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Best Purchasing and Inventory Management Solution that Syncs With Quickbooks

If you run a small business, you’re probably using QuickBooks accounting software – at least in some capacity – to keep track of your finances. You may know that QuickBooks, no matter which version you are using, has a basic purchase order system that lets you create and track your purchase orders. While this feature is extremely helpful and convenient, you’ll see that as your business grows, so does your need for a more robust purchasing system.

What many businesses really need is powerful purchasing and inventory software that allows them to handle the procurement process in a single, easy-to-use platform. When you integrate Bellwether with Quickbooks, you can expect more efficient purchase order management and customizable approval workflows that streamline all aspects of the purchasing function.

What QuickBooks Can Do

No matter which version of QuickBooks you are using, you are able to:

  • Create Purchase Orders
  • Enter Vendor Invoices
  • Track Stock Items

While this may be enough for a business just starting out or for specific business models, it does not create an efficient purchasing function for small businesses with broad inventories, or for those who plan to grow and require more powerful purchasing and inventory functions. 

What QuickBooks Can’t Do

Inventory Control

QuickBooks offers a basic inventory tracking function, however, it is not as robust as many businesses need. At the basic level, tracking your inventory can actually cost your business valuable time and money.

Bellwether’s software syncs with QuickBooks to track inventory across multiple warehouses and locations. This allows you to run your operations in less time and eliminate costly errors, which improves your inventory process, lowers your overall costs, and increases your profits.

Bellwether inventory management software extends the basic accounting features of Quickbooks to give users the ability to synchronize inventory items, vendors, purchase orders, and invoices.

Controlling Your Spend

Maverick spending gets a lot of businesses in trouble. Often times, the procurement department is using manual processes to keep track of their inventory, which can lead to items being checked out and not reported or mysteriously going missing. This can lead to unnecessary spending and bad purchasing decisions because the purchasing department simply doesn’t know what they do and do not have in stock.

By syncing QuickBooks and Bellwether, it’s easier to understand your inventory and know what you need to order and when. You can even plan for the future and uncover how often certain items need to be reordered.

Invoice Matching

When you create a purchase order, you need the ability to create an invoice with the exact same information. This process can be time-consuming and unnecessary with the use of purchasing software for small businesses. By syncing Bellwether with QuickBooks purchase order software, you can match invoices against purchase orders and delivery slips to ensure the accuracy of your invoice processing.

Unnoticed mistakes happen all the time in a fast-paced, busy office, especially when documentation isn’t properly cross-checked, such as invoices and purchase orders to ensure proper pricing, and the correct number of items. Never let mistakes go unnoticed again – start using a better procurement function that allows your staff to quickly and easily check delivery slips, invoices, and purchase orders. Minimize mistakes and losses while maximizing gains.

Eliminate Manual Processes

When you first started your business, the manual processes you used may have been effective enough. However, you’ve most likely realized that you are spending too much time searching for the correct documentation, or creating purchase orders and invoices that match.

With Bellwether’s cloud-based procurement software, you can create purchase orders in QuickBooks and store all of your data and documents in one system. You can then access your data quickly and easily from virtually anywhere using a computer or smartphone.

Eliminating paper or spreadsheet-based processes will allow you to handle the procurement function more easily and eliminates the potential for human error. If you like paper documents, you can always print out your procurement records for your own safekeeping as well.

Approval Workflow

In most businesses, purchases need to be approved based on funds. Often, that means sending a request for a purchase order to the finance department and waiting for approval. This is typically where a breakdown in workflow occurs.

Instead of waiting for someone to approve the workflow when you are using just the QuickBooks purchase order feature, Bellwether allows you to set criteria for approvals based on a specific budget. From there, the procurement staff can create a purchase order inside QuickBooks for which the items have already been approved and send it to the supplier. This reduces time, and improves the overall workflow and order efficiency.

Manage Supplier Contracts

While in QuickBooks, you can view the prices and certain information on the purchase order, but you cannot view the supplier contracts. These contracts are important for any business as they lay out the terms that the supplier must follow in regards to quality, delivery, and quantity.

As you know, when a supplier doesn’t follow the terms of their contract, your business is put in a sticky situation that can end up costing you even more time and money. Bellwether allows you to match invoices with purchase orders and manage supplier contracts easily so that you know exactly which vendors are the best for your business.

Vendor Catalogue

The purchasing process is much easier when you have the items you wish to purchase right in front of you. You will typically receive catalogs from vendors that list their products and details. Businesses using manual processes will need to store these catalogs for future use. QuickBooks does not offer a feature for inputting information from catalogs for you to see and find more easily in the future.

However, with Bellwether, you can store vendor catalogs for easy access in the future. From there, you can search for specific vendors or items and create a purchase order in QuickBooks using the information that has already stored.

