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Should Your Purchasing Department Automate Its Invoice Processing?

While there’s no denying the fact that technology is now everywhere, that doesn’t mean it always lives up to its promises. Most businesses have gone through the process of getting excited about a specific piece of technology, only to have it fall short of the claims it makes. Because this can cause a business to invest time and resources into a solution that ultimately ends up not working out, plenty of businesses have a healthy dose of skepticism about adopting any new types of technology.

Although this outlook on things is completely understandable, it’s important for businesses to maintain the right perspective about technology. Despite some bumps along the way, that simple reality is that modern business is driven by advances in technology. Since technology is the best way for businesses to save time and money, businesses that constantly adopt the right solutions are able to gain a significant advantage over their competitors.

If you want to ensure that your business stays at the forefront of its industry instead of being at risk of falling behind, it’s important to be open to utilizing technology solutions with a track record of saving time and money. One solution that falls squarely into this category is to have your purchasing department automate. Even though it wasn’t that long ago when businesses had no choice but to manually process purchasing orders, that’s no longer the case.

And given the fact that manual processing has significant costs and resource requirements associated with it, this is something that businesses should automate as soon as possible. If your business understands the savings benefits associated with this form of processing but is concerned that implementing this type of system is going to be a major undertaking, you’ll be happy to know that Bellwether Purchasing Software offers a simple but powerful solution.

The Ideal Automation Solution for Small Business and Mid Market Purchasing Managers

The reason that Bellwether Purchasing Software has such a good track record is because it was specifically designed with small business and mid market purchasing managers in mind. Since it was built to make it possible to easily automate purchasing processes and eliminate paper, it has all the necessary features without any unneeded bloat.

Because our software was built with user friendliness in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it is incredibly easy to get up and running. Thanks to its availability as a secure SaaS solution, purchasing managers can fully use Bellwether Purchasing Software without needing to pull IT away from their other responsibilities.

Requisitioning, approval processes, PO generation, receiving, inventory, invoice matching and reporting are all features of our purchasing software. So if you’re ready to enjoy all the benefits of upgrading purchase order processing from a manual process to an automated one, contact us today.

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May 11, 2015
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BY Bellwether
How Setting Up PunchOuts to Vendors Will Benefit Your Business

A PunchOut provides a way to connect directly to vendors’ catalogs. By using a procurement software to set up PunchOuts, buyers have the ability to order directly through the web. Given all the benefits that this type of system can provide, it’s not surprising that usage of PunchOuts has seen an increase of 31% over just the last year.

While that is a notable amount of growth, many businesses still aren’t utilizing this system. When asked why, one of the most common responses is that businesses are concerned that the process of setting up this type of system is going to take too much time or require a large amount of resources. Although it is true that some setup is required, the process is simpler than most businesses expect. And given all the benefits of having PunchOuts in place, it’s an investment that businesses end up being very happy they made.

Whether you’re already on board with this concept but need some concrete points to help build your case or you’d like to know more about exactly what can be gained from PunchOuts, we want to take a look at look at the exact benefits that this practice can provide to a business:

No Maintenance Required for Purchasers

Once you get PunchOuts set up, you won’t have to worry about any ongoing maintenance. The reason is because any required catalog maintenance will be handled by the supplier. Since this isn’t something that your business will have to spend time doing, it will save you both time and money.

More Detailed Information

Not only are PunchOut catalogs really convenient, but they’re also very useful. Since being online means it’s easier for suppliers to properly maintain these types of catalogs, they provide purchasing managers with more detailed information. From current discounts to correct shipping costs, the fact that suppliers can do real-time updates is something that’s quite helpful for buyers.

Centralized and Simplified Purchasing

In addition to concerns about setting up PunchOuts, one of the other hesitations that purchasers have is that this system will get in the way of them being able to negotiate. However, thanks to the fact that negotiated prices can be hooked directly into the system, PunchOuts actually provide a way to promote purchasing consolidation, which in turn helps to maximize spend management.

