Not all e-procurement software is created the same. Some are clearly better than others. When searching for new software, naturally you’re going to want the best. But what does that mean? The truth is, that answer is different for every organization, but there are some key features that everyone needs and you should never, ever compromise on.
A great procurement platform will give you 100% visibility, eliminate rogue spending and tighten your bottom line. All of these results are made possible by the features included in your spend management solution.
Here’s the Features Your E-Procurement Software Should Have:
An Easy-to-Use Interface
Time is money, and if you’re spending copious amounts of time trying to figure out how to even use your e-procurement software, you’re going to be losing a lot of money. Not to mention the money you’ll be losing at various points in your procurement process. End user training for your e-procurement software should take an hour at most, and using it should be as easy as sending an email. If it’s not, then it’s time to upgrade to another solution.
A lot of companies have options for integrating their system with another ERP, but for the most part, these are semi-manual, complicated, and expensive. Your e-procurement software should have seamless, real-time integrations right at your fingertips. E-procurement software that talks directly to your accounting system, automatically and in real-time, speeds up the procurement process. Not only that, but your ERP should talk back—giving your e-procurement software important data like budgets—so you don’t have to give your users access to the accounting system to get the data they need.
Flexible, Fast Deployment
With some procurement suites, initial setup and implementation can take months or even years. It shouldn’t take that long to implement your program. Your e-procurement software should be ready to go in less than a month. It should also be available on web or mobile devices, so you can access your data anywhere, anytime. Your e-procurement software should be flexible enough to meet the exact needs of your organization—not the other way around.
Approval workflows is an area where a lot of e-procurement platforms fall flat. Creating custom workflows shouldn’t require additional time or money. You should be able to route requests based off of any field that makes sense for your organization without hiring a consultant to navigate the system. After the workflow is set up, it should flow automatically from one user to the next, with no manual involvement by the end users at all, with each approver getting an email notification every step of the way. A good approval workflow system should reduce the time to approve a PO to under a day—saving your organization time and money.
Do you have a lot of money going out the door for various equipment and purchases, but don’t know if you have enough money in your budget? Your e-procurement software should show everyone the information to make informed decisions about what to buy, where to buy it, and who needs to sign off on it, all in one central location that’s easy to use and navigate. Before they even submit a request, the amount of money left in the budget should show up on the screen, so they will know right away whether or not an item is likely to be approved. And if the purchase is over budget, you should be able to route requests for additional approval, so you can make informed decisions on whether that purchase is really necessary.
Group Purchasing Platform
Your e-procurement platform tracks your purchasing, but could it be doing more to save you money? The answer is yes, and Group Purchasing is the answer. Innovative tools like eRequester Marketplace let you buy supplies using the software you already love, but at discounted prices of up to 30% from vendors you trust, all without a contract. Marketplace makes your bottom line look good, so you can spend money on more important expenses. And when you can’t find something you’re looking for in Marketplace (like either hard-to-find items or bulk purchases), there’s Buying Desk. Buying Desk will do the searching for you—and get it at a discounted price.
In an age of machines, a company that still values meaningful, helpful communication is an e-procurement software provider you need. When you need assistance, it’s nice to know there will be a human on the other end of the phone. There’s no time for downtime in the procurement process, and your e-procurement software provider should try to resolve your problem in one phone call.
Good e-procurement software should work with your organization to reach its goals and tighten the bottom line. If your software is falling flat, it may be time to look into other options.