The Purgatory of Stage Three

We empathize with the frustrations of Phase Three: Integrating.

On one hand, you’ve made the leap from spreadsheets to software platforms fit for the tasks at hand. Dashboards, portals, and enterprise resource management software (EMS) has been introduced at your firm.

The spreadsheets that are still used now run VBA to integrate and update both other spreadsheets and ERP software.

Software-controlled workflows and strict data access can be enforced, making sure confidential information is only seen by employees who need to see it. Fewer things are getting ‘lost in the cracks’ because everyone knows where files and key process due dates can be found.

And yet… there’s still so much manual entry. 

In nearly every domain of procurement, someone must be manually entered the data into these VBA-automated spreadsheets and enterprise systems.

Despite while data is being updated across the system, this manual re-entry is a time lag that prevents you from having real-time information where it’s needed. All this integration is allowing for a few processes to be automated, but further automation feels elusive.   

The Transition to Phase 3: Integrating

The good news is that data is being centralized into access-controlled and integrated databases feeding updates where they need to go.

Transitioning to Phase 4: Automating is an important step towards eliminating manual data entry, automating key processes, having up-to-date actionable information easily available to make decisions, and making sure employees know what needs to be done (and when). 

Successfully transitioning into Phase Four enables your firm to take advantage of Phase Five technologies and workflows that, for the most part, are still in development or used with a very small number of companies. Eliminating all this manual data entry to transition to Stage Four mostly involves changing how information is communicated to and from vendors.

Payments and Authorizations: 

The transition from Phase Three to Phase Four introduces automated passing of data and documents from other systems via real-time data feeds. The need for manual approvals and signatures is eliminated.

Negotiations and Ordering:

As data becomes further centralized and integrated into dashboards, it becomes possible to compute and present KPI’s and vendor history. Vendor portals are enhanced and improved so that the full negotiation lifecycle from RFQ generation, supplier shortlisting, price quotation data entry is processed and managed through the portal.

 The portal should be upgraded to allow for easier vendor onboarding, which in turn allows users to easily compare and analyze quotes and price targets from all suppliers so they can evaluate and select which supplier they ultimately place their order with.

Compliance Verification: 

The transition to Phase Four expands from the movement compliance certifications into centralized access-controlled locations to automated reminders of due dates and missing documents. The enhanced portal should offload work currently done by your own employees, like document requests and data entry, onto vendors.

Production:

 Information is directly fed into your databases from supplier inspectors using mobile apps to generate their reports directly on the factory floor.

Production quality scoring is automatically calculated and logged into the system. Information from production reports are automatically sent to ERP, PLM, etc to feed into relevant business processes and reports.

Logistics:

WMS/TMS/PLM, and ERP are fed by data scanning along the warehousing and inventory process and updates to data in one system are immediately updated across all other systems in real-time.

This offers managers a real-time view of all inventory and logistics operations and requires very little or no manual data entry is required.

No duplication of data entry into different systems is required. However, shipments and inventory management must be analyzed and performed by managers.

​Don't Get Left Behind

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