Four key ways to enhance the value and efficiency of P2P

Discover the four biggest lessons provided by PEX Network’s recent ’Enhancing the value and efficiency of P2P’ report

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Adam Jeffs

PEX Network’s recent report, Enhancing the value and efficiency of P2P, collates the advice of leading industry professionals from the likes of Rolls-Royce and Esker to offer procure-to-pay (P2P) practitioners essential visibility of the steps necessary for enhancing the P2P process during difficult times. There are several key lessons P2P practitioners are taking away from the report, among which we highlight four core areas below.

  1. The impact of Covid-19

Organizations across all industries have felt the sting of the Covid-19 pandemic and the disruption it has brought in one way or another. The P2P process, which is typically heavily paper-based, has felt enormous strain.

In the report, Esker sales director Daniel Reeve notes: “The pandemic has exposed already broken processes and made it even more painful to manage.”

Many organizations have responded well and a shift away from paper-based processes is now becoming necessary for businesses to remain competitive during the pandemic and maintain efficiency by working toward total process transparency. 

  1. Automation is key

The report reveals that one of the greatest weapons in the arsenal of P2P practitioners is the enhancement of the P2P process through the application of automation to various aspects and stages of the process.

“At one point in time, automated P2P may have been a ‘nice to have’, but demand is now being driven from the very top by C-level officers,” Reeve explains.

There are several areas in which automation can be applied to the P2P process, among which is the automation of invoices. The report offers the example of Luxasia, a retail organization which now automates its 36,000 annual supplier invoices and has experienced a 60 per cent increase in invoice processing speed.

The applications do not stop there, as Matt Evans, global process owner P2P at Rolls-Royce explains that advancement in automation technologies also includes optical character recognition, which can automatically read and document PDF files. This is utilised alongside automated SAP business warehouse reporting, which collects, transforms and stores data generated in SAP and non-SAP applications, making it easily accessible and visible.

Enhancing the value and efficiency of P2P

Want to learn how automating the procure-to-pay process can help organizations save money, enhance efficiency and improve supplier relationships?

Download PEX Network's report on enhancing the P2P process.

  1. Tools and technologies

Automation technologies are not the only advancements helping organizations to optimize the P2P process. Some larger organizations that purchase from hundreds and even thousands of active suppliers have, to their benefit, implemented technologies such as electronic data interchange (EDI).

EDI is a computer-to-computer technology, which enables instant exchange of documents between businesses, in a standard electronic format without any need for human manipulation. Supplier and vendor portals are also suggested, which allow for secure communication between buyers and suppliers, and have proven vital for overcoming invoice processing issues and queries at Rolls-Royce.

“Because suppliers need to know when they are getting paid, they should be in a place where they are prepared to interact with technology to make sure all the data from the request and the invoice match right away,” remarks Rolls-Royce’s Evans.

  1. Change management

Change management is essential to ensuring the successful adoption of P2P technologies, but it can require organizations to invest in training and coaching for employees. On the both the buyer and supplier sides, this will entail training in new skills and processes. It is necessary for both buyers and suppliers to demonstrate the opportunities involved with encouraging the adoption of new P2P technologies to ensure alignment of P2P processes.

“With suppliers and buyers trying to work on increasing the education and capability among both parties, we can get a whole industry to automate, saving money on both sides of the fence,” Evans explains.

Enhancing your P2P process with the latest tools and technologies can be fruitless if employees are not fully engaged or trained in new implementations. By ensuring that staff understand the benefits of new implementations, business should provide an incentive for smooth and successful adoption.

Download the full report here to uncover the full range of insights and advice for enhancing your P2P process.