Save Time and Increase Productivity

Since most purchasing managers already have a lot on their plate, there’s no reason that they should be spending their valuable time trying to navigate broken systems. By making the transition to PunchOuts, buyers will be able to save time, increase their productivity and focus their energy on the types of tasks that will have a very positive impact on the business as a whole. Bellwether Purchasing Software can help you make this transition easier. Contact us today to learn more.

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May 11, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Why Don’t Purchasing Managers Negotiate?

One of the things we’ve noticed over the course of working with a wide range of purchasing managers and suppliers is that the majority of purchasing managers don’t negotiate. This observation is based on our own experiences, as well as conversations with numerous suppliers. While suppliers aren’t complaining about the fact that more purchasing managers aren’t trying to negotiate, almost all of them have made it clear that they would be open to negotiating a deal.

Since this trend marks quite a bit of missed opportunities for most purchasing managers, we want to cover some tactics that any purchasing manager can use to easily negotiate more of their deals:

Take Time to Prepare

Research has found that 62% of people who engage in negotiations spend less than 60 minutes getting prepared. While that may not seem like a very big deal, the reality of negotiating is it’s all about how you go into this situation. Without proper preparation, the experience is going to be much more stressful than necessary. By taking the time to do all necessary research and really get yourself ready for the conversation, you’ll find that you have the confidence needed to be highly persuasive.

Utilize Open Questions

Because negotiations can take many different forms, there are numerous strategies that someone can utilize during the course of striking a deal. Open questions are one of the most underutilized forms of negotiating. The reason this type of question works so well during a negotiation is because it puts you in control by making it very difficult for the other party to evade what you’re asking.

Know What You’re Trying to Accomplish

Although this may sound obvious, plenty of people enter into situations involving a negotiation without first defining their specific objective. Since negotiations are all about give and take, it’s generally best to set an ideal objective, as well as a realistic objective. And depending on your willingness to work with a supplier, it may also make sense to have a walk away limit.

Don’t Be Overly Competitive

While negotiating can provide you with a rush of excitement, that doesn’t mean you want to get too caught up in the competitive aspect of this tactic. When people enter a negotiation with the outlook that they’re going to win every single deal point, they end up sabotaging what could have otherwise been a very positive experience for both parties.

As you can see from the above tactics, negotiating is a skill just like any other. As a result, it can take some time to feel really confident as a negotiator. But as long as you commit to negotiating and make an effort to continuously improve, you’ll be very happy with the results that you begin to get from this practice.

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May 11, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Mobile Stats Purchasing Managers Need to Know About

One of the many features that Bellwether Purchasing Software offers is the ability to approve requisitions and purchase orders from anywhere. As long as you have access to email or a web browser, you can complete this task. A big part of why this flexibility is good news for purchasing managers and others involved in the purchasing process is modern workflows continue to become more mobile.

A simple way to understand why mobile is having such a big impact on how people work is to look at existing consumer behavior. Since most people consistently use their phone from when they get up until they go to sleep, it’s easy to see how this behavior carries over into the workplace. The fact that the average person has their phone within reach for 14 hours a day is why Apple and other technology companies are betting so big on wearable devices like watches.

Understanding Just How Big Mobile Has Become

Although you can see mobile devices anywhere that you go, it’s still easy to forget just how much of a societal shift that these phones have caused. The best way to put the full impact of mobile into perspective is to dig into the numbers.

Currently, 378,000 iPhones are sold a day, while only 371,000 babies are born on a daily basis. The incredible popularity of the iPhone and other smartphones is why more people on earth own a mobile phone than do a toothbrush. It’s also why projections point towards the presence of 10 billion mobile connected devices by 2017.

Shopping is one of the behaviors that consumers regularly rely on their mobile device to do. Not only do 80% of consumers use their smartphone to shop, but 56% believe their mobile devices make shopping more enjoyable. And what may come as the biggest surprise is a full 25% of consumers do all of their online shopping via a mobile device.

