Across all industries and for companies of all sizes, procurement plays a critical role in helping companies operate effectively and efficiently. This process is fundamental for increasing efficiency, saving money, and mitigating risks — and the impact of a broken purchase process is too costly to ignore.
Below we’ve defined the most common signs of a broken procurement process. Some of these will be immediately recognizable; others remain hidden from view.
In either case, the impact on procurement and business operations can be profound. But every problem has a solution, and we’ve defined those here as well.
Problem: maverick spend and unmanageable spot requests
- Recurring emergency purchase requests
- Poor purchase policy and company alignment
- Non-compliant purchases repeatedly slip through
Solution: centralize, standardize, and automate
Pipefy centralizes all communications to give every stakeholder a common, single source of information. This gives teams more visibility and control by providing a central hub for all purchases, payments, and other information. Better visibility improves alignment between buyers, legal teams, and accounts payable.
Pipefy also makes it easy for procurement teams to standardize and structure processes and workflows. By standardizing processes, teams ensure that every purchase request follows the same procedures and approvals, every time.
To standardize a process, teams can modify a template from the gallery, build a new process or workflow from scratch, or use AI to create an optimized version in minutes. Since no coding is required, processes and workflows can be easily and quickly adapted by any team member with the right permissions.
Automation can also help teams solve for maverick spending and spot requests. By automating actions like approvals or status updates, information is consistently shared with the right people at the right time. Rules and conditionals can add even more structure to workflows. Automations, rules, and conditionals can be applied quickly using an intuitive user interface.
Problem: inefficient processes scattered across multiple apps and systems
- Time wasted on managing processes across disconnected systems, spreadsheets, and email threads
- ERPs generate unnecessary manual work and opportunities for errors
- Intake begins in ERPs, but execution runs outside of it
Solution: native and custom integrations
Tech stacks are often composed of hundreds of apps, systems, and databases. They sometimes rely on legacy or inefficient components that must be continually customized, as well as point solutions and workarounds that developers have built from scratch. In some cases, teams over rely on spreadsheets and email threads to manage these requests.
This complexity in the tech stack can lead to data fragmentation and communication silos. In response, teams may find themselves doing additional manual work, such as manually moving data from one system to another.
This fragmentation also makes it more difficult for teams to make decisions with confidence. Reporting becomes too complicated and reliable data grows scarce. In this scenario, the procurement team may have difficulty acting decisively and informing overall business strategy.
Pipefy’s integration capabilities create seamless connections between people, processes, and tools. When data moves effortlessly between systems, it becomes easier to connect, view, and control procurement operations from a single vantage point. Errors that result from repeated manual entry are eliminated and information is exchanged between people and tools automatically.
In addition to native integrations with the most common procurement software systems, Pipefy offers custom integrations to provide procurement teams with a unified ecosystem. Common procurement integrations include:
- Oracle E-Business Suite
- QuickBooks Online
- Sage Intacct
- Sage Live
- SAP Data
- SAP On-premise
- Zoho Invoice
- Zuora for Salesforce
Problem: difficulty managing vendor relationships
- Relying on email threads to communicate
- Using spreadsheets for quotation/price comparison
- Lack of historical data from past negotiations
- Complex onboarding
- Inability to perform proper due diligence with new vendors
- Status updates for items requiring attention aren’t delivered consistently
- Approval workflows are disorganized or unclear
- Stakeholders report difficulty in locating policies, documents, or forms
Solution: standardize start forms, create portals, and enable self-service workflows where possible
Forms and portals
Centralize communications with vendors using portals and customized touch points through automated emails. Portals group and organize different forms in a single place to standardize and centralize important information, such as request forms, policies, and more. This is important because it makes it easier for all stakeholders to find the information and documents they need.
With mandatory fields, requests won’t be submitted until all required fields are filled. Buyers get what they need with every request without having to chase after information. Pipefy’s customizable forms feature a request tracking feature that allows requesters to opt in and receive updates as requests move through the purchase review and approval cycle — without any manual intervention from the purchase team.
Enable self-service workflows
Portals also give vendors the ability to self-serve by accessing forms when they need them. All information can be integrated into a database for easier retrieval, deeper visibility, and to simplify updating records. Learn more about portals, and how to create and customize them.
Connect and import vendor databases for error-free payments, and create self-service workflows for vendor registration, updates, and onboarding so end-to-end user experiences are a breeze for both internal and external stakeholders.
When this data is readily available, procurement teams are empowered to drive overall strategy and deliver insights to decision-makers. With customizable process dashboards and reports, easily gather data to measure performance and identify optimization opportunities.
Problem: extensive follow ups and untrackable interactions with stakeholders
- Missing information
- Approval delays
- Lack of status updates or notifications
- Countless email threads
- Information scattered across multiple communication channels
- Maverick spending
- Delays and long purchase request review cycles
Solution: process orchestration, audit logs, and email notifications
Procurement and procure-to-pay teams manage a complex array of processes and workflows, many of which cross department boundaries and impact other processes. For this reason, seamless communication between teams and people isn’t just necessary — it’s essential. That is what process orchestration is all about.
Since Pipefy is easily adaptable, teams can use one tool to manage all their processes and workflows. As a result, silos are dissolved, visibility increases, and teams gain control over all the activities and tasks happening within the procurement department. Because processes and workflows are connected, there is no need to update information in multiple places. Pipefy does that automatically.
Audit logs are another way that procurement teams can better govern their processes. Pipefy gives teams and their managers insight into what has been done, by whom, and when. All activities related to every card are documented and easily accessed by anyone with permission.