Bellwether’s Seamless Integration with QuickBooks

Bellwether fits into your current workflow by integrating with the software you already use. Automation is key to the success of your purchase order process.

QuickBooks offers a few automations to help make your purchasing process more efficient. However, when it comes to the greater process of procurement, you need software that can do everything in one simple and easy to use interface. Remember, QuickBooks is accounting software, not procurement software.

Businesses are rapidly realizing that manual processes and spreadsheets are not efficient or effective enough for maintaining a successful organization, or optimizing profits.

To learn more about how procurement software can increase the efficiency of your business and save you money, contact Bellwether today.

September 30, 2019
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BY Bliss Team
Inventory and Purchase Order Software Increases Procurement Efficiency

The business structure continues to evolve, making inventory management and procurement much more important. Procurement is related to many business activities and is one of the main daily tasks that must be completed correctly.

While inventory and procurement may seem like simple tasks to an outsider, business owners know that they still pose many challenges. However, those challenges can be reduced or eliminated by utilizing effective inventory and purchase order software.

Common Procurement Problems

Manual Processes

Many businesses are still using manual processes for their procurement function. Using spreadsheets and paperwork complicates the process and can lead to a multitude of mistakes.

Human Error

To err is human, but errors in the procurement process can be detrimental for a business. They can lead to unnecessary spending and also cause problems with valuable suppliers.

Delays

Approvals are one aspect of the procurement process where workflows begin to break down. Human workers and management get busy and can’t always take the time to approve purchases on a daily basis.

Unreliable Suppliers

Your business will always need suppliers who can fulfill your product criteria. Often, businesses lack a list of suppliers that can help them get the right inventory, and build valuable relationships.

Going Over Budget

You may end up going over budget if you wait until the last minute to make purchases. You can also go over budget by purchasing products you don’t need because your purchasing function isn’t effective. Ordering excess stock will continue to push your costs.

Each and every one of these issues can easily arise due to a lack of automation.

How Purchasing and Inventory Software Increases Efficiencies

Robust, user-friendly procurement software will offer features that improve the procurement function’s efficiency.

Monitor Inventory Lifecycle 

For inventory control, it’s necessary to have appropriate management strategies. You need to make sure that you can restock the items on time so your operations don’t face a delay.

Inventory software allows you to run lifecycle management practices. These practices will help you get an idea of the life of inventory. They also let you know when something needs to be replaced.

You never want a worker to reach for something that isn’t there. Inventory management software allows you to uncover when you’ll need to reorder particular inventory items, often before they’re depleted.

Record Usage History

Usage history will allow you to predict future consumption of inventory. As your business grows, you may need to change your inventory portfolios and budgets. A cloud-based system can record the usage history of your products, tools, and machines. This allows you to build upon the current usage and forecast your future demands accurately.

Effective Supplier Management

Optimizing your procurement function means having a robust supplier management system. You can store all your supplier information using e-procurement software with a database that allows you to easily record and retrieve important supplier information and contract terms.

Automate Purchase Orders

If you have your suppliers’ information recorded in a procurement software system, you can easily generate a purchase order at any time, with minimal effort.

Optimizing Purchase Order Cycle Time

Increasing procurement efficiencies means taking a daily task and making it simpler and simultaneously more effective. One of the best ways to increase purchase efficiencies is to optimize the purchase order cycle time.

Benefits of Efficient Purchase Order Cycle

The procurement cycle is the total time a transaction takes from the requisition to the delivery and payment in full. This cycle time is a key performance indicator (KPI) that can be used to measure the productivity and efficiency of your procurement function.

The KPI measures the average amount of time it takes for a requisition to generate a purchase order and send it to the supplier. Reducing the PO cycle time will lower the immediate expenses for every purchase while reducing the cost of the procurement function itself.

Manual Purchase Order Cycle

To optimize the PO cycle, you must first understand its workflow. While your company may be unique and different from all of the rest, the average PO cycle follows this path:

Step 1: Generating a Purchase Order

A member of the procurement team will generate a purchase order after the requisition is approved.

Step 2: Approvals

The finance department will then review the budget for the requested items and ensure that funds are available. Procurement staff may also send requests for proposals to potential suppliers for them to submit quotes.

Step 3: Supplier Review

The procurement team reviews and compares the bids and confirm the winning bid with stakeholders.

Step 4: PO Submission

The purchasing department may negotiate with the supplier for terms, price, and quality of goods. Afterward, procurement sends the purchase order to the supplier, and it becomes a legally binding contract between the two parties.

Step 5: Review of Deliveries

Once items are delivered, the procurement team reviews the items against the terms before sending payment to the supplier.

