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5 Stages of Implementing an E-Procurement Software

    Implementing an e-procurement software can be challenging, but with the 5 stages described in this blog post, you can make the process much quicker and simpler.
5 Stages of Implementing an E-Procurement Software

E-procurement is not simply a software application, but a strategic digital transformation program. The functionality and usability of the underlying software and technical tools are critical to the success of an e-procurement solution. However, a successful roll-out requires much more than just functionality. It requires a systematic approach to prepare for the implementation and an overall project design that takes an end-to-end business solution approach.

The actual implementation time and process for an organization depend on various factors such as your procurement requirements, the number of users that will use the procurement software, and existing systems that are in place (such as an ERP and other business process software tools).

However, no matter how complex your procurement is, the typical e-procurement implementation program consists of 5 discrete stages. In this blog post, we talk about these stages and how Proqura assists your team at each stage to ensure a smooth rollout.

Phase 1: Master data preparation and mapping

The first and foremost thing that your team needs to do is to prepare master datasets. This is critical because master data management is a core component of Proqura, like any other procurement software. Preparing and mapping your master data will allow you to easily and quickly migrate your organization’s procurement to Proqura.

A typical master dataset consists of the following:

  1. Product and services master catalog: Unique numbering and naming of all routinely procured goods and services. The product naming and nomenclature is made consistent across your entire organization and your business units so that the same item is recorded with the same code and name across every transaction.
  2. Supplier master directory: Consolidated directory of suppliers across your entire organization. All goods and services in the master catalog should be mapped to the suppliers in a many-to-many relational structure.
  3. Master category list: List of all categories against which goods and services are classified for reporting and analytics purposes and to support strategic planning and budgeting. All items in the master catalog should be mapped to these categories.
  4. Organizational structure: A chart representing the breakdown of your organizational structure, specifically aligned to the way your procurement process flows. This helps create a structure against which users can be assigned relevant user roles and permissions, and approval workflows can be created. The organizational structure may include your head office, branch offices and regional locations, business units and departments, discrete functional units and teams, and any other independent procuring unit within your overall procurement organization.
  5. User directory and permissions: All levels of users of the system such as executives, managers, audit, finance, procurement agents, purchasers, storekeeper, and end-users. Once defined, you can also assign broad permissions and roles and responsibilities for these users. These users should be defined for each organizational entity that you have defined and mapped accordingly.
  6. Procurement approval workflow and hierarchy definition: For the users defined, approval hierarchies should be defined for use in procurement workflows along with any conditional flows and alternate workflows.
  7. Historical transactions: Uploading a year of historical data comprising transactions conducted, items procured, and supplier engaged enables you to set a baseline for your future procurement. This ensures that on future purchases of similar items, you have some price history and intelligence to guide your purchase decisions.

Phase 2: Define document formats and create templates for strategic procurement

To streamline procurement processes and minimize repetitive tasks, we recommend creating document templates for your requisition forms and purchase orders during the onboarding stage.

A generic procurement document consists of a header section containing your organization’s name, logo, and contact details along with the document number, name and designation of the individual creating the document, and the date of the document. This is followed by a bill of quantities section listing the items including goods and services that you are procuring, their quantity, and any additional notes and details. Finally, there is a footer containing your terms and conditions of purchase, including delivery terms and payment terms.

You can customize these documents to include additional information that is necessary for your procurement process. Companies can choose to include additional header information, such as a department name or number, a project code, a document title, or any other information that is needed to be part of every procurement document generated by your organization. The terms and conditions at the footer can similarly be constructed to include specific line items and instructions.

The item list can also be tailored according to your procurement protocols. You can add additional columns for information such as product codes and descriptions (known as reference fields), or product-wise attributes that you need suppliers to respond to (known as query fields). These can be saved as templates for use when requesting specific types of goods and services where more information is needed from suppliers or specific attributes need to be compared. Creating templates saves time for future requisitions of the same item.

how-to-customize-documents-in-proqura

Phase 3: Trial run

Once the preparatory data is compiled, cleaned, and mapped into the system, we recommend running a trial of the system for a limited set of categories.

The purpose of the trial run is to identify upfront any major challenges the team is encountering in running the system, support suppliers in being able to respond to your queries and provide refresher training wherever needed.

During the trial run, you should run a complete procurement cycle on Proqura that includes:

  • Generate a purchase request consisting of the items you need.
  • Create a request for quotation (RFQ) and invite suppliers to submit offers.
  • Review the offers using the comparison sheet to make a purchase decision.
  • Issue a purchase order to the supplier(s) with the best offer.
  • Record the receipt of items in the system.
  • 3-way match your documents once you receive an invoice from the supplier.
  • Export the invoice and payables from Proqura for further processing (e.g. by importing to your accounting system).

This is just a baseline for a typical procure-to-pay process. The exact process that you follow, however, will depend on your organization’s unique requirements and procurement process.

Phase 4: Integration with other software

Once your users are comfortable using the main system and the master data has been created, you can choose to integrate your e-procurement solution with other software you are using, such as your ERP system, inventory management solution, or accounting and finance software.

Proqura provides a comprehensive API to link your procurement with other systems and software that you use, allowing you to push and pull data seamlessly in real-time for smooth business operations.

Phase 5: Go live with e-procurement

Once the core implementation is complete and integrations are ready, you can go live and scale up usage of the system across all business units and categories. Proqura offers a detailed help manual and other tutorial materials that can guide your team to get the most out of your system.

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