Another tactic for maintaining the integrity of communications and avoiding delays — such as time-sensitive approvals — is to set up email notifications. Pipefy’s no-code user interface makes it easy to send automated emails every time a card moves to a phase, a field is updated, or another event happens in your pipe. As a result, all parties are constantly in the loop and time isn’t wasted on repetitive (and unnecessary) manual updates.
Problem: late fees and errors
- Lack of process standardization
- Data is scattered and requires effort to track down
- Payment approvals take too long
- Information is missing or incomplete
Solution: mandatory form fields, approval assignments, defined SLA deadlines
Within Pipefy, users can easily customize the forms used to create purchase requests, RFPs, and any other procurement activity. Rules can be applied to make key fields mandatory. Requests cannot be submitted if any mandatory fields are left blank. Pipefy’s customizable forms are secure and shareable, so all stakeholders — internal or external — can provide input or take action without delay.
Another way teams can use rules to avoid late fees is by automatically notifying team members when an item is approaching its SLA deadline. These same automation rules can also be used to route approvals to the right person at the right time. This ensures that the appropriate party is always aware of an item that requires their attention.
Problem: issues with 3-way matching
- Documents or information are disorganized
- Systems do not share data
- Errors appear that must be corrected
- Delayed payments and late fees
In an ideal scenario, three-way matching should be simple and straightforward. Invoices are received, purchase orders and packing slips are retrieved, and everything lines up perfectly. But that’s not always the case. Documents get misplaced, data gets entered incorrectly, or data silos get in the way. In these scenarios, teams have to stop what they are doing and chase down information before a payment can be issued.
Pipefy optimizes three-way matching in a few ways.
First, forms can be customized with mandatory fields to avoid missing or incomplete information. This alone can speed up approvals and simplify the workflow.
Second, Pipefy’s integration capabilities can help move data and records across apps and systems so that the entire process can be managed from one single dashboard. Pipefy also integrates with OCR (optical character recognition) technology that converts documents to digital files.
Finally, Pipefy creates audit trails that teams can use to review activities and increase their visibility into the end-to-end three-way matching process.
Additional features and benefits
Security and compliance
Procurement teams need processes and solutions they can trust. Pipefy includes an array of built-in security features to help teams stay safe and secure.
- SOC2 certified and AWS qualified
- ISO 27001, ISO 27018, and ISO 27701 certifications
- SSO, 2FA, and role-based permission management
- Multi- and single-tenant hosting options
- 99.9% or higher uptime
- GDPR and LGPD commitments
- Audit logs for all activity on the platform using DataDog for analysis and S3
- All data within Pipefy is encrypted in transit and at rest using 256-bit encryption
- Active monitoring and backups in place to recover information if anything happens within our environment
Learn more about how Pipefy protects your data at our Security Center.
AI-enhanced process management
Pipefy AI helps procurement teams become more efficient than ever. This feature can create new workflows in seconds and identify opportunities for improving existing processes. Generative AI gives users instant access to KPIs and other metrics and helps stakeholders find information faster and easier than ever.
Pipefy AI also helps procurement teams become more strategic partners. Pipefy AI completes data analytics quickly, so teams can spot trends, uncover root causes, and detect issues or anomalies faster than ever before.
Learn more about Pipefy AI.
Faster time to value
Time to value is one of the most important considerations for adopting any new software. Pipefy helps teams see faster ROI by delivering a swift and secure implementation and easing resistance to adoption through an intuitive, no-code interface.
Implementation and integration
Pipefy’s implementation is straightforward and secure. Integrations connect your procurement team to more than 300 apps and systems, right out of the box. Custom integrations are also available to accommodate any tech stack, no matter how complex.
Ease of use
The no-code user interface makes Pipefy easy and intuitive to use, so teams won’t face a steep learning curve that might slow down adoption. Role-based permissions management keeps IT and managers in control of data security while empowering teams to manage and automate processes themselves.
How our customers use Pipefy and the results they’ve achieved
Prior to implementing Pipefy, customers experienced issues like:
- Unstructured purchase request processes
- Recurring spot purchases with tools and processes not built to handle real-time requests
- Poor procurement policy discipline and alignment
- Decentralized process execution
They also rely on inefficient modes of communication and data management which often leads to a lack of historical data to inform negotiations and limits visibility over purchase requests.
With Pipefy, teams are equipped with a powerful platform that solves their top challenges and empowers them to continue evolving processes as business needs change. Agile workflows, continuous improvements, deep data insights, and granular visibility and control over the PR and PO lifecycle.
Greater control and visibility over the procure-to-pay process
The automated communication flow is our biggest gain. We created several triggers in the process and connected many teams. This had a direct impact on our results. For example, we currently have no payment delays whatsoever.” – Sérgio Marques, Processes and Projects Analyst at Ocean Network Express
“Pipefy has helped us to simplify supplier registration and payment. Nowadays, we have a single platform with approval flows and standardized and well-defined forms that became much easier to work with in our daily routine.” – Tercio Silva, Agency Accounting Expert Analyst at Ocean Network Express
Pipefy: the award-winning procurement solution
Pipefy’s procure-to-pay automation solution has been recognized as a leader on G2 and GetApp, voted easiest-to-use by reviewers on Capterra and G2, and was awarded Best Procure-to-Pay Software in the 2023 FinTech Breakthrough Awards.
In addition to being recognized as a leader in process automation, Pipefy AI was awarded the 2023 Future of Work Product of the Year Award for its first-of-its-kind technology that combines AI with no-code process automation. Pipefy is also recognized as a Deloitte Fast 500 company.