New age of procurement: What procurement looks like in the 21st century

There is a simple solution for everything. The complex and time-consuming search, selection, ordering and invoicing of purchased goods and services is now as easy as entering a food delivery via an app thanks to SAP Ariba.

Thanks to new technologies and the change in people’s attitude, procurement is also undergoing a fundamental change. In an effort to achieve the lowest possible purchase prices and make the purchasing process more efficient, many companies are abandoning the old way of procurement and purchasing and switching to purchasing through digital business networks. Selecting and clicking on a company order in them is as easy as ordering food delivery via an app.

From paper catalogues to emailto a special application

The role and importance of procurement in the company’s processes have become key factors in keeping company operations efficient in recent years. Getting to this strategically important point was not easy. In the past, procurement was a time-consuming and often frustrating process, especially for companies that needed material or goods immediately. Processes were decentralised, i.e. uncoordinated, and it was extremely difficult to have an overview of the quality of the products and more favourable prices offered by competitors. Support for procurement through enterprise information systems has helped significantly but, today, with tools such as digital business networks, cloud applications and big data tools, procurement staff can use a fully digitalised, efficient solution that greatly benefits them and their colleagues and significantly simplifies their work.

SAP Ariba – efficient corporate procurement

The SAP Ariba digital business network makes it possible to connect the requests from employees in individual departments to the ordering process itself, to ensure the digital approval of purchase requests, as well as to completely eliminate the use of paper in internal communication and in communication with suppliers. In other words, one solution connects all the participants in the process, from the employee who enters the purchase request, the workers who approve this request, the purchasing and financial department staff, to its suppliers.

All of this saves work. SAP Ariba facilitates simpler maintenance of digital catalogues and automatic updating of order status based on confirmation by the supplier, and eliminates the need to check supplier invoices that can be digitally entered into the company information system and automatically validated.

Analyses, data, a fair offer – SAP Ariba will deliver all this to your company

In addition to managing the ordering process, SAP Ariba is able to perform purchasing analyses in real time, evaluate suppliers, their identification and bidding, evaluate supplier bids, and prepare, process, and facilitate the commenting of contracts with suppliers, and much more. All this within a unified environment that can be accessible to all employees depending on their authorisation.

If you are on the buyer’s side, SAP Ariba brings you a range of benefits. From saving manual work, automating processes, speeding up the purchasing cycle, eliminating paper documentation through a unified view of suppliers, their search and evaluation, to increasing the rate of strategic purchases, limiting “maverick” purchases and increasing the transparency of the entire process and “compliance”. In addition, SAP Ariba can be connected to an enterprise information system, so that all transactions carried out within SAP Ariba will also be recorded in the accounting system without the need for duplicate data entry.

Suppliers benefit as well. Connecting to the digital network delivers automation and simplified processing of orders from customers, while creating a new distribution channel. This allows them to contact a larger group of customers without incurring those costs typically associated with building a new sales channel or when entering a new market.

Can artificial intelligence replace procurement staff?

While this kind of digital transformation is under way, it may become intensified by new, improved tools such as solutions for the Internet of Things, robotics or tools designed to process large volumes of data or artificial intelligence (AI). They will allow processes to be automated to a greater extent than before. Robots that mine historical data of individual purchases will be controlled by artificial intelligence to automatically order material items before their stock falls below a safety level. The necessary material will be available in a timely manner without tying up too much financial resources in warehouse stocks.

But how will it affect procurement staff? Will they become surplus to needs? Just the opposite. Using tools like SAP Ariba will relieve them of unnecessary manual activities, so they will be able to focus more on more responsible tasks that will be of strategic importance to the organisation. In addition to the continued reduction of costs and the increase of process efficiency thanks to the cooperation and connection of employees, customers, suppliers within digital business networks, as well as due to the greater focus of procurement workers on strategic activities with higher added value, the importance of purchasing departments for the fulfilment of organisational goals will continue to grow.

SAP Ariba is a simple solution to complicated and lengthy procurement processes. In one application, the company clicks on an order, processes it, announces a tender or compares the prices of competitors. For the company, SAP Ariba is a guarantee of transparency and fairness of business conditions, which improves market quality. Regular analyses, a high degree of automation and streamlining of the entire process are of key and strategic importance for the company. So why not use it in your company? Learn more about SAP Ariba and its benefits.