Since these stats put into perspective just how big mobile has become, it’s easy to see why failing to embrace this trend would be a mistake for a business. But by making the transition to a more mobile workflow, businesses can ensure that their best practices don’t fall out of step with what’s happening around them.

Mobile Provides An Advantage in Both B2B and B2C

Regardless of the specific industry you’re in, your personal productivity will benefit from being empowered through mobile. Not only will mobile provide you with flexibility and the ability to stay on top of your work, but it will also benefit anyone who works with you. So if you want to feel more in control of your daily processes and less stressed out by your responsibilities as a purchasing manager, Bellwether Purchasing Software features like mobile accessibility will greatly benefit you. Contact us today to learn more.

 

April 23, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Procurement Best Practices in 2015

One of the big advantages of Bellwether Purchasing Software is that all vendor, price, procedural and other updates are automatic. That means these changes are seamlessly implemented without any need for technical support. The problem with many other types of purchasing software is automatic updates aren’t possible. Instead, all updates have to be pushed out in a manual and time-consuming manner.

With other forms of software that don’t support automatic updates, developers have a reason to avoid improving their software on a regular basis. But as anyone who works as a purchasing manager knows, this field continues to expand and evolve. As a result, many types of software quickly become outdated and end up making life harder for purchasing managers instead of helping them save time.

Since Bellwether Purchasing Software isn’t constrained by those types of limitations, we spend a lot of time speaking with purchasing managers about their workflow. By making these conversations a priority, we’re able to come up with new ideas that we can implement to make Bellwether Purchasing Manager Software even more useful. And because talking to purchasing managers allows us to stay on top of what’s happening in this line of work, we thought it would be helpful to spotlight a few of the best procurement practices for the current calendar year:

The Current State of Procurement

If you’ve been in this field for awhile, you probably remember a time when your primary mandate was to keep costs low. And your secondary mandate was likely along the lines of ensuring that supply is available at all times.

While we can all agree that thinking along those lines is outdated, the reason it’s worth bringing up is to show how far this field has come. In its current state, there are over a dozen responsibilities that professionals like purchasing managers must consistently deliver.

Identifying opportunities for savings, prioritizing improvement initiatives, delivering applicable quick win savings, improving spend visibility, ensuring proper integration and improving performance management are just a few examples of what’s required of modern purchasing managers.

How Procurement Best Practices Have Evolved

Since this field has seen such significant expansion, it’s not surprising that current best practices have evolved as well. While you could fill an entire book with the procurement best practices for 2015, the key takeaway is that this department needs to function in a way that’s active instead of reactive.

For example, procurement professionals now need to have a detailed understanding of their suppliers’ business practices. Although that’s a task that can take some time to accomplish, it’s the perfect example of the type of practice that needs to be in place so that a procurement department can run at optimal efficiency.

If you want to ensure you’re following best practices because you want to maximize your productivity, be sure to take a minute to contact us at Bellwether Purchasing Software to look at all the different ways we can help you achieve that goal.

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April 23, 2015
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BY Bellwether
What’s the Difference Between Strategic and Tactical Sourcing?

At Bellwether Purchasing Software, we’re committed to improving purchasing managers’ professional quality of life. Whether that means easily automating purchasing processes or providing clear information that can easily be shared with others, we consider ourselves advocates for this field.

Since purchasing isn’t a practice that exists in a bubble, we’ve found that employees from other departments often have questions about different topics that fall within the scope of procurement. One of those topics is what’s meant by the terms strategic sourcing and tactical sourcing. Because we know from our conversations with purchasing managers that this question comes up on a regular basis, we wanted to create a resource that purchasing managers could point people to or even print out as a resource.

What is Strategic Sourcing?

Holistic, long-term and systematic are the three terms that best describe strategic sourcing. The approach to sourcing focuses on both the current and future needs of a company. One of the main focuses of strategic sourcing is having both the lowest TCO and lowest supply line risk. A big part of how strategic sourcing operates is by creating a closed loop link. Since this loop exists between the supplier and customer, it becomes possible to improve elements like delivery on an ongoing basis.

