Hyper-automation in Procurement
Advancements in technology and continual innovation have revolutionized procurement functions. Cognitive and self-learning machines are now able to perform more complex tasks.
At the same time, routine and repetitive activities are being transformed through technologies such as RPA (Robotic Process Automation).
That’s not where it ends.
RPA is being fused with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities. This has changed the way high-volume, repetitive, error-prone middle and back-office procurement processes are implemented. Human actions and interactions with the procurement system are being replicated by bots to ensure minimal human intervention and increased output.
Many progressive businesses are taking advantage of intelligent technologies, and realizing their goals of improved efficiencies and accelerated growth. Intelligent automation, after all, is the future.
Going forward, procurement tasks will be driven by virtual workers and bots powered by RPA and AI, resulting in intelligent automation of processes. This will allow the organization’s thinktanks to focus better on strategizing and decision-making. Roles throughout the procurement function will undergo a major transformation, with emphasis on upskilling and restructuring procurement teams. Skillsets will need to be agile so they can be redeployed across the new digital landscape.
IPA (Intelligent Process Automation) plays a crucial role in virtualized procurement operations. It sharpens RPA by bringing human-made recommendations into the picture. The recommendations are usually in the form algorithms that allow AI-based processes to learn and make smart decisions. In procurement, IPA can be leveraged in several areas as long as they involve performing the same repeatable, rule-based steps. Some examples include:
1. Processing Procurement Requests
Processing procurement requests and purchase orders manually often leads to errors and delays. IPA-powered bots change this by streamlining this process, and completing it faster and more accurately. Upon receiving the purchase requests, bots implement the workflow by analyzing the request, getting the necessary approvals, and raising the process order.
2. Managing Work Orders
IPA-led bots simplify tasks such as tracing customers’ requests and completing work orders. Businesses can, therefore, avoid losses and increase revenue. When a work order is created and allocated, RPA bots notify the concerned staff. Further, when a work order is closed, bots update the clients about its status.
3. Inventory Management
Every business, regardless of its sector, needs to ensure that it maintains optimal inventory levels to fulfil customer demands. Intelligent bots make this easier by constantly monitoring inventory. Business teams are notified and updated in real-time as soon as the inventory levels change. This, in turn, enables procurement teams to assess the current needs and forecast for the future.
4. Integrating with COTS Deployment
COTS (Commercial off-the-shelf) products are capable of interoperating with existing system components. However, mitigating the effects of wholesale software upgrades can be difficult. Bots are ideal for this task since it is a high-volume, repetitive activity.
5. End-to End Management of Demand and Supply
Planning Bots can effectively eliminate inter-departmental silos and perform in a more centralized manner. Tasks such as managing procurements, warehousing, inventorying, and shipping can, therefore, be handled seamlessly.
Where Does IPA in Procurement Make Sense?
To make the most of intelligent automation in the procurement process chain, it is imperative to determine the areas where IPA can make a considerable difference. Chief among them are:
1. Processes with scope for significant cost savings
2. Processes that prove that the benefits derived greatly outweigh the costs
3. Processes are show potential for easy automation
That said, processes where IPA implementation is difficult or costly can be avoided.
Consider the requisition-to-PO (purchase order) process as an example. Automating it typically involves navigating several roadblocks, such as manual process, risk of human errors, and dated legacy systems. Employees are routinely required to work with unstructured gathered from purchase orders, emails, agreements, and so on. Processing this data manually can lead to tremendous productivity loss and increased expenses.
Further, the risk of the data getting lost, misinterpreted, or misused cannot be denied. The requisition-to-PO process also involves a complex approval hierarchy. Errors can lead to delays, holdbacks, and poor overall customer and stakeholder experiences. On top of that, outdated legacy systems can bring about information silos, lack of visibility, poor data management, and other complexities. While it becomes difficult to gain insightful analytics, the risk of cyberattacks and fraud also looms large.
IPA: The Key to an Improved Procurement Process
Procurement systems are benefitting greatly from the intelligent automation of repeatable tasks. They are gaining real-time data, insights, and analytics, and making informed decisions that help enhance processes. Further, IPA has been instrumental in facilitating enhanced collaboration between buyers and suppliers.
Apart from processing large amount of data, AI-fueled automation is helpful in facilitating the following:
• Enhanced decision making through data-backed insights and real-time analytics
• More accurate identification of new opportunities
• Automation of routine, manual, time-consuming, and repetitive tasks, allowing employees to focus on profit-generating tasks
• Better organization of procurement processes even with remote workforce
• Gather, extract, analyze, and interpret structured as well as unstructured data from multiple sources, without human intervention
• Speed up cycle times. Requisitions can be automatically created and directed towards approvers, buyers, and suppliers without delays
• Scale to meet demand for unhindered operations
• Elimination of data and process silos to offer enhanced collaboration and greater visibility
• Use of relevant data to effectively manage vendor and supplier relationships
• Meet customer expectations swiftly
Overall, IPA is gradually transforming procurement into a strategic activity that drives business success.
How Hyper-Botz Can Help You
The only way to create a seamless digital procurement environment that is fast, agile, and efficient is by making it more intelligent. Businesses are increasingly integrating IPA into their procurement chain and driving value. In the process, they’re making the most of the risk management capabilities, compliance adherence, and transparent processes.
At Hyper-Botz, we realize that transitioning to digital procurement requires the harmonious integration of data, technology, skills, new processes, and intuitive user experiences. Our aim is to enable this for your procurement division, allowing your business to thrive. Our experts treat data as the foundation that enables procurement functions such as forecasting, inventorying, identifying suppliers, and managing transactions as well as payments.
We will, therefore, help you harness relevant and smart insights from various sources of information, such as purchase data, contracts, approvals, requisitions, payments and pricing, invoices, purchase orders, compliance, and others. We are adept at employing the right technologies to make sense of unstructured data and automating tasks and procedures, while supporting analytics.
We harness structured data, like commodity codes, SKU number, supplier details for streamlining rule-based processing that can be automated. This, in turn, enhances efficiency. We will empower you to deliver intuitive user experiences that delight end-users. Positive user experiences are crucial to ensuring that the procurement team makes the most of modern technology.
Our team will equip you with a platform that serves as the single source of factual information that presents data in real-time, with transparency, to every user, to perform the necessary actions.
The experts at Hyper-Botz understand that digital procurement should be designed to enhance outcomes. Enabling a cohesive journey may involve the formulation of a new operating model and processes. To support this, our IPA platform will serve as an enabler of flawless collaboration between your procurement team and suppliers. We will ensure that all stakeholders involved are well-aware of their new roles and responsibilities. With our assistance, all parties in the procurement chain will be able to access data-driven insights and make educated decisions.