Procurement functions such as category management, supplier relationship management, contract management, and third-party risk management are time-consuming and labour intensive. However, with the help of robotic process automation (RPA), professionals can focus on some core and strategic activities.
Understanding robotic process automation
RPA is a type of software that can perform tasks within specific processes. The computer functions as an interface and the procurement professional merely types or clicks the mouse to record the activity. Then, RPA uses the commands to continue the activity. It can be used for time-consuming tasks, such as filling forms, opening emails, and recording.
How RPA can benefit procurement
RPA can automate several steps in processes, reducing the need for a human to carry out some repetitive and manual tasks. It allows procurement to pinpoint changes in risk exposure and to find out the causes for it. Managers can also use RPA for approvals and receive alerts if procurement breaches pre-set limits. The bots can also provide remedial measures in such cases. RPA can also be called upon to read contracts, reports, and regulations to determine whether they contain any compliance issues. Procurement professionals can even get insights on how to close reports and contracts.
The most interesting use of RPA is ordering goods without human intervention. If professionals can use RPA to keep track of inventory, the application will send an alert when levels run low, automatically sending a purchase order to the supplier for a fixed number to replenish stocks.
These are some of the ways that RPA can benefit procurement. The technology is suitable for low-value and repetitive tasks so that staff can focus on strategic tasks and activities. It is best to install RPA on a small scale so that employees can learn the benefits of the technology. Once satisfied, it can be scaled up to help save time and increase productivity.