RPA Use Cases for Purchase Order Processing

Per Gartner, the #1 Supply Chain Technology Theme for 2021 is Automation. For good reason, as an RPA enabled PR/PO process alone can automate over 80% of manual procurement steps (per a study by SupplyChainBrain).

The Procure-to-Pay cycle in most organizations is a manually intensive process that typically encompasses numerous departments and many stand-alone systems (ex., BOL/Item Master, Inventory, Demand Planning, Purchasing, Finance/AP, etc.). Fortunately, this disjointed and labor-intensive process is a perfect candidate for automation. Using Robotic Process Automation (RPA), software bots can execute most manual procurement activities and integrate data between disparate systems, dramatically increasing efficiency and reducing costs (by 35-65 percent, per an Everest Group research study).

To help illustrate the extent of automation currently available, here is what a procurement process leveraging intelligent automation might look like:

  • A bot automatically monitors a designated email inbox for Purchase Requisitions (PR) and creates the PR in the ERP system upon receipt.
  • When a PR is received, the bot obtains vendor, item information and (if necessary) creates a Quote document and sends it to the vendor for pricing and availability.
  • A bot monitors a designated inbox for the vendor Quote for the Purchase Requisition. Upon receipt, the bot creates a Purchase Order (PO) in the ERP system. It then routes the PO via email for approval as required (noting any price increase or availability issues in the approval email).
  • When a PO approval email is received, the bot approves the PO in the ERP system and sends the PO to the vendor. If the PO is not approved, the bot will notify the appropriate Purchasing team member for resolution.

While the process above is a standardized example (bots are custom-built to each organization’s unique processes and systems), you can easily see how RPA can turbocharge your procurement process.

Contact us to learn more about how to rapidly automate your procure-to-pay stream while accelerating the efficiency of your Purchasing team; allowing them to focus more on what matters most.