Automation: The Key to Optimizing Purchase Order Cycle Time

Automation streamlines your purchase order cycle time and the purchasing process as a whole. As your business grows and expands, procurement can become complex and demand more resources, more time, and additional talent. 

Cloud-based procurement software solutions use automation to trim time, expenses, and stress from your procurement department. The benefits are primarily from the reduction of human error along with increased efficiency. Thanks to simplicity and productivity, staff can dedicate their time to more valuable tasks.

Businesses who switch from manual to automated processes can decrease hours or even days from the purchase order cycle. Automation can remove roadblocks and streamline the entire procurement process.

Automation also cross-connects all transactional data with related documentation. Each PO is automatically matched with its corresponding invoice, shipping documents, correspondence, and profile information, including the contract terms.

Saving Money With Procurement Efficiencies

When you increase the efficiency of any part of your business, you are going to save money. Efficiency equates to cost savings because you are reducing the number of hours needed to complete a task. Not only that, but when you reduce or eliminate human error, you can further decrease unnecessary spending.

Want to know how much money your business can save by switching to an automated procurement system? Check out our ROI Calculator right now. Using basic information from your procurement process, we can easily calculate and show you just how much money your business can save.

September 23, 2019
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BY Bliss Team
Best Practices to Improve Your Purchasing Department

The purchase department is responsible for acquiring goods and services. While that may seem simple enough, they actually have to perform a lot of tasks in between researching the best deals and making the purchase. If you’re an SMB, you know that your purchasing department does a lot, and it’s up to them to make smart purchasing decisions that impact the entire business.

Think of it like this, your purchasing department is responsible, at least in part, for the success of your business. You never want to waste money on purchasing products that you can get elsewhere, and it’s this department’s responsibility to make sure this doesn’t happen. 

Why Should You Improve Your Purchasing Department?

The answer to this question is simple: money. Improving this department and the way it functions can end up saving you tons of money each year. This includes saving on product costs and making your employees efficient enough that during their 8-hour workday, they are accomplishing more and making your business more profitable. 

How-to Improve Your Purchasing Department

When you’re first starting out, it can be difficult to nail down the purchasing process so that everyone in the department is on the same page. However, using these tips, you can improve your purchasing department and positively impact your entire business.

Improve Buying

Not every single person in the purchasing department needs to be responsible for calling suppliers and finding the best deals. Instead, you can put a team in place responsible for this task and allowing other members of the department to focus on the next stages.

You can also manage acquisitions systematically buy appointing one person to be in charge of calling suppliers and another for comparing prices. Whatever you choose to do, you must have a process that outlines the rules of buying so that everyone is doing it the same way and accomplishing each task.

Analyze Spending

To analyze spending, you will need to conduct a spending analysis. This analysis is a detailed review of how you spend, and it’s critical to review in order to improve the procurement system. Make sure to analyze each and every factor that affects the price of products, such as:

  • Raw material costs
  • Inventory costs (including space requirements, heating, and insurance)
  • Transportation expenses
  • Supplier charges 
  • Payment terms
  • Shipping and handling costs

By improving this aspect of your purchasing department, you can save enough money for other areas of business, such as marketing, and hiring more employees as you grow.

Analyze Demand

To analyze demand, you’ll need to find out your company’s essential needs when it comes to purchasing. Only focus on the critical purchasing decisions that you make. In order to do this, you may have to rewrite internal policies that include new criteria that determine which products and services are essential.

You’ll also need to focus on quantity. If you’re buying in bulk for a lower price, consider how much it costs you to store items that you may not need for months to come.

You may want to consider buying cheaper goods from overseas. However, purchasing from foreign suppliers comes with costs that may make it not worth it, such as higher shipping costs. Since there are time differences as well, you can also expect a delay, so it’s not recommended that you use these suppliers for items that you need immediately.

Reduce Complexity

You can simply buy more standard parts or goods from suppliers instead of the more expensive customized items. If this is possible for your business, talk to your suppliers to make sure the purchases fit your needs and that you’re not overspending on customized items. If you have a good relationship with your supplier, they should have no problem helping you cut costs, because you’ll continue to make purchases that benefit both your business and theirs.

Build Strategic Partnerships

Building partnerships is easy. However, building strategic partnerships may be difficult for some businesses. If you work with a lot of suppliers, you’ll want to start cutting down the list and try working with only a few.

If you work with fewer suppliers, you can save time and resources. You’ll also be able to build better relationships because you have fewer businesses to work with.

Your suppliers will feel honored as they have been chosen to be the few you do business with. This will help continue to build relationships so that you can expect more flexibility from them when it comes to your needs.

