The battle in which competing enterprises are continuously engaged requires them to look both outward, at such things as revenue growth, new revenue generation, increased market share or new market gains, and inward at cost-reduction and greater efficiencies.
An organization that embraces a long-term approach to maintaining a competitive advantage must acknowledge that it does not always have control over, or knowledge of the external factors that it could be impacted by, yet it can certainly attain control over what happens with its own systems, functions, and processes.
One area over which an enterprise has control involves the set of interactions with its suppliers from sourcing through payment for goods and services – an area that’s often characterized as being slow, labor-intensive, and prone to errors and fraud, which could have significant impact on overall cost, supply chain efficiency and ultimately – competitiveness.
Achieving greater efficiencies and cost-reduction in this space is clearly a competitive necessity, but the adoption of discrete solutions that lack end-to-end visibility and control at best fall short of achieving the sought-after savings and at worst create additional headaches or even greater cost.
To achieve long-term transformational benefit and operational advantages an enterprise must adopt a holist approach in the Source-to-Pay arena and implement invoice automation, accounts payable automation, vendor management and dispute resolution and other such capabilities as part of an overall system that enables complete, end-to-end visibility and control.
Achieving error and fraud elimination, greater supplier relations, and improved supply chain and logistics does not necessarily have to involve a significant, one-time undertaking, rather it can be incremental, and built on investments already made in various discrete solutions.
Such systems use advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies as well as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to intelligently automate and streamline the exchange of purchase orders, invoices, shipping notifications, payment notifications and the like between buyers and suppliers, while performing two, three and four-way matching, interactive guidance, compliance assurance and dispute resolution.
The combined set of activities, orchestrated by one system that can interact with other procurement applications, can enable an enterprise to gain a competitive advantage and to attain greater margins, freeing up resources to be invested elsewhere.