Processes robotization: applications for procurement

Operations and tasks automation into information systems is a reality from many years, especially in order to realize operations of invoices reconciliation, orders sending and gathering, or to optimize clients’ deliveries tours.

Can processes robotization, lately fashionable theme, apply to purchases domain ?

However, robotization is a rather new notion into the Informatic Systems for the Accounting, Management Control, Bank or Insurance domains. We can besides measure it in view of offers proposed by different market player, such as Blackline or Esker.

On the buyers’ side, revolution is also working but tangibles applications delay to concretize in the demonstration of their relevance or their real application. Nevertheless, some examples which are still in development into innovation laboratories seem to be promised to a good future.

“10% to 20% of received invoices are either not determined and must be imperatively manually-processed, or determined but with an insufficient trust index”

In my opinion, one of the most significant topics that has a concrete scope is the Active Learning applicated to the analysis of the dedicated-to-purchases’ spendings. Basic principle is to lean on a robot (or automate) to a determinist algorithm in order to classify and type invoices in function of selected criteria.

Algorithm must firstly be supplied by a sample of invoices manually-typed by purchases process’ physical actors. By extrapolate information given by this sample, 80% to 90% of received invoices can then be automatically typed by the automaton. Remaining 10% to 20% of invoices are either not determined and should imperatively be manually-processed, or determined but with an insufficient trust index. They thus have to be validated by a physical operator.

Robotic Process Automation, upcoming revolution of the Purchases Practice.

Most RPA specific subject of we hear about, seems however not finding concrete application to the Purchases domain. This is what a study established by CapGemini Consulting at the end of 2016 year (Robotic Process Automation – Robots conquer business processes in back offices) tries to show through infographic above:

Robotic Process Automation, upcoming revolution of the Purchases Practice“Purchases’ field of possibilities thus stays open and to-be explored”

Projects that we manage, as our collaboratives clients’ones, tackle automation subjects, but generate very little of concrete and operational declination. To what we know, one of the only examples has been developed by one of our partners and a French bank for the enrollment of providers. The solution analyzes e-mails received by providers-emanating buyer in order to automatically create them into the database of Purchasing’s IS.

Purchases’ field of possibilities thus stays open and to-be explored. There is however a strong chance that subjects such as automated reconciliations of invoices and their payment, or strategic cross applications sourcing operations will be quickly evoked.

Written by Benjamin Verdier, Manager, Axys Consultants

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