Procurement teams provide critical insights to inform business strategy. The right tools can bring their strategic value into even clearer focus.
Procurement teams have a critical role to play in business strategy.
Identifying opportunities to cut costs is one of the most important ways they do this. Procurement teams also share crucial data and information that business leaders need in order to make choices, set strategy, and stay competitive. Finally, procurement teams are responsible for anticipating and responding to disruptions in the supply chain and their own processes.
To do any of these effectively, they need the right tools.
Strategic essentials: agility and autonomy
Procurement teams need solutions that help them navigate disruptions to their processes and to their supply chains. They also need enough autonomy to stay agile and respond quickly as business realities change.
No-code business process automation (or simply “no-code automation”) meets both needs. By eliminating or reducing the coding required to build, change, or automate a process, no-code empowers business users with an IT-sanctioned toolbox.
But what does that look like?
No-code process automation is a combination of two different types of tools. First, process management capabilities structure and standardize processes to improve their consistency. Once processes (and workflows) are structured, these tools can be used to automate certain tasks. Think of recurring activities such as notifying approvers when an invoice needs their attention, or updating a system whenever new information is received.
The no-code element of these platforms solves the problem of IT intervention for every process change or automation request. A no-code user interface makes it easy for procurement teams to build and manage their processes and workflows on their own. Not only does this increase procurement team autonomy, it also helps conserve valuable IT resources.
Because no-code automation makes it quick and easy to optimize processes, they also help procurement teams transform their process architecture and act as a strategic business partner.
Helping procurement teams play a bigger role in strategy
Business strategy is most effective when it’s informed by all stakeholders. Procurement teams have influence over — and insights into — activities that have a direct impact on revenue and performance. In general, procurement teams help the business achieve its goals in four key ways:
- Identifying and seizing opportunities to cut costs.
- Providing visibility and insights that can help drive better decisions.
- Mitigating risks arising from fraud, errors, or failures to comply.
- Ensuring that goods, materials, and services are available when needed.
Procurement teams are on the front lines when it comes to business expenses. From vendor management and negotiation to paying invoices on time to avoid late fees, procurement teams act as the vanguard that protects the business against unnecessary expenses and waste.
Automation is particularly important when it comes to cost containment. No-code simplifies automation so that procurement teams can regularly automate their workflows and processes themselves. The less time employees spend on repetitive manual tasks, the more time they have for building relationships with vendors, negotiating costs, and solving for inefficiencies in the procurement process that waste time and money.
Making data-driven decisions
Another way no-code process automation helps procurement teams participate in business strategy is through data. No-code tools make it easy for teams to view KPIs and metrics, build reports, and assess the overall health of the procurement process.
Today, the combination of no-code with artificial intelligence simplifies and speeds up data analysis even further. For example, Pipefy AI can help teams uncover trends and identify opportunities for improvement. Pipefy AI can determine root causes for late payments, calculate average lead times, spot issues with miscategorized documents or suppliers, and generate reports in seconds.
Finally, one critical function of the procurement team is its ability to identify and mitigate certain risks. These include fraud, error, and non-compliance.
Procurement teams that use no-code automation have access to a toolbox that helps them manage these types of risks. Workflows and processes can be built with safeguards such as mandatory approvals or rules that require documentation or three-way matching closure before a payment is issued.
Automation itself can reduce the number of errors, since most errors are the result of human input. By automating activities such as manual data entry across different systems, there are fewer opportunities for costly mistakes.
Finally, deep visibility into procurement activities, metrics, and KPIs is a key element of risk mitigation. No-code allows procurement teams to build reports, track key metrics, and automate notifications that can prevent late payments and alert teams of process anomalies. Audit logs and role-based permissions give teams even more control and visibility into procurement team activities.
The addition of artificial intelligence to process automation solutions enhances these capabilities by allowing procurement teams to analyze large amounts of data in seconds.
Navigating disruptions and change
Procurement teams deal with change on a daily basis. Prices and demand fluctuate, processes evolve, and vendors come and go. To manage these changes, procurement teams need tools that can easily and quickly adapt to new realities.
No-code tools are designed for flexibility. Workflows and processes are easily customized to meet the procurement team’s needs at any given time without constantly submitting tickets to IT. (IT teams maintain full control over all processes — they just don’t have to manage every change themselves.)
For example, if the process for evaluating vendors changes, no-code tools make it easy for the procurement team to modify the workflows and customize their forms to accommodate these changes. Or, if a new layer of approval is needed before an invoice can be paid, procurement teams can simply adjust the current workflow to assign a new reviewer automatically. Rules and conditionals can be applied to ensure that these approvals are sent to the right person, every time.
Choosing a process automation solution
Procurement teams have a lot of choices when it comes to selecting a process automation tool. What is right for one team won’t necessarily be the best fit for another. In general, the options fall into one of two categories:
- Vertical or point solutions that are built specifically for procurement.
- Adaptable process automation tools that can be used by any team or department, including procurement.
This second category of process automation tools includes those that are most customizable and flexible; they can easily be made to adapt to the unique needs of each procurement team, as well as other departments and teams. One benefit of this type of tool is that it makes data centralization and process orchestration across the business much easier.
Pipefy is a tool of this type. By combining process management and automation capabilities with a no-code user interface and generative AI, Pipefy gives procurement (and other) teams everything they need to become the strategic partners businesses rely on to execute their strategy and meet their goals.
Pipefy: product overview
Below is a product overview of Pipefy’s process optimization capabilities and features.
|Industry-leading security features are built-in. MFA, SSO using Auth0, 2FA, audit logs, and 256-bit encryption in-transit and at rest. Role-based permission management, ISO 27001 certification, AWS Qualified, and an uptime of 99.9% or higher.
Learn more about security with Pipefy.
|300+ integrations available out of the box, including SAP, NetSuite, Quickbooks, and Sage Intacct. Additional integrations through Workato or API, and custom integrations available for any tech stack, no matter how complex.
|Implementation is swift, straightforward, and secure. Broad integration capabilities dissolve data silos and ease the implementation process. The no-code framework eliminates the steep learning curve and removes common barriers to adoption.
The result is faster time-to-value.
|Ease of use
|Built with business users in mind. Pipefy’s user interface is intuitive and friendly. Procurement teams can build, modify, and automate their workflows and processes quickly. Teams can build workflows from scratch, modify a template, or let Pipefy AI build it to their specifications.
|Pipefy is readily customizable and can be used to build or manage any type of process or workflow, no matter how complex.
|Pipefy AI enhances team productivity and efficiency by helping teams build processes and providing deep data insights in seconds.
|Pipefy adapts to team needs and can be used by any department to manage any type of process or workflow.