The manual management of contracts, vendors, bids and purchase orders can prove difficult and ineffectual.  Here’s how to unlock six key eProcurement software tools for procurement prosperity.

The key to an effectual source-to-contract process

Limited visibility can leave organisations with an imperfect vendor pool.  Furthermore, an unnecessarily complicated procurement contract management system database, an inefficient sourcing platform and a contract lifecycle process prone to bottlenecks can hinder businesses from performing successful contract administration.

An effective source-to-contract management process can eradicate these issues.  By leveraging cutting-edge contract management software you can positively transform your procurement process from bid requests through vendor contract creation.  A plethora of user-friendly tools can structure and streamline virtually all e-procurement process steps.

Procurement tool #1 – procurement workflow and request wizard

Leading contract management software offers you a diversified array of request options.  Your procurement personnel can complete a standard request form that triggers a review process to determine if a bid process is necessary or if an existing contract within an organisation’s contract repository can be used.  Trusted source-to-contract management software platforms can also provide an intelligent request wizard.  Users can quickly answer a sequence of dynamic questions to determine the type of RFX to be created, as well as whether or not they can reference an existing contract instead.

After a request record is drafted, you can review and edit it during the completion of assigned workflow tasks.  After that, you can review the budget record and gather additional bid requirements to ensure you’re ready to formalise bids.

Procurement tool #2 – templated request authorship and online bid advertisement

A scalable procurement management software solution can help you produce accurate, comprehensive and timely request documents.  Through the merging of record request data with clauses from your pre-approved clause library, your procurement teams can manage multiple document versions and templates for the rapid generation of documents, and the subsequent convenient export as a standard file format.

Once a request document is formalised, you can set bids to be advertised publicly or by invite only – straight from your procurement contract management system.

The power to interchange clauses with a pre-approved clause repository and convenient bid advertisement control can significantly streamline request creation and the vendor selection process.

Procurement tool #3 – Q&A portal for prospective vendors

Once you’ve successfully written a request and advertised a bid, prospective vendors are allowed to ask relevant questions.  Helpful question and answer tools within reliable eProcurement software can help you to remain on the same page as their vendor prospects.

You can set due dates for questions and answers so that vendors are only permitted to ask questions within the window of time that best suits you.  Once the established date has passed, your system will no longer accept responses.

Users can receive system alerts when a question is submitted, as well as alerts about due dates for all questions and answers and options regarding how you answer bidders.  Questions can be answered one-by-one or on a spreadsheet that’s made public for prospective vendor consumption.

Procurement tool #4 – vendor rating and scoring

Vendor scorecards and response ratings with leading-edge eProcurement solutions can give you confidence that you select the. that the vendor most aligned with your business needs.  Bid rating weight control allows you to measure the weight of specific vendor response criteria over others when scoring bids. Easy-to-use bid tabulation reports can be leveraged to include scoring and pricing line items for fast overview of bid results.

Procurement tool #5 – easy vendor awards

Comprehensive source-to-contract management solutions provide line item auctioning functionality, which help you enlist specific bidding for individual items.  The feature can be quite beneficial for bid processes that allow organisations to award multiple vendors for separate aspects of a bid.

You can also parse out bids, meaning that you can call out certain items, proffer a space for vendors to select items and provide their expected unit price, and then send specifications sent back to your system for comparison.

Once a vendor is chosen, you can send an email to notify the successful vendor directly from the sourcing record page   This award notification process can be expedited through the use of a pre-approved email template.  Additionally, emails can be sent to unselected vendors thanking them for their response while letting them know that a different vendor has been selected.

Procurement tool #6 – fast new contract creation

After a vendor has been selected, you can embrace the contract lifecycle.  A new record can be created within the software system – or the sourcing record can be linked to an existing contract record – directly from the sourcing record page with which the organization has been working.

For the creation of a new contract record, contract management AI within procurement and contract management software allows you to import contracts into your system.  From there, you can leverage user-friendly data extraction tools that intelligently map and categorise data so that users don’t have to manually key in individual fields.  So the import of contract clauses, key dates and data input is streamlined – giving you the visibility to search, report, compare and classify legal contracts, risk and risk exposure.

Once the new contract record is created or linked, you can follow your standard contract lifecycle management process.

Solve common procurement challenges

All the above can be used to solve common procurement challenges such as:

  • Day-to-day task management involving negotiation, vendor performance management,and vendor administration
  • Spend analysis encompassing budgets, contract amounts vendor invoicing, payment processing, purchase control and fiscal year spend tracking.
  • Streamlining operations regarding contract workflow automation, improved vendor and supplier relationship management, and overall procurement analysis.
  • Meeting expectations pertaining to supplier obligation fulfilment, vendor value improvement, timely and data-driven contract management decisions, contract benefits realisation and proper contract workflow escalation for issues such as disagreements and errors.

Unlock the door to superior procurement

Now that you are privy to 6 helpful tools for streamlined, efficient, cost-effective, and comprehensive procurement management that can increase your organisation’s ROI, it’s time to enlist the aid of a source-to-contract management solution.  The solution you need is Contract Insight from Four Business Solutinons.

Contract Insight is a widely-acclaimed, web-based, and secure contract management, eProcurement, purchase requisition, and eSourcing platform that has been deemed the leading contract management solution by organizations in a variety of industries for over 25 years.

Contract Insight from Four

Contract Insight is a cloud-hosted (SaaS) or deployed (on-premise) contract management solution.  The acclaimed platform is trusted by thousands of professionals for their contract management, legal document management, procurement and sourcing needs.  Used by many Fortune 500 companies, Contract Insight gives you real time visibility into your contracts. It doesn’t just shore up your security; it will help you meet contract compliance regulations, centralise your contract management and improve your overall contract administration process.

For more information, contact John O’Brien, CEO at Four Business Solutions, global business consultants and software integrators providing business processes improvements in FinanceSupply Chain and Operations, across a broad range of industries.