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RPA in Procurement

How to use RPA in the procurement

Let’s be frank about it: Many companies look for new ways to improve their efficiency. This goes hand in hand with the desire to lower costs. One area that is especially affected by this cost pressure is the procurement division. It is also the area where the typical levers to lower costs have been fully exhausted by now. New ideas are called for. One of them is process automation.

How does process automation with RPA work in the procurement?

“Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will change procurement processes over the next ten years.” This is not a quote from us, it’s what the “CPO Survey 2017” from Deloitte says. According to the survey 93% of CPO’s share this point of view. It further states that 30 to 60% of net savings can be achieved by automated processes on average. At the same time the lead and throughput times could be reduced by up to 80% while improving the process quality.

Generally speaking, RPA in procurement is capable of optimizing nearly all procurement processes – even though some processes allow for a higher level of automation than others.
Here’s a list of typical application areas for RPA in Procurement:

  •  Operative Procurement
  •  Supplier Management
  •  Commodity Group
  •  Contract Management
  •  Data Maintenance
  •  Reporting
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Tasks in Operative Procurement

The operative procurement process, ranging from a purchase requisition to invoice verification, is mainly comprised of routine tasks. These can be automated through rules-based decisions and predetermined work steps. As an example, the ordering system and document filing can be automated.

Managing Supplier Data

Anything from material data to supplier data up to the conditions and catalogue-specific data – the effort of filing in procurement systems is massive. The one-off filing alone does not create work, but the continuous data maintenance and quality assurance consume time and resources. All of the standardized work steps are predestined to be automated with the help of RPA. While the buyer now only has to focus on structuring the data, the software robot takes care of the time-intensive, non-value-adding work steps and thereby creates free space.

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