Always remember that your partnership should be mutually beneficial. You should be helping them succeed just as much as they are helping you. When you negotiate, keep in mind that you’ll have to help them see how both sides can benefit. This will help establish trust between you and them so that you can continue to be successful.

Evaluate Suppliers

Once you have a smaller list of suppliers to work with, make sure to evaluate them regularly. You can establish your own system for assessing their performance, but make sure to include these factors:

  • Flexibility
  • Delivery time
  • Costs
  • Quality of service

Having a document available for your suppliers to review will also help them see where their performance can be improved, which can help your business and theirs as they have multiple buyers they deal with.

Invest in Purchase Order Management Softwarepurchase order software. procurement software

In the modern age, there are so many technological tools that can help your business grow and succeed. Your procurement process may have once been simple enough to warrant the use of a spreadsheet. However, as you grow, you’ll find more human errors and complications that make using manual processes impractical.

Many SMBs start out using QuickBooks to help them send purchase orders more quickly by creating a QuickBooks purchase order, which automatically fills in fields for you. While automation is key to success in the modern age, this program can’t do everything you need when it comes to procurement. Instead, users can integrate Bellwether with QuickBooks to:

  • Enter invoices into ePMX
  • Three-way Invoice Matching (PO, Receipt, and Invoice)
  • Bridge invoices into QB for payment

Integrated procurement software will help you manage all of the day-to-day functions of the purchasing process so that you can save time and money while your employees focus on more important tasks, like building relationships with your suppliers.

For businesses who want to save significant time and money, robust purchase order software can help you manage vendor/ supplier relationships, find the best deals, and turn POs into invoices with a few clicks of the mouse. These technologies completely revolutionize the way you’ll handle purchasing, making everything from acquisitions to approval processes much more simple.

September 10, 2019
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BY Bliss Team
Keep Running Out of Stock? Here’s an Effective Way to Manage Your Inventory

Being out of stock means that you don’t currently have any of a particular item available for purchase. This problem for business owners typically happens because someone in the purchasing department does not order enough inventory to satisfy customer demand.

Preventing Out of Stock Situations

Luckily, becoming out of stock can be prevented with purchase order software. Cloud-based inventory management systems let you easily track your inventory in real-time so that you know exactly what you have in stock and when you need to reorder products.

Consequences of Running Out of Stock

Let’s take a look at the consequences of running out of stock and see how e-procurement software can help you avoid them.

Lost sales

When you run out of stock, a customer can’t purchase it from you. If a customer can’t purchase from your business, you have lost a sale. If you have a huge demand for a product but run out of stock, you will lose multiple sales.

Lost customers

Ultimately, lost sales lead to lost customers. When someone visits your website and attempts to make a purchase that they can’t complete because you are out of stock, they will go somewhere else for a similar product. We live in a time where people want their e-commerce products delivered quickly. If you can’t deliver on that, they will take their money elsewhere, and potentially never come back.

Bad customer reviews

If you run out of stock, your customers will lose the trust they had for your business. You can also expect some negative reviews on your website or social media page. Word of mouth is one of the most tried-and-true marketing techniques because customers rely on one another’s opinions before making a purchase. This is especially true when it comes to e-commerce.

Declining business growth

When word of mouth spreads, particularly negative word of mouth, you can expect a decline in sales, which leads to a decline in growth. Customers will not want to purchase from someone with bad reviews, and the worse it gets, you can expect fewer and fewer customers.

The Solution: Automation

Automation is key for preventing problems associated with being out of stock. Many businesses already use automated systems, which make the purchasing process easier and help to save time.

QuickBooks users can experience even greater efficiency and productivity when they integrate with Bellwether’s robust purchasing software.

Integrating e-procurement solutions with QuickBooks purchase order software will drastically improve all areas of the procurement function. Users can pull down these items into ePMX:

  • Vendors
  • G/L Accounts
  • Classes (Job Codes)
  • Projects
  • Terms
  • Currency

When integrated, users can enter invoices into ePMX, do a 3-way match with PO, receipt, and invoice, and bridge the invoices into QB for quick payment. All of these tasks save time and help the business run more smoothly.

In order to understand how a PO system can help you avoid out of stock solutions, we must first understand why businesses run out of stock. 

Why Did Your Business Run Out of Stock?

Running out of stock is a problem many businesses face, especially if they don’t have a refined procurement process in place. Here are a few reasons why you may run out of stock.

Inaccurate Data

In order to know what you have in stock and what you don’t so that you can make effective purchasing decisions, you’ll need to rely on data. Inaccurate data will always lead to poor purchasing decisions and cause your business some distress.

Product Ordering Gone Wrong

Inaccurate data will lead to ordering the wrong quantity of product. It may even lead you to order the wrong product altogether. If you don’t order enough product, you won’t keep up with demand, which means you will lose sales.

