Developing a reliable and efficient purchase request process takes a bit of planning. You must identify your gaps, map out the steps required to process a request based on your needs, standardize process phases, and create rules to ensure your workflow runs smoothly. When it comes to the finance department, processes and policies need to be even more reliable and secure than in other areas of the business.
You’ve probably heard the saying “garbage in, garbage out”, right? And it’s true. Before you can build an effective workflow for your finance processes you have to standardize on the first step. A purchase request should trigger your process. Ensuring this trigger is correct can make or break the success of your workflow.
Finance managers are faced with the difficult task of managing tools and systems where there are multiple requesters and variance of demand. Without automated workflows, a significant amount of time can be spent gathering required information, aligning on priority, and so on. Long story short, manual processes can often result in human error and rework.
To create a reliable and error-proof purchasing process it’s essential that all of your inbound requests are structured to include all required information for processing. Here are some tips that you can follow to put you on a path to automated purchase process success:
Centralize your Purchase Request form in a single place
You should have only one central method of receiving requests. This requires a bit of business transformation and remedying bad habits like walk-up, email, and phone requests. Trying to track and manage inbound requests from too many channels can generate delays, miscommunication, and lack of alignment.
To receive all requests in a single place we recommend a workflow processing tool like Pipefy’s Public form. The platform is no/low-code, so it’s easy to implement, completely customizable to fit your unique needs and the price point is hard to beat.
Once your workflow tool has been implemented, encourage quick adoption by only accepting requests from this official and centralized channel. When a teammate asks you to “make an exception”, explain why it’s important to make a request through the new process.
Create an error-proof form
Once you’ve standardized your process, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting all of the information you need on your request form in order to fulfill purchase requests quickly and accurately. By setting rules for your request forms you are setting up your processes to be more error-proof.
In Pipefy’s platform, you’ll use the conditional logic feature to set form criteria. For example, a $10 purchase should have less regulation than a $1,000 purchase, right? The level of detail for each request is different, so conditional logic allows you to use a single form and adapt it to each set of rules or circumstances.
Create a policy and make it visible
It can be difficult to implement a new process. Be sure that you have a set of rules for any new inbound requests and a document that explains step-by-step how your process works. You should share it with your colleagues and make sure you have internal champions to help with adoption. You will always have exceptions, but they will be fewer and less error-prone when the majority of your requests are coming through the appropriate channel.
With Pipefy, you will be able to make your policy visible on the public form. You can either create a statement field on your process workflow or link it to your purchasing policies within the form.
Do you want to test Pipefy for Purchasing? Try it for free!
Artur de Paula is from the Finance Team and is the HoneyBadger responsible for the Procurement Process at Pipefy.