The past year has been unlike any other in recent history. The word unprecedented may be overused to describe the tragic loss of life, lockdowns and restrictions imposed as a result of the global pandemic, but it is accurate. Businesses of all sizes quickly learned how nimble they were as the move to remote work or the complete shutdown of facilities created a domino effect across departments and supply chains. Whether it was access to paper goods, cleaning products or simply depositing payments and paying bills, certain functions that companies thought were “automated”, turned out to be not automated enough.
After decades spent in pursuit of more efficient, less manual and more automated processes to drive their operations, departments from HR, to Warehousing and Supply Chain, to Procurement and Accounts Payable as well as Manufacturing had their processes put to the test over the last year.
Questions loom in executive suites as the page turns to 2021. How did our company handle the crisis? Was our automation “as advertised”? What have we learned and how can we apply that learning to prepare for the next “unprecedented” event?
Procurement was a focal point in 2020. Many procurement organizations had automation, but when it came to receiving payments and cutting checks, staff still had to come to the office to perform the tasks manually. Procurement themes in 2021 will explore further advances in AP Automation to take the “paper” out of the paperwork process.
The Role Automation Played (and can Play) for Procurement in 2021
Several recent articles have discussed the lessons procurement can learn from this year and steps that can be taken to prepare for the upcoming year.
Bob Cohen shares his thoughts on the importance of eInvoicing. He highlights that “paper-based invoices remain..a huge proportion of the average enterprise’s invoices” and offers insights on the benefits that eInvoicing solutions have delivered to Best-in-Class Ap departments.
The Strategic Sourcerer
Offers practical advice for procurement organizations in preparation for 2021. The article includes 4 key steps such as revamping workflows, developing a Q&A document for partners among other ideas.
Summary of the ProcureCon Indirect Virtual Event, including details of the session, “Capitalizing On And Sustaining Procurement’s Wins From The Pandemic”. The article highlights some of the lessons learned by leading procurement professionals and ideas to prepare for the future.
The article discusses the differences between what is purchased via direct procurement versus indirect procurement and what accounts payable automation technology should include to successfully execute with direct spend.
Discusses the impact that manual processes had on accounts payable as a result of the pandemic, and highlights the need for digital processing, including the role that the BuyerQuest platform plays as part of the AP automation process.
For businesses, 2020 was the ultimate stress test of business processes and technology capabilities. While no company navigated the year without some struggles, those businesses that thoughtfully leveraged technology and automation, in particular automation in accounts payable, were more nimble and capable of adapting to the dynamic environment. With the potential of more imposed lockdowns looming, 2021 presents an opportunity for other businesses to learn the lessons of 2020 and start to make their change.