Manual Processes

Your inaccurate data, which is the basis for the procurement process, must have come from somewhere. If you are using spreadsheets or a paper-based system, the odds are that human error is what leads to inaccurate data.

Cloud-Based Purchase Order Management Software

As you can see, the result of using manual purchasing processes can have a butterfly effect on your entire business. Procurement software can completely eliminate the risk of running out of stock and help keep your business successful and with happy customers.

Eliminate Manual Processes = Better Procurement

By eliminating spreadsheets, your purchasing process is no longer prone to human error. That means no more data inaccuracies that force you to make bad purchasing decisions. When this risk is mitigated, you can expect a smoother and more efficient purchasing function.

Efficiently Managing MRO Inventory

MRO inventory differs from traditional inventory because it lacks the same controls or practices. It is not typically measured in terms of inventory on hand or usage. Here are a few of the challenges of managing MRO inventory:

  • Supplies required for MRO tasks are in-stock but can’t be located
  • Items required for MRO are bought with immediacy, ignoring the price in favor of availability
  • Expedited shipping costs more

How Can Procurement Software Help Manage MRO Inventory?

Purchase order software can help you do the following much easier, and in less time:

Track, Manage, and Control MRO inventory

To improve the MRO procurement process, you’ll need to track and manage your MRO inventory more effectively. Procurement solutions will help you more easily track items that can frequently get lost and lead to unnecessary spending.

Faster Purchase Requisition Approvals

When you need an item immediately, the process can get bogged down by the approval process. With cloud-based solutions, you can set certain criteria that allow MRO supplies to be purchased immediately.

Delivers Valuable Data

Predicting when you’ll need certain MRO items will help the entire procurement process run more smoothly. E-procurement solutions will give you easily digestible data that allows you to be proactive instead of reactive.

Reduce the Number of Suppliers You Work With

Tracking the performance of your suppliers may not be part of your procurement process. However, by determining which suppliers work best with your business, you can cut the number of suppliers you work with to improve regular business functions and improve relationships with them.

Improve Budgeting

Purchasing software saves your employees time, which saves you money. Also, by reducing unnecessary spending, you’ll have more money to put into beneficial business tasks, like marketing and human resources.

By knowing which items you have and which you’ll need soon, you can reduce the immediacy of purchasing MRO supplies that are either in stock and lost or need to be replaced. This means cheaper delivery charges since you won’t need products the next day.

Purchase order system software will improve your entire business, helping you save and make more money each day.

September 3, 2019
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BY Bliss Team
How to Optimize Your Sourcing Function

Strategic sourcing can add value to your entire enterprise. An effective procurement process allows for sourcing strategies to improve the growth of a business. Purchasing software will provide your business with:

  • A high percentage of spend under management
  • Strong alignment between the procurement process and business stakeholders
  • Discipline around the entire purchasing process and sourcing function 

The Sourcing Process

As you know, a sourcing process is used to choose the best product or service for a specific expenditure category. This is just one of the business processes that are run poorly by many companies, which can result in a loss of saving opportunities, delivery of inferior quality products, and even, less favorable terms. 

So, how can you optimize your sourcing function? The answer is an effective procurement system. 

A procurement function will provide the structure and framework to enable successful sourcing strategies. 

Spend under management

When an expenditure comes through a defined procurement and sourcing process, it is then competitively sourced and recorded. As your business’ spend under management increases, you can expect the ability to reduce costs, forecast expenses, and manage vendors. 

This purchasing data is not only the measure of spend under management, but it is the foundation for the whole of spend analytics. If you don’t know or understand the details of what you are spending, with which vendor, and for what goods or services, you won’t be able to manage the spend effectively, making it difficult to negotiate with suppliers. 

Purchasing software lets you access this type of data quickly and easily. Having the readily available spend data will make it easier for those in charge of reducing costs. The purchasing anger can see the expenses broken down into categories, like maintenance costs, new purchases, and upgrades. This data can then be shared with leadership, and a strategy can be presented to the finance department so that a plan can be put in place to see what costs can be reduced. 

A robust procurement system should provide detailed analytics so that companies can make business decisions based on data. 

Revised purchasing policy

A purchasing policy must be well-defined to provide the framework for how the spend is managed. It is up to the business to use the data provided by the procurement software to decide how rigid the policy should be and how strictly it should be enforced. A policy should include only things that the company wants to enforce. This policy should promote the right spending behaviors. While many decisions also need to be approved, purchase software can automate this, helping to approve suppliers based on specific data. That means no more breakdown in the sourcing function, saving your business time and money. 

