As 2022 nears its midway point, procurement teams should maximize their goals. An ineffective procurement strategy can lead to increased risk, dark purchasing, data inaccuracies, supplier issues, and a longer purchasing cycle. So stop wasting time, opportunities, and resources with an inefficient and ununified procurement process. Discover how you can leverage 7 procurement tools within an eProcurement platform that also contains contract management software tools for procurement process-flow success in 2022 and beyond.
Procurement tools are the mission-critical instruments for procurement professionals to leverage during everyday procurement processes. Key procurement tools include procurement workflows, a request wizard, intelligent request generation, online bid advertisements, user-friendly Q&As, vendor rating and scoring, easy vendor awards, quick contract creation, and a centralized eProcurement system. Procurement tools usually involve the use of industry-leading eProcurement software.
#1: Procurement Workflow & Request Wizard
The procurement workflow commences with requests, and leading eProcurement software provides a diverse array of request options. Requestors can start by filling out a standard requisition form which can trigger a form review process that determines if the request should involve a bid process, if an existing contract can be used instead, or if a new purchase order should be cut.
Trusted source-to-contract management software also offers the aid of an intelligent request wizard. Such an innovative tool helps users rapidly answer a series of dynamic questions that help determine the type of RFx that will be initiated based on organizational guidelines. They can also decide whether they can leverage an existing contract.
Organizations can then draft the request record. This request record can be edited, revised, and reviewed throughout the contract workflow. Next, the assigned user for budget review can receive an alert to perform the budget review. Then, additional necessary bid requirements are collected. Finally, organizations can prepare to formalize and enact bids.
#2: Intelligent Request Generation & Online Bid Advertisement
Reliable procurement management software can assist organizations in generating timely, formal, comprehensive, and accurate request documents. With the power to merge request record data fields with approved templates and clauses from an organization's pre-approved library, procurement teams can manage templates and oversee versions for quick document generation and the subsequent convenient document exportation into standard file formats.
After a request proposal document has been formalized, bids are ready to be announced. They can be advertised publicly or by invite-only – straight from the organization's procurement and contract management software platform. Seamless integration between a bid listing service and contract management software provides a stage for healthy competition between prospective vendors. As a result, buying organizations can obtain more value from contract awards, and vendors can be easily and swiftly connected with relevant buying organizations.
The ability to automate clause management with the help of an organization's pre-approved clause library and a user-friendly bid advertisement process can streamline record creation and vendor selection processes.
#3: A User-Friendly Q&A for Prospective Vendors
Once an organization has drafted a request and advertised a bid, potential vendors can ask relevant questions. Valuable question-and-answer tools with leading-edge procurement software can help organizations remain in sync with vendor prospects.
Question and answer due dates can be set, so prospective vendors are only permitted to submit questions in a time frame that fits the needs of the organization advertising a bid. Once that predetermined date has passed, vendor submissions are no longer accepted by the system.
Furthermore, procurement management software users can receive notifications when questions are posted and warnings regarding when due dates are drawing near. Organizations are also given options for how they respond to vendor prospects. Buying organizations can address questions one-by-one or provide a spreadsheet of answers made publicly available to vendor prospects.
#4: Simple Vendor Rating & Scoring
Vendor scorecards and response ratings provided by reputable eProcurement software systems can keep organizations confident that they choose the vendor that is most aligned with their unique needs. Control of bid rating weight lets organizations consider specific criteria over others when reviewing vendor responses and scoring bids. Easy-to-understand bid tabulation reports can be utilized to integrate pricing and scoring line items for a quick overview of bids.
#5: Easy Vendor Awards
Advanced source-to-contract management software systems provide line item auctioning functionality – which assists organizations with the enlisting of specific bids for individual items. These tools can be quite useful for bid management processes that permit organizations to award several vendors for different aspects of a given bid.
Organizations can emphasize certain items of a bid, provide an area for vendors to select items and deliver their expected price, and have bid specifications sent back to their system for comparison of respondents.
Once buying organizations have completed the steps above, they are ready to award a vendor!
After the winning vendor is awarded, an email can be provided to the selected vendor via the system's sourcing record page. Pre-approved email templates can expedite the process even more. Additionally, buying organizations can send emails to vendors that were not selected. The email can inform unawarded vendors that a different vendor has been chosen while thanking them for their contribution to the process.
#6: Quick Contract Creation
Once the award phase detailed above is finished, organizations can begin the contract lifecycle process seamlessly. A new record can be created within the contract management software system, or the procurement record can be synchronized with an existing contract record. In either case, the process can be performed easily via the sourcing record page that has been used throughout the process.
For enhanced contract record generation, contract management AI can help organizations import contacts into their system. User-friendly data extraction functionality can intelligently map and categorize contract data. The importation of key dates, clauses, and contract data is streamlined – giving organizations visibility and oversight to search, report, categorize, and compare contracts, risk variables, and risk exposure.
After a contract is created or linked, organizations can adhere to their standard contract lifecycle management procedures.
#7: A One-Stop Solution for Better Procurement
The holistic and centralized functionality mentioned above can aid organizations in tackling a myriad of procurement challenges, including:
- vendor administration, task management, vendor performance analysis, and contract negotiation.
- spend analysis, including budgets, contract amounts, vendor invoicing, fiscal year spend tracking and management, payment processing, and purchase control.
- structuring operations such as intelligent automated contract workflow, vendor and supplier relationship management, and comprehensive procurement analytics.
- meeting (and hopefully exceeding) KPIs for vendor value and supplier obligation improvement, contract benefit realization, proper contract workflow escalation, and data-driven contract management decisions.
Additionally, seamlessly integrated electronic purchase order management tools can centralize procurement even further! Such tools can include:
- purchase order punchouts and shopping carts to streamline requests and fulfillment.
- PO management dashboards and reports for advanced analytics.
- PO tracking for robust asset transparency.
- seamlessly integrated purchase order management, vendor management, procurement, and contract lifecycle management.
Streamline Procurement With CobbleStone Contract Insight®
Now that you know how to tackle procurement from start to finish with a leading procurement management solution, it is time to enlist the help of a complete source-to-contract management software suite. The solution for your unique needs is CobbleStone Contract Insight. Discover why thousands of contract managers trust CobbleStone Software with their procurement and contract management needs. To learn more about CobbleStone's unparalleled eProcurement and CLM software, book a free demo with a CobbleStone Contract Insight expert today!
CobbleStone Contract Insight can equip you with the necessary tools you need to drive procurement and contract management success. CobbleStone's trusted, award-winning, seamlessly integrated CLM software streamlines contract management and procurement processes with optimal governance, reduced friction, and high flexibility from vendor contract requests to renewals and more. CobbleStone Software has been a visionary leader in CLM software for over 20 years. CobbleStone's user-friendly, robust, and scalable solution seamlessly integrates with mission-critical applications for unified and seamless contract management. CobbleStone Software, as a software provider, also remains SOC 1 and SOC 2 compliant to encourage paramount security.
This blog was originally published on October 16th, 2020, and was updated on May 23rd, 2022.