4 Benefits of Autonomous Procurement
Autonomous procurement is coming, whether you’re ready for it or not. Procurement and supply chain systems with embedded intelligence that can learn from your routine actions, provide business recommendations and automate your day-to-day tasks are already changing the way procurement is done.
We’ve already defined what autonomous procurement is in great detail. We’ve also made the case for why it’s a good idea and the potential that it has, but what are the practical, real-world areas where procurement is making life easier for purchasing professionals? What benefits does it provide to your team?
Whether you’re looking to reduce costs, increase profitability or mitigate risk, autonomous procurement can help you target your business needs.
Faster Response Times and Increased Agility
One of the clearest advantages of autonomous procurement is that it increases your organization’s agility and responsiveness, meaning that you can more quickly and effectively adjust to changes in the market or disruptions in global supply chains.
Big Data at your Fingertips
Big data and autonomous procurement are inherently intertwined. Data powers the learning systems involved in an autonomous platform, while the platform in turn helps make sense of that data. This data analysis can help deliver different scenario analyses and recommendations, helping you prepare for adjust to changing circumstances. Agility proved its value in 2020 when the world’s supply chains came to a grinding halt.
On-Time Delivery and Other Predictions
Many companies – especially those in the manufacturing or medical fields – live and die by their delivery schedule. If goods are delayed in transit, it can cause disruptions further down the line. Thanks to autonomous procurement, it’s much easier to predict these disruptions and plan ahead for them. With JAGGAER’s On-Time Delivery Predictor, the system uses detailed supplier information, history, current events and more to alert you if a shipment is going to be late, even before it leaves your supplier’s warehouse.
By more accurately predicting potential supply disruptions, you can better plan alternative approaches or supplement your existing suppliers, creating a more robust supply chain. That agility is priceless when things go sideways.
Smarter Decision Making
Even when things are running smoothly and your supply chains aren’t facing massive upheaval, you always want to be making the best possible business decisions. Autonomous procurement provides the power to do just that, not only by processing massive amounts of data that wouldn’t be possible under human power alone. Rather, an autonomous platform goes beyond that by actively learning from your data, the decisions you make, and the consequences of them.
One of the most powerful pieces of procurement evolution is augmented analytics. Augmented analytics are specifically built to meet the needs of different types of users, rather than simply providing raw data points for the user to analyze. By providing intuitive data across all aspect of the source-to-pay flow, and presenting it at the level that the user needs, autonomous procurement makes it far easier to make informed, reliable decisions.
More Time for Strategic Activities
Probably the most obvious and far-reaching benefit of autonomous procurement is simply the amount of time it saves you on routine tasks, letting you reallocate those hours to more strategic efforts. Automation has clear benefits, and autonomous procurement takes that to the next level.
Smart Process Enhancements
Many routine procurement processes can be easily accelerated, and autonomous procurement can play a key role in this. For example, the invoicing process can be sped up by using smart tools to match invoices to purchase orders and then compare them to existing contracts. Then it can automatically correct any discrepancies and send them back to the supplier for approval.
The sourcing process can also be automated through autonomous procurement. The tool can learn the formats of your sourcing events, then automatically create them, including formats and suppliers, all based on the types of goods you’re sourcing.
Robotic Process Automation
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a key piece in speeding up your workflows. RPA allows you to speed up routine, repeated processes like click paths or data exports and imports. The RPA engine learns these workflows from user behavior and then initiates them in the background or when the user isn’t active, like overnight. This background processing happens faster than a human user could execute tasks.
In addition to RPA, users can take advantage of smart assistants, also known as chat bots.
With JAGGAER, this is known as JAGGAER Assist, and is a tool that can guide users through the software, answer questions and take actions. Digital assistants reduce the number of clicks a user has to make to navigate a workflow and can run operational tasks using plain language inputs. All of this means that you can execute basic tasks faster and with less formal training, allowing your team to focus instead of strategic approaches, category strategies, supplier negotiations and more.
Finally, many of the functions of an autonomous procurement platform serve to minimize your organization’s risk exposure. We’ve already seen this with the On-Time Delivery Predictor, which can help avoid costly supply chain delays or contract violations. An autonomous platform can also help examine your contracts, identifying missing clauses and phrases that could help protect you. In fact, advanced contract analysis systems can even examine your suppliers’ history and risk levels to determine what clauses should be included to minimize your exposure. This, and features like it, help mitigate risk and build a more dependable supply chain.
A System to Grow With
The important thing to know about autonomous procurement platforms is that, while there are already so many benefits available, the tools continue to evolve and expand. Because they build on data and learn as you execute more tasks, autonomous systems only get stronger as they go. In fact, as you automate more, you gain more time to spend on strategic initiatives, including further automation. The result is a flywheel effect, all thanks to autonomous procurement.