlisting the right software partner, organisations can witness repeatable and sustainable results much more quickly than with a traditional approach to sourcing and contract management, meaning opportunities for savings are no longer missed.