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Ultimate Guide in Selecting the Right Purchase Order Software for Your Business

Purchase order software is essential for businesses who want to save time and money by automating the purchase order process and controlling costs. Whether you’re new to using purchase order management software or have used it in the past and are looking to retire your current software, selecting the right purchasing software is critical when it comes to your business.

What are the essential features you should look for?

When trying to decide which purchase order software is right for your business, there are a few features you should look for before deciding to make a purchase.

Vendor Database

This is crucial if you have a lot of vendors or want a simplified way to manage them. A vendor database lets you track information about vendors, view order and payment history, and even service terms. You can easily compare vendors to make important decisions and remind yourself of current service terms to make sure your relationships with vendors are the best they can be.

Automation

Productivity is an absolute necessity when it comes to a bustling business. Automation allows you to streamline workflows to get tasks done quickly and correctly. Good purchase order software should be able to keep crucial information in one spot and automatically approve purchase orders based on customizable key factors, such as price.

Purchase Order Documents

The documents that you need for your business should be easy to find so that you can easily track procurements inside your business and create beneficial communication between your business and your vendors. These documents should be able to tell you crucial information such as who the vendor is, what items were purchase, when the PO was created and who created it.

Tracking Information

While customers will want to easily track their purchases, tracking can offer benefits within your company as well. For production, being able to track orders allows your employees to be more productive by preparing for future purchase orders. Customer service teams will also use tracking to find important information your customers might be searching for, so you can easily provide your customers with the information they need for outstanding customer service.

Streamline Approvals and Requisitions

PO software offers business the opportunity to clearly define and refine their requisition and approval process to make it easier to control costs and increase efficiency. Your software should help implement a more manageable approval process and automate as much as the process as possible.

Matching Purchase Orders and Invoices

While purchase orders and invoices are two different types of documents, they are both important for maintaining a successful business. While purchase orders may list prices, they are not an invoice, so your software should be able to turn purchase orders into invoices that you can send to customers and keep on file. Instead of creating a new invoice from scratch, you can use information already in a customer’s PO and let the software do it for you.

Other considerations when purchasing procurement software

Making the right choice is crucial when it comes to selecting purchase order software. Depending on your current business landscape and procurement process, there are a few more considerations you should make when making such an important decision.

Software Version

When you’ve narrowed down your search to just a few purchase order software options, you should take a look at the current software on the market. If you can find software released recently, that will have all of the advanced features with unmatched effectiveness. If you choose an older version, you may end up with expired features that are no longer effective at streamlining the procurement process.

Virus Protection

Your software should have high resistance to viral attacks through active scanning and detection and an ability to eliminate any viruses so that you can protect your information and keep your procurement process functioning optimally.

Analytics

Because purchase order software is all about handling information, it’s important to make sure the software you choose has the ability to manage and analyze all of the information that is crucial to your business decisions.

Compatibility

You’ll want to make sure the software you choose is compatible with other programs and systems. It should never work alone, but with your vast network of business programs, such as QuickBooks to ensure efficiency and productivity.

Reputation

The best way to make your final decision is to look at reviews and past performances of the software. The reputation of the software can help you choose between few or many systems and quickly help you narrow down the search. You can find reviews online and on the company website, along with case studies from previous customers.

How to choose for the right vendor

Now that you know the essential considerations to make, it’s time to choose the right vendor. This process doesn’t have to be complicated and can be done with the help of your management team or on your own.

Figure out what you need

There are different types of procurement software that can range from simple applications to more robust systems. The prices will usually depend on which level of procurement software you purchase, so it’s important to make sure you know what you need. You can speak to management and everyone who uses and will use the software to make sure you gather a list of your business’s needs. In some cases, you’ll find that you were looking at an expensive vendor with a robust system that seemed like the right fit, but based on your list, you may not need to spend as much on that system and can go for less robust, simpler software that’s cheaper and will fit your business needs much better.

