As 2021 quickly approaches, procurement teams can take the opportunity to review their purchasing goals.  An ineffectual vendor management and payment processing strategy can lead to increased risk, dark purchasing, data inaccuracies, supplier issues and a longer purchasing cycle.  Use these top 7 procurement tools for 2021 and beyond.

#1: Procurement workflow and request wizard

Procurement workflow begins with requests and leading eProcurement software offers a diverse array of request options.  Requestors can start by filling out a standard requisition form to trigger a form review process that determines if the request needs a bid process, if an existing contract can be used instead, or if a new purchase order should be cut.  Trusted source-to-contract management software also provides an intelligent request wizard.  This innovative tool helps users rapidly answer a series of dynamic questions that help determine the type of RFx required, based on organisational guidelines.  They can also decide whether they can leverage an existing contract.

Organisations can then draft the request record.  This request record can be edited, revised and reviewed throughout the contract workflow.  Next, the assigned user for budget review receives an alert to perform the budget review.  Then, additional necessary bid requirements are collected.  Finally, your organisation can get ready to formalise and enact bids.

#2: Intelligent request generation and online bid advertisement

Reliable procurement management software can help organisations to generate timely, formal, comprehensive and accurate request documents.  With the power to merge request record data fields with approved templates and clauses from an organisation’s pre-approved library, procurement teams can manage templates and oversee versions for quick document generation and the subsequent convenient document exportation into standard file formats.

After a request proposal document has been formalised, bids are ready to be announced.  They can be advertised publicly or by invite-only – straight from your procurement and contract management software platform.  Seamless integration between a bid listing service and contract management software provides a stage for healthy competition between prospective vendors.  As a result, buying organisations can obtain more value from contract awards, and vendors are easily and swiftly connected with relevant buying organisations.

The ability to automate clause management with the help of your pre-approved clause library and a user-friendly bid advertisement process can streamline record creation and vendor selection processes.

#3: A user-friendly Q&A for prospective vendors

Once you’ve drafted a request and advertised a bid, potential vendors can ask relevant questions.  Valuable question and answer tools with leading-edge procurement software can help organisations remain in sync with vendor prospects.

Question and answer due dates can be set, so prospective vendors are only permitted to submit questions in a time frame that fits the needs of the organisation advertising a bid.  Once the agreed date has passed, vendor submissions are no longer accepted by the system.

Procurement management software users can receive notifications when questions are posted and warnings regarding when due dates are drawing near.  You can also have different options for how you respond to vendor prospects.  Buying organisations can address questions one-by-one or provide a spreadsheet of answers made publicly available to vendor prospects.

#4: Simple vendor rating and scoring

Vendor scorecards and response ratings provided by reputable eProcurement software systems can support confidence in vendor selection. Control of bid rating weight lets you consider specific criteria over others when reviewing vendor responses and scoring bids.  Easy-to-understand bid tabulation reports can be used to integrate pricing and scoring line items for a quick overview of bids.

#5: Easy vendor awards

Advanced source-to-contract management software systems provide line item auctioning functionality – which helps with the enlisting of specific bids for individual items.  These tools can be quite useful for bid management processes and permit organisations to award several vendors for different aspects of a given bid.

You can emphasise certain items of a bid, provide an area for vendors to select items and deliver their expected price, and have bid specifications sent back to their system for comparison of all respondents.

Once buying organisations have completed the steps above, they are ready to award a vendor.

After the winning vendor is awarded, an email can be sent to the selected vendor via the system’s sourcing record page.  Pre-approved email templates can expedite this process.  Additionally, buying organisations can send emails to unsuccessful vendors to inform them of the successful bid and thanking them for their contribution to the process.

#6: Quick contract creation

Once the award phase detailed above is finished, your organisation can begin the contract lifecycle process.  A new record can be created within the contract management software system, or the procurement record can be synchronised with an existing contract record.  In either case, the process can be performed easily via the sourcing record page used throughout the process.

For enhanced contract record generation, contract management AI can help organisations import contracts into their system.  User-friendly data extraction functionality intelligently maps and categorises contract data.  The importation of key dates, clauses, and contract data is streamlined – giving organisations visibility and oversight to search, report, categorise and compare contracts, risk variables and risk exposure.

After a contract is created or linked, organisations can adhere to their standard contract lifecycle management procedures.

#7: A one-stop solution for better procurement

The holistic functionality detailed here can help you and your business tackle a myriad of procurement challenges, including:

  • vendor administration, task management, vendor performance analysis and contract negotiation
  • spend analysis, including budgets, contract amounts, vendor invoicing, fiscal year spend tracking and management, payment processing and purchase control
  • structuring operations such as intelligent automated contract workflow, vendor and supplier relationship management and comprehensive procurement analytics
  • meeting (and hopefully exceeding) KPIs for vendor value and supplier obligation improvement, contract benefit realisation, proper contract workflow escalation and data-driven contract management decisions.

Enjoy comprehensive procurement management

Now that you know how to tackle procurement from start to finish with a leading procurement management solution, it is time to enlist the help of a complete source-to-contract management software suite.  The solution for your unique needs is Contract Insight® from Four.

Contract Insight from Four

Contract Insight is a cloud-hosted (SaaS) or deployed (on-premise) contract management, sourcing and procurement softwaresolution.  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.