Supercharge Your Purchasing Approval Process

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By: GUEST BLOGGER Tripp Martin, Development Director, Perfect Commerce

We’ve all been through it…your best tool breaks and now you need to order another one to do your job properly. You send a request to the Purchasing Department that tells them what you need. Then, you wait for approval. And wait. And wait. One day when your hair starts to grey, the tool you needed four months ago finally shows up! What gives?

Purchasing Approvals

Every request for purchase must go through some sort of approval process. The approval process for that request depends on the commodity, price, etc. of each line item. Approvers exist in the organization for each of these approval types and unfortunately, we have to wait for them to approve the request. And since most of the approvals are sequential, the next approver cannot approve until the previous approver gives it a thumbs up. Furthermore, in some cases, the purchasing department is required to source the request which results in even longer delays!

Only after all approvals have been completed for the request, can the Purchase Order be created and sent to the Vendor. How can we speed this process up?

Locate Bottlenecks and Motivate Approvers

In order to get your approval process running more efficiently, you need to determine where you have bottlenecks or inefficiencies that result in delays.

Analyze Your Approval Process:

  • Who is involved in the current review and approval process? Should they be involved?
  • What is being approved (item, quantity, commodity, etc.)? Are the approvals required necessary and appropriate?
  • When are items being approved? Are the approvals received and processed in the time frame expected?
  • Where do bottlenecks exist? Is it one department, certain users, or across the entire organization?
  • Why do bottlenecks exist? Is it training, awareness, policy, organizational structure, lack of communication?

In order to discover and answer these questions, you need data. Have you heard the saying, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”? In order to measure performance, you will need to track every step of the approval process so that you can analyze that data and identify non-value steps and improve purchasing cycle times. Once you’ve identified areas for improvement, you can lead your team down a path toward decreasing transaction costs through increased process efficiency.

Automate Your Approval Process

Using automated, electronic approval software will ensure that every step of the approval process is captured. It can also help expedite approvals by notifying and reminding approvers who have approval tasks to complete. Perfect’s WebProcure eProcurement solution provides a dynamic and flexible approval process that will speed things up so your people will spend less time waiting and more time doing!

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