In order for strategic sourcing to be carried out in the most efficient way possible, it needs to properly address relationship management, supplier evaluation and spend analysis.

What is Tactical Sourcing?

Whereas strategic sourcing takes a longer-term outlook, tactical sourcing focuses on activity that’s transactional and short-term. Although there are some aspects of tactical sourcing that can be reactive in nature, it does take a proactive approach to ensuring that purchases are made at optimal prices, as well as that supply is available when it is needed.

This type of sourcing is most commonly found within manufacturing companies that are small to medium in size. Another area where tactical sourcing significantly differs from strategic is there’s no emphasis placed on understanding a company’s overall requirements. The same goes for really digging into what a vendor is capable of doing in terms of helping a company. Instead, most of the quick quote and order processes used in tactical sourcing are focused on providing production operations with the support it requires.

While strategic sourcing may seem like the obvious choice for a company, there are plenty of companies who have found that tactical sourcing best fits their needs. That’s why Bellwether Purchasing Software is designed to fit into a company’s workflow instead of requiring them to change all of their practices. By offering this type of flexibility, our Purchase Manager Software makes it easy to get everyone on-board and subsequently enjoy all the rewards of a properly optimized procurement process.

April 22, 2015
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BY Bellwether
How to Decide on Purchasing Software for Your Business

When it comes to selecting a purchasing software program to help improve purchasing in your company there are several things to consider in your decision-making process. Purchasing software is one of the best investments you make in managing your business, cash flow, and purchasing activities. However, how much benefit you will receive and the ease of attaining those benefits depends on the type of software program that you have chosen. To ensure you don’t end up making the wrong choices, put the following factors into consideration and you will decide on the right software. You must always have the right picture of why you want to have such a software program in place for your business. You should not make the purchase and installation without a clear mind on what you expect at the end of the day.

People purchase software for different reasons, but it is important to take this decision seriously and give it the consideration necessary. Ideally, it must help address some of the recurring issues you are facing with purchasing and other supply or inventory related functions. List some of the main challenges that you expect the purchasing software to address in your company and that will be the starting point for your search, providing the necessary guidelines. After that, it will be good to come up with a workable budget as per the amount of money you have available to invest in new software. Look at the actual cost of the software and any subsequent costs related to installation or purchase of accompanying hardware. Getting rough estimates of that will give you an idea of the type of budget to draw up.

In the market, you will come across different companies selling different software programs. Consider several different ones and then narrow down to one that you will purchase. Look at the features of each software, its pros and cons to make sure your final choice is an informed one. Don’t fall for the first software that you come across without exploring several options across the market. Features of specific software will be the key to helping you decide on the best one. Make sure you put more emphasis on that whenever you are looking for the best purchasing software in the market.
Always ensure you have factored in the input of employees who will be using the software on a daily basis. They are the ones who understand the exact needs of the company and bypassing them would be a bad choice to make. They must be part of the software purchasing process and their input must be treated with importance. It will not be a bad idea to seek referrals from close friends or business associates you can trust on the best service provider to offer you a quality, effective and reliable software. This will be well complemented by making a detailed market research of the many purchasing software programs available.

You should buy purchasing software only after you are well aware of what you are embarking on and the reasons for doing that. Consider aspects like available budget, where to buy and who to involve in the whole process. That is the only sure way of buying purchasing software that best suits your company or business needs.

March 25, 2015
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BY Bellwether
Pro and Cons of Using E-procurement Software

E-procurement has become very effective following the advent of modern technology. It connects businesses directly to suppliers making procurement one of the easiest things to do. There is the e-procurement software which was designed to satisfy that and it is a good choice to go for. This article will take a look at the main pros and cons of using it for your company’s procurement.