Check Credentials and Customer Reviews

When you’ve found a list of possible vendors, it’s important to check their credentials and certificates. You need to make sure your vendor is qualified for businesses just like yours. While some vendors may look ideal, you’ll find through further review that this vendor isn’t right for you. On the other hand, you may find a vendor with great reviews and intriguing case studies that you weren’t considering before. It’s important to make sure you look past any beautiful websites and dig deep for vital information about what other businesses say about the vendor.

Check for hidden fees

Procurement software vendors will sometimes list their pricing on their website, but do not include hidden fees upfront. You may need to do some digging to find out what else they charge for to decide if they are right for you.

Test Drive

The best way to decide if a vendor is right for you is to take a test drive. Many procurement software vendors do allow you a free trial for a specific amount of time that you can use to make your final decision. You can do trial procurement runs to make sure the software has everything you’ll need to run your businesses more efficiently.

Ask Questions

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to only a couple of possible vendors, you should ask questions to make sure they can fit your needs. Whether you’ve done a trial or not, you should contact the vendor with any additional questions you have. You never want to just purchase procurement software when you still have questions because this can disrupt your entire purchase process when the time comes to use the software.

May 21, 2019
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BY Bellwether
Acquisitions Tips for Start Ups and Entrepreneurs

There are a variety of reasons why a company may make an acquisition. If a company is growing quickly, one of the most compelling reasons to make an acquisition is it can accelerate growth. Whether it’s talent or innovations, an acquisition in this type of scenario can shorten the amount of time it takes to hit the next milestone.

 

Although that scenario makes acquisitions sound very appealing, it’s important to understand that they’re by no means a guarantee of success. In fact, the majority of acquisitions fail. That truth spans from the smallest of businesses to huge corporations. So even though acquisitions offer so much potential, why is it rare for them to be truly successful?

 

The issue of acquisition failures comes down to a few issues. Those issues include incorrectly identifying targets, taking the wrong approach to financing and not properly integrating an acquisition. Since there are some very real challenges that stand in the way of making an acquisition successful, we want to cover the four most important elements entrepreneurs need to evaluate to get the results they actually desire from an acquisition:

 

The Right Timing

 

Many people underestimate just how big of a role timing plays in whether or not a startup is successful. Timing is just as important for acquisitions. A business needs to be at the right stage for an acquisition to work. One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is doing an acquisition because they think it will fix their weaknesses. If a business isn’t currently in a position of stability, they shouldn’t be thinking about an acquisition.

 

Exponential Value

 

One of the reasons entrepreneurs should always think big is there’s a lot of risk involved in bringing a vision to life. As a result, there needs to be a very big upside. This same principle applies directly to acquisitions. Bringing two businesses together will need to create significantly more value (and definitely not less).

 

Opportunity to Negotiate

 

It’s important for an acquisition to be a good deal. That’s why there needs to be room for negotiation. Not only is negotiation important on the financial side of things, but if a company that’s being looked at for an acquisition isn’t willing to do any negotiating, chances are they’re going to drag down the entire acquisition process.

 

A Clear Way to Integrate

 

Even if the first three elements are in place, it’s still vital to have a clear way to integrate the acquisition. Without a clear vision for integration, an acquisition is almost guaranteed to fall short of expectations.

 

While there’s still no way to guarantee that an acquisition will be successful, focusing on these four elements is the best way for an entrepreneur to make an acquisition work as expected.

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January 15, 2016
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BY Bellwether
What Traits Do the Best Procurement Professionals Have?

As the role of procurement continues to increase in scope and importance across organizations, more people are looking at exactly what makes great procurement professionals. While there was a time when procurement was an afterthought for many organizations, its increased role means organizations are looking for talented individuals who can deliver the results needed to thrive. Because countless organizations simply don’t know what they should look for in a procurement professional, we want to provide some clarity by highlighting the five traits that matter most:

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January 14, 2016
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BY Bellwether
Learn Why Companies Should Care About Spend Analytics

Anyone who has come into contact with spend analytics knows they can provide clear information on spending activity. While that can be useful, the reason companies should care about these types of analytics is the information they can offer goes beyond just spending. Specifically, it can help a company increase productivity. It can also boost savings by making it possible to streamline existing purchase-to-pay practices.

