In the current economy, it goes without saying that companies are continually looking for options to improve their bottom line. And naturally, software vendors are more than happy to provide you the tools to achieve these results.
I would like to take the time to discuss a couple of applications that truly deliver on that promise. In the source-to-settle process there is one area in which companies have not totally achieved the results they have been looking for: the back end processing of vendor self-services for purchase orders and invoices.
Now EDI has been around for a long time, and it works really well when you have large suppliers providing you lots of goods, which suggests you are likely receiving a good volume of invoices. These invoices are processed electronically and provide solid savings in terms of administrative costs. But unfortunately with all the technology we have, EDI still hasn’t been reduced to a simple transaction that the everyday small business can perform. We’d like to think that it is no big deal for company to get EDI going, but the problem is that it is still a lot of effort that a great many companies just don’t seem to have time to do, for every supplier that they have. It’s a classic example of the Pareto principle, where we focus our efforts on the 20% of tasks that will yield biggest bang for our buck. This sort of setup just never gets to the top of the task list.
There are apps that can help, but they’re out of the limelight. eSupplier Connection and eSettlements are two applications that — based on the experiences I have had with clients — get pushed toward a phase 2 implementation that never really happens. I think this is a big mistake for companies to make, since these two applications have the ability to reduce the overhead associated with dealing with suppliers significantly.
The biggest arguments against them are that (1) “they are soft costs”, and (2) “it is too hard to train our vendors”. I believe these to be paper objections, and that if a planned, methodical approach is taken, you can certainly get the suppliers to engage you in this fashion. I’ve seen it.
So, in a nutshell, what do these applications do?
eSupplier Connection – Provides suppliers access to procurement transactions. Details include:
- View & Print Purchase Orders (PO)
- Enter Purchase order changes (Purchase Order Acknowledgement)
- Submit Advance Shipment Receipts (ASN’s)
- Review Receipt Status
- View Invoice Status
- View Payment Status
- Manage Contact Information
eSettlements – Provides suppliers access to payment transactions. More granularly:
- Ability to enter invoices via upload or online
- Ability to process invoice disputes and track their status
- Involves the supplier in the Accounts Payable matching process
- Ability to route workflows to suppliers as well as the internal organization
Both of these products (either individually or together) can provide real value to your organization, so if you currently have PeopleSoft Purchasing and/or Accounts Payable implemented and are interested in hearing more about this, drop me a quick note and I’ll be happy to give you a free hour of my time. My goal is to help you understand the value you can get from implementing these products, because they’re often pushed aside and really, seriously shouldn’t be.
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