Categories: Procure-to-Pay

(Chapter 9) Adventures of Ivan the CPO: 10 Technology Tools Every Procurement Team Needs In 2018

Previously – 
  1. Chapter 1: Ivan joined his new job as a CPO, with a host of challenges which needs to be overcome.
  2. Chapter 2: Friends in Need, Indeed!
  3. Chapter 3: “Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost”
  4. Chapter 4: “ Lock, Stock, and Smoking Barrel.”
  5. Chapter 5: “Collaboration is a Two Way Street.”
  6. Chapter 6: The Invoice-Paper-OCR Game
  7. Chapter 7: Shape of Invoices in a Flat World
  8. Chapter 8: Supplier’s Customer of Choice

Keeping Stock Of Purchases Isn’t Everyone’s Cup Of Tea

Serendipity – when you make a fruitful discovery, by accident, of things they were not in quest of, was Ivan’s word for the week.

It started of course with coffee, or rather the absence of it, as Ivan found the coffee beans to be “out of stock ,“ written on his floor’s vending machine ( “ Didn’t we just process a PO for new coffee beans last week ?”). Ivan thought of giving the “ first flush” tea-bag a try, but one taste and he knew it was stale . ( “Surely this ain’t a part of the last shipment of tea-bags, is it ?”). Ivan decided to visit the facilities manager and let him know about this.

Bob, the facilities manager, quickly explained that like all things in heaven and earth, ‘it is the fault of our procurement processes.’ It seems the facilities team, and other requesting teams, often have no visibility into stock availability, and ends up either over buying or under buying. Moreover, once the order is processed the shipment ( as in the case of the missing  coffee beans) usually ends up in only one of the BUs , till someone spots the excess and asks other BUs to collect from them.

Ivan decided to dedicate the next few days to fix this issue, which till now he was not aware of, and from his experience, he could sense a chance to create a big difference in terms of ROI.  The initial focus was on providing visibility, not just to his team but to all concerned stakeholders on existing stock conditions. Using Zycus’ Inventory Manager, he configured a single platform for viewing details of all stock items, covering hundreds of categories, numerous warehouses, and  other storage locations. With the easy UI, every stakeholder could easily drill down and find the items he is responsible for, and could find daily, monthly, and quarterly reports on items ordered, items in stock, items awaiting delivery, items to be reordered automatically and so on. They also had a calendar view, where based on current information they could see on which dates individual items available, below re-order level, out of stock and so on. This ensured each requestor was fully equipped for any future contingency. Their teams can also transfer and reallocate inventory, and set up purchase requests directly from the report .

Next, after discussion with each requestor, Ivan set up automated re-order levels, minimum-maximum quantities, and workflows for most of the regularly purchased items. He also set up periodic counts of stocks levels for critical items, to ensure those never go out of stock.

Ivan knew that while the front-end was now smoother, there were many improvements in the back-end side of collecting items and storing information, which would determine the success of this project.

Keep checking this space to know how Ivan streamlined the process of keeping inventory and shipment records in Chapter 10! To be Continued…

Somdipto Ghosh

A technology enthusiast by nature, Som has diverse experience in promoting and facilitating procurement improvement in companies across USA, Australia, Africa and Asia in a variety of roles encompassing Business Development, Alliances Management and Marketing. Currently shaping Product Marketing for Zycus, he is focused on finding easy answers to life's complex problems.

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Somdipto Ghosh

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