Upgrading Procurement & Supply Chain with Catalytic Automation

Jeff Grisenthwaite

Jeff Grisenthwaite

· 3 min read

procurement digital-transformation

Within large enterprises, procurement and supply chain management are faced with the challenge of containing costs, reducing risk, and achieving better results through suppliers, while struggling with insufficient headcount and resources to manage a complex sea of purchases and vendors. While budgets may have increased slightly in the past year for some departments, most feel like they still have too much to do and not enough staff to do it.

Catalytic can help.

Procurement departments can use the latest in AI and automation technology on Catalytic as a force multiplier of current staff to replicate those gold-standard procedures that may only be used with your largest vendors to apply across all vendors.

Benefits of Automation for Procurement

There are a wide array of areas that Catalytic can bring benefits to Procurement and Supply Chain Management. Below are a handful of examples that capture some key use cases in which companies are reaping benefits today:

  • Crowdsourcing Vendor Performance & Value: For every vendor, automate periodic collection of feedback from the people who are in a position to rate the vendor’s quality of products, quality of service, results vs. contract metrics, value compared to cost, and how they may stack up against competitive vendors. Catalytic can augment this data with other data sets, such as fees, usage, uptime, on-time delivery, etc. to report out a holistic picture of vendor performance. Gathering this feedback automatically on a regular basis enables the Procurement department to focus energies on vendors that are underperforming, overcharging, or in a competitive market. Then, Catalytic can automate customized remediation plans targeted to each vendor and track execution against those plans.

  • Data Cleaning & Consolidation: Intelligent automation can help to wrangle the data that is spread across multiple sources, often with mismatching identifiers, missing data points, and outdated or erroneous information. By connecting to key systems of record (such as Ariba, Coupa, Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, Workday Netsuite, etc.), an intelligent automation platform can scan for bad data and automatically reach out to the vendor or contacts out in the business to gather the inputs to validate or rectify. Additionally, most Procurement departments have their “shadow” systems of record in the form of Excel workbooks, which are both inefficient and risky. By moving this to a flexible cloud database, you can secure the data, connect it to other systems, apply automations and reporting on top of it, and enforce process for additions and updates.

  • Automating Contract Compliance Review & Remediation: How many of your contracts are out of compliance? Given the volume of contracts most organizations are not able to spend a lot of time on contracts beyond the initial negotiation and signing. By automating reviews of active contracts and using natural language processing to scan for terms and exceptions, Procurement departments can substantially reduce the unknown risks that may be lurking in the hundreds or thousands of contracts that were signed months or years ago but are still active. So that this does not simply create a mountain of work for Procurement staff, the remediation can also be automated–assigning tasks to vendors to take the initial pass to correct any issues.

  • Standardizing Purchasing Processes: With flexible workflow that can include communications with procurement staff, employees throughout the business, as well as suppliers, everyone can be included in the same process. Intelligent automation can make the process feel lightweight and easy for everyone by taking care of a lot of the tedious work, such as shuttling data into systems, creating documents and spreadsheets, collecting e-signatures, scheduling meetings in Outlook, and sending reminders when people are late in completing tasks.

  • Supplier Certification & Insurance Tracking: With intelligent automation, suppliers could be automatically contacted on a recurring basis and asked to communicate their current status of their required certifications or insurance and upload certificates to prove it. When suppliers are not in compliance, they can receive automated reminders until they return to compliance. Reports of supplier compliance levels can be generated on-demand or scheduled to be delivered on a timely basis.

Getting Started

While intelligent automation on Catalytic can be a transformational change for Procurement and Supply Chain, it can start with low-risk, low-effort exploratory steps and build from there. Our recommendations are:

  1. Identify 1-3 needs or processes that could benefit from intelligent automation. Use the examples above as inspiration.
  2. Run those use cases through this Automation ROI Calculator to validate that they’re good candidates for automation.
  3. Connect with us to discuss implementation and pricing – we expect you’ll be pleasantly surprised.