Procurement and Stakeholders

An optimized procurement function should provide a strong alignment between procurement and stakeholders. From the request for a quote through the final negotiations, suppliers should have all the information they need at all times. In competitive situations, vendors may look for signs that purchasing and business owners are not on the same page and then use this to take advantage of the business. 

The early stage of any project should begin with the alignment of the procurement process and the business. Using robust purchasing requisition software allows for data to be communicated effectively across all internal teams so that the right decisions can be made. With improved communication, there will be no opening for a vendor to take advantage of the lack of communication between departments. 

With data available for stakeholders to see where spending is occurring and how it’s being spent, you can get a better idea of where you stand at the beginning of negotiations. This transparency throughout the business will allow everyone to stay in sync so that there is no breakdown in the negotiation process. 

Lifecycle Vendor Management

To maximize the value of sourcing strategies, businesses will need a defined lifecycle approach to vendor management. This management can depend on a few different aspects:

  • The individual circumstances
  • Amount of spend
  • Criticality assigned to goods/services the vendor provides. 

You’ll need to be able to monitor a vendor’s performance against requirements, benchmarks for pricing, and quality. A full-time resource may even be dedicated to managing a vendor relationship, which involves an understanding of product roadmaps, supply chain issues, and real-time quality metrics. 

Performance data is key to business and procurement. This data can provide leverage for negotiations while highlighting changes needed in agreements or contracts, and enabling the business to have a more complete picture for the future. 

Vendor management and risk mitigation

By monitoring your vendor effectively, quality issues, weaknesses in supply chain or logistics, and concerns about financial stability are all highlighted. These analytics allow the procurement and stakeholder partnership to effectively leverage vendors for better prices, quality, and product innovation. 

What are the benefits of an optimized sourcing function?

Cost Savings

With better contractual terms and conditions based on analytics and negotiations in sync with business goals, the business can expect increased cost savings. With purchasing software, you can save both time and money as data is created for your automatically to help you make the crucial sourcing decision that makes your business successful. 

Improved Quality:

Through supplier performance monitoring, the quality of goods and services will improve. As we all know, those who are monitored tend to do well in order to impress their buyers. Suppliers will notice that you’re taking an interest in their work and do their best to keep your business. 

Better Supplier Relationships:

Relationships will enhance with better lifecycle vendor management that promotes communication with the supplier. With better relationships, there is a transparency that makes your suppliers appreciate your relationship all that much more. 

Risk Mitigation:

Ongoing analysis of vendor information and financial health checks help provide the business with risk mitigation. If you notice a breakdown in the vendor’s supply chain or logistics, you can come up with a detailed solution before it negatively impacts your business and its growth.

 

July 15, 2019
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BY Bellwether
Effective Techniques for An Efficient Purchase Order Processing

Efficiency is key when it comes to running a successful business. Because efficiency improves productivity and can help businesses easily manage certain aspects of their business, it’s important to find ways to increase efficiency during the day-to-day operation. An efficient purchase order system can be implemented gradually or all at once to improve function of your business. By using purchase order software you can streamline the day-to-day workflows of your business, save money, and increase sales easier than using a manual process that takes up time, money, and energy you could use to perform other important business tasks.

How do you improve order processing?

While your current order processing may be working well enough, you’ll find that you can save time and money by streamlining your current workflows. Improving your purchase order process with PO software doesn’t have to be a stressful, time-consuming task, and can be done with a few simple tips.

E-commerce Integration

Whether you sell your products online through a website or other marketplaces, or haven’t considered making a move to e-commerce, selling your products online will not only boost sales but drastically improve your PO process when you synchronize actions from different platforms and put them in one spot. Instead of using dashboards from all of the different marketplaces you use to sell your products, you can integrate your software to demonstrate all critical business information in one simple and easy-to-use platform.

Automation

Using automation wherever you can is an effective way to streamline the procurement process. It will also reduce errors and the cost of the entire process. Automation and flexibility should come together to allow customers to place complex orders and let you approve requisitions quickly and easily. Automation can also take a purchase order and turn it into an invoice in one easy step to create documents that are crucial for business management and budgeting.

Inventory Control

Controlling your inventory is not only a necessity for the organization of your business, but it’s important to maintain quality relationships with your customers. It’s the age of immediate gratification when it comes to purchasing products. Whether you’re direct-to-consumer or sell to other businesses, your customers expect their orders to be processed quickly and delivered in a timely manner. If a customer places an order only to find out a few days later that the item they bought is no longer in stock, this can be detrimental to your entire relationship with the customer. As the business, you should know how many of each product you have in your inventory so that you can avoid problems in the future.  This can be critical and make customers choose whether or not to purchase from you again. If your business shows that it doesn’t even know what it has in its own inventory, you’ll lose the trust of your customers, something that can break any business.

