As a result of the recent pandemic, companies of all shapes and sizes became geographically dispersed. Whether the business was a small, local operation, or a larger company in a single office space, each had to experience the challenges of their larger, geographically dispersed counterparts. Employees working from home likely found themselves struggling with processes that were otherwise simple at the office. Purchasing is an excellent example.
With the return of staff to offices, many businesses now have the opportunity to review their processes in the context of remote work. For businesses with the goals of growth and expansion, this may have been a test run of systems. For larger organizations, it is a chance to find improvement opportunities in the existing processes and technologies.
It is likely that working from home options will be in place for quite some time. Businesses need to find ways for their remote employees to continue to be productive and make existing processes complementary to working from home. One important area to examine is the procure-to-pay process.
Purchasing Users are Everywhere and Have High Expectations
Over the last few years, the focus of Procurement has moved away from the purchasing department, staffed by a small number of experts, to the rest of the corporation, many of whom struggle to make purchases necessary as part of their role. These individuals often circumvent internal purchasing due to the unnecessary complexity, instead making off-contract purchases, which leads to increased operating costs.
Individuals have become accustomed to a certain type of buying experience from online retailers. As the pandemic continued, businesses quickly adapted and began to offer an online experience, many built on the same structure as the most popular online retailers. The intuitive user experience made it easy to buy groceries, order a meal at a restaurant or purchase home improvement products quickly and easily.
Procure-to-Pay Can be Cumbersome
Unfortunately, many P2P applications are still using cumbersome, B2B focused processes. Users may begin a purchase, but quickly start to struggle. An overloaded support team may have a long hold or wait time for a solution. In the meantime, the user needs to complete this purchase and continue their work for the day. This leads the user away from the internal purchasing system to a simpler, more expensive purchase.
Buying out of the “approved” purchasing process can have multiple negative impacts on the business, most notably the lost savings associated with the negotiated contracts with suppliers. If off-contract purchasing is happening consistently, which for many companies it is, that lost savings can have a measurable effect on the bottom line.
User Experience is the Key
Online retailers have invested significant time and money to create a streamlined buying experience that makes buying from home simple. For the procure-to-pay process, technologies exist today to create a user experience that requires little to no training to help drive higher levels of on-contract spending.
BuyerQuest provides a one-stop shopping experience with a simple, but powerful, B2C-like user experience. Buyers can easily find and purchase the items they need. Procurement can feel comfortable that the products purchased are under contract and seamlessly routed for approval based on customized workflows. Three-way matching is simplified through automation. Casual users are more likely to buy within the automation knowing that they can quickly find the product or service they need.
Learn more about BuyerQuest’s B2C-like shopping experience.