Automating the entire Purchase Order process

Automation of the SAP process for Purchase Orders leads to reduced workload of 30% 

SAP automation process

For a big international player we automated their entire Purchase orders (PO) process. Whenever departments received invoices, they had to request a Purchase order number to approve the payment. The finance department reviewed the requests and determined when the invoice would be paid. Unfortunately, their PO system caused a lot of problems and delays which made them switch to an automated workflow. 

Situation before automation

Employees had to fill out an Excel sheet with information concerning the invoice they would like to pay. The Excel sheet was then forwarded to the Finance department where the responsible would manually put all information in SAP. The Finance department assigns a PO number to the case and the employee has to wait for confirmation that the invoice is paid. 

Problems

  •  The Excel sheets where often incomplete, providing insufficient information. 
 
  •  The Excel sheets reach the Finance departement via mail. Their mailbox was overloaded and thus, this became a bottleneck for the rest of the process. 
 
  • Filling out everything in SAP elevates the workload. 
 
  • It was difficult for employees to know the status of their request since there were no dashboards to check the PO status. 
 
  • Reminders had to be sent manually. 
 
  • When a request had been reviewed and a PO number was assigned, this needed to be communicated manually, again.
problems before automation

There was no automation whatsoever, which complicated the communication throughout the process. The process time was about 4-5 days and there was one person working fulltime on processing the Purchase orders.

What solution did we implement?

We automated the entire process. The Excel sheet is replaced by a webform where all the data is linked together. All requests are automatically uploaded to SAP, once each day. 

Also, each departement now has a cost owner which means, they get a notification when someone requests a payment. That way, they can react if some requests are incorrect or not meant for their department. 

webform automated process

Results

  • You can only submit the request form if all data is correct and complete. 
 
  • All data is linked to each other, so that the form can automatically fill in the correct answers. This reduces the likelihood of mistakes to the bare minimum. 
 
  •  Multiple dashboards allow requesters to follow up on the status of their Purchase Order in realtime. 
 
  • Requesters are recognized and linked to their departement so that they can only request a PO for the departement they belong to. 

The person who was fulltime responsible for processing the PO’s is now specialized in complex PO’s and questions. The follow ups and reminders are sent out automatically and forms do not need to be put in SAP manually, which reduces the processing time from 4-5 days to only 2 days! They even introduced a speed procedure where you can request and receive a PO number in 24 hours. 

Want to know more about process automation and tailor-made workflows?

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