Communication

Purchase orders are all about one thing: Communication. If communication is lacking through the entire purchase order process, you’ll face delays and disruptions that can damage your relationship with customers and prevent them from placing orders with your business in the future. Orders need to be transferred to the correct departments and employees to improve workflows. You’ll also need purchase orders and invoices that communicate all necessary info with customers and other employees within your business. Your information needs to be up-to-date and correct so that you can complete the purchase order process more effectively and efficiently.

Simplify Database

No matter the way in which customers place orders with your business, you need to be able to receive vital information without issues. This information must then be available for your employees to access from across different departments. Data must be seamlessly transferrable throughout different areas of your business, from the accounting department to production and customer service. Many databases can be complicated and confusing to use for both customers and businesses, making placing and processing orders more difficult than it needs to be. Problems from an overly complicated database and purchasing system can cause a breakdown in the process and negatively affect the entire customer experience. Instead, using one program that can be integrated with all of the others and show vital information on one screen instead of multiples, can streamline workflows throughout departments and lead to more sales.

Simplify Documentation

The procurement process has a few vital pieces of information for each customer: the purchase order, invoice, and any service terms. This documentation is necessary to prevent risks and help improve customer service and production. While one purchase order may have many documents to maintain, these should all be in one spot so you can find them easily when you need them. It will also benefit your customers if they have questions about certain orders and pricing. Because you can’t always rely on your customers to keep the proper documentation, it’s important that you have all of the important information to prevent confusion in the future.

Purchase Management Software Integration

Whether you manually create purchase orders and have used spreadsheets throughout the purchase order process, or have used purchase order software in the past and are looking to retire your current system, it’s important to find software that integrates with your other programs. Purchasing management software pays for itself as it allows you to streamline workflows, improve efficiency and automate your current process to control costs and help you increase sales and profit.

While there are many different types of software out there, you need to make sure that the system you choose allows for easy integration with applications and software you’re already using to create a seamless and automated purchase order process. If you already use QuickBooks to manage purchase orders and invoices, but are looking for more robust purchase order software that can create even more efficiently among your employees, the new purchase order software you use should be able to easily integrate with QuickBooks to improve workflow without disrupting the current system.

June 4, 2019
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BY Bellwether
How to Simplify Your Purchase Order Process

As a businesses operator, you know how extensive and complicated the purchase order process can get, especially without the right tools in place to help streamline workflows and improve businesses operations. Optimizing the purchase order process is the easiest way to simplify the process and make it less complicated for yourself and your employees.

What are the advantages of optimizing your purchase order process?

Your purchase order process can be as simple as you need it to be to effectively manage your business and make your entire procurement process more efficient. When using purchase order software to optimize your process, you’ll find many benefits for your entire business.

Minimize Risk

Purchase order management software allows business to automate all documents and records throughout the entire procurement process to display order details, costs, payment terms, and service terms. This will easily minimize risk and greatly reduce the chances of being caught up in legal disputes with vendors who may have made a simple mistake easily corrected by maintaining the correct documentation at all times and at all steps throughout the procurement process.

Budget Management Made Simple

With all of your purchase orders and invoices in one easy-to-find location, you can more effectively manage your budget to save your businesses money. While you’ll be able to see purchase orders as they come in, you can also include purchase orders of your own to more effectively take a look at current budgets to save money and the time it takes to handle an overly complicated budget.

Compliance

Matching orders, running audits on inventory, and identifying important documents and invoices is easy with procurement software. Ensuring compliance is important in all businesses and can become more difficult as the businesses achieves success and grows. By optimizing the purchase order process, you can more effectively ensure the compliance necessary to keep your business running.

Improve Business Relationships

Purchase order software can help businesses manage order expectations and remind your business of important information crucial to developing and maintaining beneficial buyer-vendor relationships. You can easily create a document that allows negotiations to start-off in the right direction with pricing and terms being outlined clearly and agreed to quicker. You can then easily review contracts and terms to make sure both parties are complying and delivering on what was promised.

Save Time and Money

Optimizing your purchase order process will save you time and money. By improving overall efficiency of the entire process, your employees will each become more productive and be able to accomplish more with their workday. When certain tasks like approvals and requisitions can be automated and settings customized for approval, there will be a lot less breakdowns in the existing purchase order process structure, which helps the process run smoothly without hiccups and bumps in the road. With improved budget management, you can easily make decisions that directly benefit your business to save money and increase day-to-day efficiency.