On the downside, most of the challenges experienced with e-procurement emanate mostly from the supplier and not the company but can have an effect on the procurement process. Training cost may be high. Any time technology is involved there is some level of risk to compromised data. What of a supplier who has for all the years been handling clients on a face-to-face basis? E-procurement will definitely become a challenge but it should not be an excuse to ignore e-procurement software.

Starting with the positives, this software comes with a low cost for both technology and information thanks to the internet. You will find out that using the program will have be cost-effective for your buying as well as selling costs. If there were any barriers you were facing in penetrating the market they will be done away by this software.

The prices are more transparent so you shouldn’t expect to suffer from hidden charges while individual purchasing is completely avoided. Simply put; the power balance between sellers and buyers is improved. Integration between procurement chains is at its best when e-procurement software is used. The company will be in a position of managing transactions effectively and in an organized manner. If there are any delays in any procurement dealing it will be noted as early as possible while standardizing transactions are easy. As a business operator, this will give you the leeway to obtaining better price offers for the procured goods. For the long-term basis, that translates to cost saving. E-procurement facilitates for a shorter product development sequence.

This is attributed to the fact that information is exchanged at a high rate while delivery of products does not take long. Another benefit of e-procurement that may entice you is improved productivity which can be achieved even in a short-term, more immediate time frame. All the approved items are listed down on a catalogue making it easier for internal customers to pick what they want without much struggle. That relieves procurement staffers who can concentrate on more valued supplies which in-turn helps to enhance customer relations and strategic sourcing. Generally, e-procurement software improves controls within a company making sure compliance to policies and regulations is of the highest level and the approval process is standardized.

You will have no excuse not to embrace e-procurement because modern technology has become part of our lives. Unless you want to lag behind, you must have e-procurement software for your company’s procurement and stay afloat in the market. Always make sure you have chosen the right e-purchasing software program. Bellwether Purchasing Software is a flexible choice in purchasing software to fill the needs of your company. Contact us today to learn more.

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BY Bellwether
Considerations when Choosing Procurement Management Software

Procurement management software will help a business take care of any risks associated with purchase as well as suppliers. The procurement chain is usually subjected to many dangers that can result in heavy losses but you will be well protected with a software program. Since there are many programs in the market today, you should be extra careful on how you make your choices not to end up frustrated. The following tips will be helpful once considered. You must first have a good understanding of the diverse procurement management tools existing in the market. These will be helpful in collecting data about certain procurements, manage the workflow, manage the performance of suppliers as well as take care of the risks that might come up.

For the procurement software that you are considering make sure to look at the version that is currently in the market and when it was released. You should go for the latest release because it has all the advanced features and its effectiveness will be unmatched. You will only have yourself to blame in case the version you have selected has expired features and cannot help in streamlining your company procurement. Even though it’s impossible to have any software that is entirely free from viral attacks; that should be a key consideration when making purchases. It should have high resistance to such attacks through active scanning and elimination of detected bugs.

You must consider the analytical prowess of the procurement management software you buy because you are well aware that procurement responsibilities are many at your company. The software should be in a position of handling all the information collected from the supplier and that will help in making good decisions for the sake of the company. Don’t just choose a program because you have come across it or your competitor has one. There are several other tools and hardware that your software program will require in working effectively. You have to ensure the software you have purchased for your procurement management is compatible with all your other systems. It should never work as a lone-ranger but in tandem with other related tools.

The software program should also not experience problems working with your computer system. The reputation of your procurement management software program matters a lot and must be among the considerations you make during purchase. Is it suitable for performing as you expect? Is it reliable enough? Those are the queries you must seek answers to in determining its reputation. The company that manufactures the software must as well have the best reputation including good market presence and enough experience. Never gamble around with such a vital decision that will have great impact to your company’s procurement process. Contact us at Bellwether Purchasing Software today for your free live demo.

The procurement management software program you end up choosing for your business should be the right one and not one that which will give you problems. It should be reliable, effective and of good market reputation for a guarantee that it is well suited. Don’t just choose any PO software you come across without proper considerations.

February 27, 2015
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BY Bellwether
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