 

How exactly can spend analytics help your business increase savings and streamline its practices? The answer is by identifying some specific areas that can be improved, which are:

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January 14, 2016
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BY Bellwether
What’s the Best Way to Approach Contract Management?

Contracts are crucial for enterprises. Without them, there wouldn’t be a way to cement the relationships that enterprises have with their suppliers. Given that suppliers are the source of goods and services that enterprises require to remain functional, it’s easy to understand why contracts are something that need to be taken seriously. Although contracts serve a very important function for enterprises, that doesn’t mean they’re always handled properly.

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January 14, 2016
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BY Bellwether
Does Purchasing Automation Benefit the Procure-to-Pay Process?

Regardless of the size of a company or its specific industry, the activities of procurement and accounts payable impact each other. Because of this link, a company’s goal should be to maximize the efficiency of both departments. Doing so has very clear benefits, especially in regards to the procure-to-pay process.

One of the best ways to reap all of those benefits is to automate procure-to-pay activities. Purchasing automation offers efficiency and speed improvements that simply aren’t possible through any other means.

Automating Procure-to-Pay

Automation directly impacts procurement staff. Once automation is introduced into this environment, it provides procurement professionals with what they need to operate at a higher level of both efficiency and productivity. What’s even more appealing about those gains is they can then help to reduce the staffing costs that go along with processing orders. Instead of spending large amounts of time on basic tasks related to the purchasing process, members of this department can focus their attention on activities that create far more value.

Key Benefits of Procure-to-Pay Automation

Once procure-to-pay processes are automated, a business will notice faster cycle times. The second notable benefit of purchasing automation is increased efficiency for purchase order processing. Because an automated system takes care of routing information in the most efficient way possible, previously wasted time caused by communication inefficiencies is eliminated.

The third benefit that’s very meaningful for businesses is that procurement employees are able to process significantly more purchase orders. That benefit stems from purchasing automation directly assisting with common tasks like purchase order generation.

Another benefit that goes along with automating procurement is a reduction in supplier lead times. The clear and consistent data sharing provided by automation ensures that suppliers have everything they need to avoid delays.

Moving Towards Purchasing Automation

Once businesses learn about all of the benefits that procurement automation has to offer, they generally want to learn more about what it takes to make this transition. When this topic comes up, it’s generally a good time to review the current strategy that’s in place for managing procurement. Looking at the current state of areas like receiving and invoicing provides an opportunity to identify key areas for improvement.

The good news about purchasing automation is not only is it very beneficial, but it’s easier to implement than many companies expect. With the right purchase order software, companies can get all the features they need. From customized work flows to purchase order generation, quality purchasing software puts all the power of automation into a straightforward interface.

To see exactly what purchasing automation can do for your business, be sure to set up a free live demo of Bellwether Purchasing Software.

 

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November 24, 2015
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BY Bellwether
A Buyer’s Guide to Preparing a Purchase Order

A purchase order (PO) plays an integral part in the purchasing process. This document lets a seller know that a buyer is ready to place a formal order. Because this document does serve as a contract between the buyer and seller, it’s important for it to include all relevant information.

Price

It’s critical for the price to be clearly stated on the PO. Since it’s common for buyers and sellers to negotiate price, the PO needs to show the price that was agreed upon. If a purchase order doesn’t include price information, it won’t be helpful later in the event of a dispute.

Quantity

In terms of areas where buyers can gain leverage for negotiating, quantity is at the top of the list. Simply put, higher quantities make sellers more willing to negotiate on price and other terms. One of the many benefits of purchasing software is it makes it easy to ensure orders are made together in maximum quantity instead of being spread out across multiple smaller orders.

Latest Ship Date

One of the most common mistakes organizations make with purchase orders is failing to negotiate a latest ship date and then putting that date on the PO. Knowing the absolute latest an order will be sent out is the only way to know when it will be available to actually put into inventory.