Steps to Improve your Purchase Order Process

Improving your purchase order process will positively impact your business drastically to help you streamline workflows and increase efficiency in many areas. Improving your purchase order process may seem like a stressful, time-consuming task, but it can be made simple with these steps:

  1. Assess existing process and workflow

Your existing purchase order process will be able to tell you a lot. Tracking the day-to-day of the current process will help you see all of the issues your workflows face and brainstorm solutions. Whether you use a manual PO system or older procurement software, it’s important to note the bugs that are stunting your business’s efficiency. Assessing your existing workflow is simple. Shadow the person who handles purchase orders the most within your company for a day to see how they are currently performing certain tasks. Make sure to ask all of the questions necessary to give you the best idea of how current workflows perform.

  1. Establish a Preferred Vendor List

You can easily improve communication across your business with a supplier directory that contains quality information on different vendors. This way you will keep all decision makers on the same page when it comes to vendors and all aspects of the purchasing process. You’ll also be able to more easily track information for finances, reporting, and data analytics to improve your business strategy when it comes to your vendors.

 

  1. Develop Beneficial Buyer-Vendor Relationships

Get to know your vendors and optimize those relationships by taking a look at key metrics, purchase history, payment history, and your costs to keep these vendors coming back. You can optimize relationships by keeping other crucial information like service terms fresh in your mind to better build and maintain relationships. This information can also be used by your customer service team to enhance overall customer experience so that they have the correct information on-hand when and if a customer has questions.

  1. Improve Information Access

Make sure everyone involved in the purchase order process, from customers to your management team, has the right information. Making sure the employees that deal with procurements on a daily basis have access to the necessary information, such as pricing and the preferred vendor list, can streamline workflows.

  1. Define and Refine the Approval and Requisition Process

If you don’t have a clearly defined approval process, you’ll find that the day-to-day workflow has unnecessary issues with efficiency. If certain vendors, requisitions, and prices need to be approved, creating a clearly defined approval process will streamline workflow and help solve disruptions throughout the entire process.

  1. Automation

Automate as many manual processes as you can to improve efficiency in the day-to-day and streamline your current workflows. Automation will also help reduce errors, handle document management and approvals, and improve decision making at every level of your business.

  1. Use Technology

Purchase order software will help you streamline workflows to make your current purchase order process more efficient and improve productivity throughout the entire process. Not only can they help automate approvals and requisitions, purchase order software should have 3-way matching to match invoices with POs to automate the procurement process when possible and save your business time and money by eliminating redundant, time-consuming tasks. No matter which technology you choose for your business, you should make sure that the program can integrate with the others you’re using to streamline all workflows and make the purchase order process as simple and easy as possible for your business and employees.

May 28, 2019
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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 Workflow Automation Can Shorten the B2B Sales Cycle

In general, the sales cycle for B2B offerings is significantly longer than it is for B2C. From initial contact through pitches to negotiations, there’s a lot that has to get done in order for a deal to close. Because there are already so many potential roadblocks in place, it’s important for a company to provide as much support as possible to their salespeople.

By providing all the support that’s needed, companies can ensure that they’re not causing any inefficiencies that make things even more challenging for their salespeople. While salespeople will still have to contend with challenges like making it clear why a specific offering is superior to that of a competitor, not having internal hurdles to overcome can provide a significant boost.

To ensure that there aren’t walls between sales and management which are hindering the ability of the former to make deals, let’s take a look at three ways workflow automation can be successfully used:

Provide Smart Deals

One of the reasons that it’s typical for B2B sales to take longer is because price is something that’s almost always negotiable. From more complex packages to higher volumes, buyers want to be sure that they’re getting the best deal for their money. Since a lot of back and forth is already going to accompany this process, companies don’t want to create even more of it for their salespeople.

Instead, eliminating the need for drawn out internal discussions can give salespeople the flexibility to push for a sale and successfully close. With an automated approval workflow, salespeople can have the confidence to strategically discount without worrying about offering something that is going to make their manager unhappy.

Process Special Requests

Price isn’t the only element of B2B negotiations that often requires approval. There are a wide range of things that may come up which will require a salesperson to seek approval from their manager. If you want to ensure that getting special requests approved doesn’t stand in the way of a deal, an automated workflow is essential.

Dynamic Management of Inventory

One big consideration for B2B buyers is how quickly a solution can be delivered. If two offerings share many of the same features but one provider is able to deliver significantly faster than the other, the buyer is probably going to err on the side of speed. Utilizing automation in regards to inventory can help a business be as aggressive as possible with their delivery timelines.

It’s worth noting that the type of automation discussed above can benefit a business in other ways as well. For example, purchasing managers can use purchasing software to streamline their purchasing process and increase the overall efficiency of everything related to procurement.

Contact us today for a Free Live Demo, or sign up for a Free 30 Day Trial and try out Bellwether Purchasing Software for yourself. No credit card needed.

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September 19, 2015
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BY Bellwether
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