Purchasing teams can find it challenging to maintain clear communication and manage purchase orders using mostly disparate and manual processes – such as paper-based filing systems, phone calls, emails, and spreadsheets.  Without a streamlined electronic process with end-to-end purchase order management oversight, purchasing strategies can be hijacked by unnecessary workflow bottlenecks which undermine productivity and frustrate purchasing teams.  Leading purchase order management software can streamline the purchasing process, expedite and improve purchase order workflow, and offer full asset lifecycle management with holistic oversight.

Executive summary

From communicating with vendors to ensuring contractual compliance after placing a purchase order, purchasing and procurement professionals carry a tremendous responsibility within their department and their organisation.  Without a streamlined and centralised electronic purchase order management software system, unnecessary purchase order management bottlenecks decrease the bottom line, foster miscommunication and increase error-filled purchase orders.  The following offers a blueprint for purchase order management tools and best practices. When integrated with a leading purchase order management software, it can empower purchasers to streamline purchase requests, attain optimal asset oversight, track assets effectively, optimise fulfillment and electronically integrate their contract processes.

Purchase order requests

Purchase order requests can be delayed by phone hold times, email response times and other manual process inefficiencies.  Purchase order managers cannot waste time and resources with such delays, especially with the need to replenish assets under tight deadlines.

Fortunately, purchase order management teams can leverage purchase order software to streamline purchase order creations and requests from pre-approved templates, automate tracking of order amounts against contract budgets, reduce data entry and consolidate purchase orders.  Purchase management software enables interaction with third-party vendors through a vendor collaboration portal that centralises RFPs, RFQs, RFIs, bid advertisements, bid awards, configurable vendor response ratings and scorecards,and bid communications with the ability to attach virtually unlimited documents and integrate emails.

Asset transparency for purchase orders

Pulling asset data from various platforms, including paper-based files and spreadsheets, can significantly delay the purchase order.  Without centralising order details, pertinent asset information can be overlooked and delay anticipated purchase orders.

A centralised purchase order management dashboard can provide a holistic view of orders and their location.  Plus it can enable easy viewing of request details including requestors, statuses, vendors and line items.  Purchase order management software can also provide risk visualisation by rating vendors against compliance standards. As a result, organisations achieve greater risk transparency.

Asset tracking for purchase orders

Tracking asset levels can be challenging when relying on antiquated processes that incur the risk of human error – such as spreadsheet data entry and non-trackable communications.  Purchasing professionals can’t run the risk of ordering surpluses, which unnecessarily consume valuable space, or failing to order assets in need of replenishment.

Luckily, an electronic purchase order management software suite can track assets received, dates, quantities, shrinkage and locations.  Procurement teams can more efficiently track assets within their organisation and virtually eliminate purchase order miscommunication with unparalleled asset oversight – while confidently managing their inventory and significantly reducing unnecessary purchases.

Purchase order fulfilment management

Fulfilling orders can be challenging with limited visibility.  If purchasers are not careful, they can place surplus orders – causing surplus assets to fill unwarranted yet valuable space.  Purchase order managers hold an immense responsibility to fulfil orders that are both cost-effective and space-conscious, while facilitating optimal fulfilment and transparency within their teams to avoid purchase order errors.

Acentralised purchase order management software with assigned user permissions enables visibility for all fulfilment team-members.  Purchasing professionals can receive one-line-items completely or partial orders.  A centralised purchase order software means that users can view assets on PO, last PO creation dates and quantities received, so that purchase orders are received expeditiously. Purchasing teams can swiftly receive purchase orders with tracked names and times.

Purchase order approval routing

When it comes to purchase order approvals, emails and other manual methods can create miscommunication and confusion amongst the purchasing team.  Additionally, team members can be distracted by being needlessly involved in extraneous approval processes.

Fortunately, purchase order management software can segment purchase order approvers based on rules-based permissions.  For instance, if a purchase order is more than £30,000, final approval may be routed to the vice president, and if a purchase is less than £30,000, final approval may be routed to the department director.

Additionally, leading-edge purchase order solutions enable streamlined purchasing and fulfilment by integrating with third-party websites through advanced vendor punchout software functionality.  For instance, if an office manager regularly purchases office supplies from a third-party website, they can be pre-approved to quickly order assets, which can then be recorded within the PO software database.  In such instances, the receipts can be attached to the PO record, and items can be catalogued for future orders.

Purchase orders and contract integration

When coordinating the contractual elements separately from the initial purchase order request with manual methods – such as sending scanned documents via email and mailing paper-based documents with wet signatures – purchase order professionals can be frustrated with order delays and vendor miscommunication.

Purchase management software can solve these issues by allowing contract creation directly from the PO request, which can centralise the contractual process.  Centralised purchase order management software can streamline the contract processes by enabling contract request submissions, reviewing approvals, collaborating, negotiating, signing with eSignatures, and maintaining compliance until their contract is ready for renewal – all in one centralised dashboard. 

With contractual integration, purchasing teams can virtually ensure that their vendors and assets comply with their budget and pre-approved expectations until their purchase order contract is up for renewal – in which case the software can notify them and identify areas of contractual performance improvement to maximise ROI.

Powerful purchasing with Contract Insight® from Four

Streamline your purchasing process with a leading end-to-end purchase order management software platform.  Powerful purchasing with holistic purchasing and contract lifecycle management oversight begins with Contract Insight from Four.

This trusted, award-winning, fully integrated purchase order management software streamlines the purchasing process with optimal governance, reduced friction, and high flexibility from purchase requisition to post-award contract management.  A user-friendly, robust, and scalable solution seamlessly integrates with mission-critical applications for unified and seamless purchase order management, asset sourcing, vendor management, supply chain contract management and more.

 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 Finance, Supply Chain and Operations, across a broad range of industries.

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