Terms of Sale

In addition to pricing, a well-done purchase order should cover all other relevant terms of sale. From how payment will be handled to specifying expected quality, using a purchase order to cover these details ahead of time is the best way to avoid a future dispute.

Marking Requirements

During the rush of trying to put together a purchase order, it’s easy to overlook seemingly small details like marking requirements. However, overlooking this detail can result in products getting stuck in customs. To avoid that type of delay, ensure that all required markings are specified on the purchase order.

Purchasing Software Simplifies Purchase Order Generation

There’s a lot that goes into correctly preparing a purchase order. As a result, the process of preparing one manually can take up a lot of time. For businesses that want to ensure this task is done correctly and maximize efficiency, purchase order software is the ideal option.

With the help of software, purchasing managers and anyone else involved in procurement will have everything they need at their fingertips. Not only do customized work flows make preparing and generating accurate purchase orders a breeze, but this type of software streamlines numerous other tasks like vendor research and vendor negotiations.

To learn more about how software can make it easier than ever to correctly prepare purchase orders, take a look at the full list of features offered by Bellwether Purchasing Software.

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November 24, 2015
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BY Bellwether
How to Measure Purchasing Performance

In recent years, purchasing departments have begun to play a more significant role within many organizations. A big driver of this shift has been the realization by companies of all sizes that purchasing can actually provide a competitive advantage. As a result of this increased significance, it’s important for companies to understand how to properly measure purchasing performance.

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November 18, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Why Should Hotels Automate Inventory and Procurement?

E-procurement can provide numerous operational benefits to hotels that make the transition to this type of system. To help demonstrate exactly why automating inventory and procurement should be a top priority for hotels as 2015 winds down and 2016 gets nearer, we want to highlight the most significant benefits:

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November 18, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Is Moving to the Cloud the Right Step for Businesses?

Even though it has many common characteristics of a buzzword, the cloud has proven itself to be a lasting shift across the business landscape. As costs continue to come down and options mature in the functionality they provide, businesses continue to shift their operations to cloud platforms.

If your company is exploring different cloud opportunities, we have several important considerations to share with you:

Staying Agile

There’s a lot to be said for businesses that are able to maintain agile operations. Even as a business grows, staying agile can provide a significant competitive advantage. One big selling point of the cloud is it supports an agile approach to doing business. Because the cloud makes it possible to keep information shared and updated across an entire organization, it’s possible to avoid the types of communication barriers that can start to slow down a business as it grows in size.

Falling Costs and Increasing Functionality

A big part of why so many businesses choose to move forward with their transition to the cloud is because the numbers make so much sense. As competition continues to increase among cloud vendors, prices continue to be pushed down. The attractive pricing options for cloud technology makes it all that much easier for businesses to transition. What’s really great for businesses that want to use cloud technology is the increasing competition also means vendors are providing as many useful features as possible.

Focused Solutions

One thing that often gets overlooked in discussions about businesses and the cloud is this transition doesn’t have to be an all or nothing choice. Instead, businesses can take advantage of focused offerings to move the parts of their operations that make sense to the cloud.

Although there are exceptions, this type of targeted transition is generally the best option for the majority of small to medium businesses. The reason this approach works so well is it allows businesses to take advantage of the best cloud technologies that are available without facing any type of large technical hurdles.

A great example of a piece of focused cloud technology that can greatly benefit businesses is purchasing software. Because the purchase order software offered by Bellwether is 100% web-based, it’s easy to access from anywhere. Not only is this software specifically designed to give purchasing managers everything they need to be as efficient as possible, but it makes it possible to customize to specific needs.

From easily automating purchasing processes to enforcing budget thresholds, our cloud software is the top choice of small and mid market purchasing managers. Best of all, the fact that it’s based in the cloud means that it doesn’t require IT support. If you want to see exactly how our cloud solution can help your business save money through increased efficiency, we encourage you to take advantage of our 30 day free trial or let us walk you through a free live demo.

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September 21, 2015
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BY Bellwether
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