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How to Implement an Efficient Purchasing and Inventory Control

Efficient purchasing also means having inventory control. Businesses need to know what they have in stock and what they don’t in order to make the right decisions when it comes to procurement. While you may already have a system in place and know which items need to be replaced and when, it can be difficult to determine whether your purchasing function is as effective as it can be.

By improving your purchasing function, you can expect significant cost savings. Ordering the correct amount of products that you need to keep your business running reduces any maverick spend on items you don’t need.

Goals of Inventory Management

An inventory management strategy aims to:

Prevent Dead Stock

When you run out of stock of an in-demand item, you’ll end up losing money and valuable customers. However, overstocking can also cost you money because it takes up floor space and can result in waste if the items do not sell in time. If you lease warehouse space, this can be extremely detrimental. You’ll want to minimize dead stock storage to make room for items that will sell to keep your costs lower.

Improve Organization

Effective inventory management requires a certain level of organization, which includes real-time tracking. You need to know where every item is located, how fast it’s used or moves, and what quantity you have in stock.

This will enable faster order fulfillment and reduce the risk of you having to tell valuable customers that the item they ordered is not in stock. Tracking these items will help you see which inventory you have and which you don’t so that you can determine what items need to be purchased and when.

Improve Reordering

Inventory management also means ordering the correct amount of stock you need and moving it as quickly as possible. When an item is sold, it should be taken out of stock automatically. When in-stock items reach a certain limit, the item should be automatically triggered for reorder, whether it has to be approved or not will be up to your business practices.

Positively Impact Budgeting

By effectively managing your inventory, you can better manage your cash flow. Keeping the right amount of goods in stock is key to your success.

Inventory Management Techniques

Your business requires a strategic inventory management process that saves time, boosts productivity, and helps keep your business a success. Check out these tips and techniques for an effective purchasing and inventory control system.

Invest in Software 

If you want an effective purchase order system, which includes inventory management, you will probably need help as your business expands. Technology is crucial to businesses who have to manage a lot of items, suppliers, and budgets.

Purchase order management software uses automation to minimize data entry and update systems in real-time. This means that everyone involved in the PO process will be able to see what’s in stock at any given moment, and the database is then updated each time a product is sold or used.

Cloud-based purchasing software creates and stores tons of data to provide your business with the information you need to make informed purchasing decisions. You can view which items go out of stock most frequently and when you need to reorder them. You can also view the products that aren’t moving as much as you thought they were and change the policy on how often those items are reordered.

Remember, that the longer an item sits in your warehouse, the more it costs your business. Make sure that you use the data to make sure that your procurement process is as efficient and effective as it can be.

Predictive Analysis

Be as proactive as you can be. Use past purchase information to understand buying items for certain items and categories. Make sure you look at the data regularly because using insights in a strategic way can help boost sales and save your company money.

Predicting demand will be critical to your inventory management function. Use the data from the procurement software to find market trends and analyze previous sales. Next, you can examine season trends and any marketing efforts to ensure that you have enough product for an expensive spike in sales.

You can’t account for all variables that will affect your purchasing and inventory functions. However, you can plan for the future of your business and determine how to proceed using real-time data.

Centralized Ordering

Ordering through a purchasing office gives you control over incoming goods. Centralized ordering gives you dedicated experts trained to negotiate for the best deals. Purchasing managers will negotiate the best quality for the lowest price to keep your business running smoothly.

Suppliers typically require a minimum quantity to balance their costs. However, purchasing managers can work with suppliers to lower costs and spread delivery over a certain time period to avoid overstock costs.

Always Have a Back-Up Plan

For your procurement system to run smoothly, every step of the process will have to work properly. There are some inventory factors that you have no control over, though, such as raw materials and weather.

Your supply chain will invariably hit a snag, which can affect your entire company, including its customers. In order to mitigate risk, you’ll have to have a back-up plan for when things just don’t go according to plan.

While you can’t plan for everything, you can make your process a little more flexible to minimize any negative impacts on your business. Your back up plan might include local suppliers who can deliver quickly when there is an impending storm, and you don’t know when you’ll get products from another supplier.

A good back up plan involves communicating with your suppliers and building good relationships with them. If you maintain beneficial relationships, your suppliers may even give you a heads up when there may be a shortage so that you can plan accordingly.

Audit Regularly

Good inventory management and purchase order software will provide you with all the information you need. However, humans involved in the process can still make mistakes. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that the stock matches your reports.

You should still do a physical inventory once a year, but even that may not be enough. If the count doesn’t match the numbers, it can be complicated to find out what happened. To prevent this from happening, consider spot-checking your inventory every so often. You can pick a few of the items that move the fastest and count them to find any discrepancies.

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August 30, 2019
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BY Bliss Team
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
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
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
Becoming a Better Purchasing Manager in 2015

Although the summer is already behind us, there’s still a good amount of time left in 2015. If you want to make most of the remaining months of this year, one thing to focus on is becoming the best purchasing manager possible. Because this is a role that continues to receive more attention and responsibility, you may already be feeling a substantial amount of pressure.

While there are times when pressure becomes too much, it’s something that can also be very motivating. If the amount of pressure you’re experiencing is motivating you to become the best purchasing manager you can be, we have a handful of tips that can help you work towards that goal.

Keep Things in Perspective

Even though it may sound like New Age advice, keeping the various professional obstacles you encounter in perspective can truly help your performance. Staying focused on what matters the most and finding small but meaningful ways to improve will add up to a significant change.

Stay on Top of Changes

Technology means that changes and developments across industries are moving faster than ever before. As a result, purchasing managers can benefit from carving out time each week to keep up with new issues and trends. Consistently doing this will give you a strong, strategic understanding of where your company is moving.

Make Diverse Interactions a Priority

Just as staying on top of what’s changing can be very beneficial, getting different inputs on what people truly want from procurement can help you focus your attention on the right tasks. That’s why it’s worth making a concerted effort to regularly speak with a diverse spectrum of professionals both inside and outside of the company.

Use the Best Tools Possible

If you put the three items we covered above into action, you will see a boost in your performance as a purchasing manager. But if you want to perform at your absolute best, there is one more key step that you need to take. That step is to take advantage of everything that quality purchasing software has to offer.

The reason that purchase order software can revolutionize your performance as a purchasing manager is it provides all the functionality that’s needed to supercharge procurement. Specifically, you’ll be able to easily automate any purchasing process that you want. This in turn will help eliminate the need for paper.

Instead of feeling basically helpless in regards to budget thresholds, using software means that you will have the ability to enforce approvals and put an end to maverick spending. All of this streamlining and enforcement will save you a ton of time every single week.

What’s even better is you can reap all the benefits of this type of software without needing IT support. And to top things off, you’ll be able to leverage vendor pricing through the use of historical data. The ability of our software to help purchasing managers be the best at what they do is why over 1,000 professionals like you have given it a top usability rating.

Contact us for a Free Live Demo, or use our 30 Day Free Trial to see how Bellwether Purchasing Software can streamline your workflow.

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September 20, 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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