Why Are Automated Workflows Necessary To Streamline Procurement?

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min read time
August 21, 2023
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Have you ever considered how much valuable time and resources your business loses due to manual procurement procedures?

In today's business world, where efficiency is critical, depending on manual approaches can frequently lead to bottlenecks and increased operational costs.

If you’re not considering using automated approval workflows to expedite procurement, you’re missing out on huge opportunities to increase your revenue.

As per the study by Camunda, 48% of organizations are currently adopting automation solutions to automate repetitive tasks.

This article highlights the benefits of procurement workflow automation. Read on as we explore how this workflow approach can alter your procurement practices and increase efficiency.

What is procurement workflow automation?

Procurement workflows encompass a series of organized tasks and processes designed to streamline an organization's procurement process.

These workflows cover the procurement lifecycle, from purchase requests, notifying relevant stakeholders, getting approvals, selecting vendors, and placing orders to processing payments.

Image of CloudEagle procurement workflows

Moreover, they ensure a quicker, hassle-free procurement process with minimal errors, enhanced transparency, and better accountability.

SaaS procurement software makes procurement workflow automation possible and ensures that procurement teams purchase the right product at the right price without spending much time.

By eliminating manual and repetitive tasks, procurement workflow automation frees up significant time and resources for the procurement team to focus on strategic tasks and managing vendor relationships.

Why are SaaS procurement approval workflows necessary for your organization?

1. Faster request approval with minimal bottlenecks

Automated procurement workflows accelerate the request approval procedure by automatically directing requests to the right stakeholders. These workflows ensure that decision-makers are quickly informed and engaged. This reduces the time required for manual evaluations, shortening the entire procurement process.

The automated notifications function as proactive triggers, encouraging timely actions and greatly decreasing bottlenecks that can slow down the buying process.

As a result, the entire process becomes more agile, allowing for faster decisions, more productivity, and a smooth transition from the original request to final approval.

2. Transparency and enhanced accountability

Procurement workflows ensure that purchase requests are completely visible to relevant stakeholders and prevent purchase requests from getting lost in the process. One of the major concerns for requesters is that their request gets lost midway through.

With procurement workflows, the entire process can be tracked in real-time, allowing for proactive involvement and instilling accountability throughout the procurement process.

Workflows automatically route the requests to relevant stakeholders and escalate them when actions aren’t taken.

Requests can be tracked through Slack and email, ensuring complete visibility, and notifications keep the requesters updated on the status.

This guarantees that purchase requests are on track and properly managed from start to finish, resulting in the timely procurement of the desired product. As the entire process is visible, it increases accountability and helps the procurement team expedite it.

3. Prevents shadow IT or maverick purchases

Shadow IT is an activity where users purchase products without the approval of IT. One of the major reasons for shadow IT is the delayed procurement process.

Image showing the risks from shadow IT

In manual processes, purchase requests are often lost, leading to purchase delays. This will frustrate the requester, and they might end up purchasing the product on their own using a corporate credit card. This will lead to increased spending and compliance issues in the future.

Automated processes act as proactive gatekeepers, routing purchase requests through authorized channels and ensuring the product is purchased as soon as possible. As procurement workflows are transparent, requesters can check the progress in real-time, preventing decentralized purchasing.

4. Higher cost savings

One of the ways is by using procurement workflow automation for cost reduction. Workflows ensure that products are acquired on time and minimize manual work. The procurement team can focus on more strategic cost optimization tasks rather than running behind on approvals.

It prevents shadow IT and centralizes the entire SaaS buying process, leading to better control over software spend and efficient renewal tracking. This leads to a smooth renewal process, minimizing unnecessary hidden expenses from shadow IT.

It provides enough time for the team to conduct detailed market research, compare competitive costs, and purchase the right product within the budget. All of these advantages lead to a proactive purchasing process and higher cost savings.

5. Saves time and improves team productivity

As per the report by Zapier, 44% of SMB employees say they’re not being productive at work. And 94% say they’re doing repetitive, time-consuming tasks.

Automated workflows are the right solution to achieve operational efficiency.

Implementing automated SaaS procurement approval workflows results in significant time savings and increases team productivity. Manual, time-consuming tasks are replaced with rapid and precise automated actions, freeing users from mundane tasks.

This allows teams to devote their time to more strategic and value-added activities. Straightforward processes, quicker approvals, instant notifications, and decreased delays all contribute to shorter procurement cycles, eventually improving organizational efficiency.

6. Make collaborative purchasing decisions

Automated SaaS procurement workflows speed up processes and encourage collaborative decision-making. Cross-functional teams can easily communicate using these workflows, contributing insights, reviews, and approvals in real time.

The interactive nature of automated workflows guarantees that all stakeholders are involved and informed, allowing for well-rounded assessments and consensus-driven decisions.

This collaborative strategy capitalizes on group experience, reduces communication gaps, and improves the credibility of procurement decisions. As a result, businesses can make more informed, holistic, and aligned purchasing decisions that produce value and fulfill strategic goals.

CloudEagle’s purchase order approval workflows

CloudEagle is a SaaS management and procurement platform with automated approval workflows to help organizations streamline SaaS procurement.

Image of CloudEagle's dashboard

In fact, the platform is an ideal solution for organizations looking to enhance visibility, efficiency in their procurement process and increase productivity.

Thanks to CloudEagle's advanced procurement features like Automated workflows, Slack for procurement, vendor research, and assisted buying capabilities, it stands as a go-to platform for enterprises and SMBs

Procurement Workflow

Purchase order approval workflows from CloudEagle can help centralize SaaS buying, prevent shadow IT, and increase SaaS savings.

It includes customizable intake forms for various purchases. Once the request is raised, the respective workflow will be triggered, and relevant stakeholders will be alerted.

Team members are notified via Slack, email, and in-app alerts. The workflow advances as tasks are accomplished, ending in purchase approval. Once the request is approved, the negotiation team can take over the task.

Assisted Buying

If your team is stacked with strategic tasks, you can seek assistance from our SaaS buying experts.

They’ll take over the negotiations for you, analyze your requirements, leverage pricing benchmarks, negotiate on your behalf, and help you purchase the right product at the right price.

Vendor Research

CloudEagle’s AI-powered vendor recommendation engine enables businesses to quickly research SaaS vendors, compare costs, read relevant reviews, and communicate with existing customers.

This enables businesses to make informed procurement decisions and select the best vendors to meet their specific needs.

Explore our procurement workflow blog for a more in-depth understanding of CloudEagle's Procurement workflow automation functionality. This resource goes into the inner nuances of procurement automation, providing insights and ideas to improve the procurement efficiency of your firm.

Book a demo with CloudEagle today to enjoy stress-free SaaS procurement while maximizing savings.

Frequently asked questions

1. What are the advantages of Automated Workflows?

Automated workflows increase efficiency by lowering errors, minimizing expenses, providing a uniform platform, increasing productivity, and providing real-time visibility. They are easily scalable, ensuring steady performance even under high workloads.

2. What are the drawbacks of Manual workflow?

Manual workflows have several drawbacks, including errors, delays, and inefficiencies caused by human inaccuracy and slow processing. A lack of real-time visibility, scalability constraints, and reliance on manual labor impede streamlined processes.

3. What is the difference between procurement and purchasing?

Procurement refers to the complete process of sourcing, procuring, and managing commodities and services required for an organization's operations. Strategic planning, supplier appraisal, contract negotiation, and relationship management are all part of the process. In contrast, purchasing is a subset of procurement focusing on the transactional aspect of buying products or services.

Written by
Vibhu Jain
Product Manager, CloudEagle
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