Leverage Labeling Software to Improve Procure-to-Pay Processes
By: Amin Sikander, Contributor
Supply chain disruptions continue to create headaches for businesses, and it is expected that these disruptions—like raw material shortages, labor supply problems and transportation snafus—will persist well beyond 2023. As a result, many companies are recognizing the importance of investing in technology that can enhance their sourcing operations and maintain reliable, sustainable supply chains. To improve supply chain efficacy amid today’s market uncertainties, we will examine challenges posed by procure-to-pay (P2P) processes, and how to solve these challenges by utilizing a labeling platform.
In my previous article, Maintaining Supply Chain Agility Through Labeling, I examined the importance of labels in the supply chain and how organizations can take simple steps to improve supply chain agility. Leveraging a cloud labeling platform to centralize label templates can improve collaboration with partners across the entire supply chain ecosystem. In this article, I’ll build on this step and discuss how modern digital labeling platforms can mitigate common, critical issues within the P2P process.
Inefficient P2P processes create several complications, including lack of transparency, poor supplier relationships, low compliance levels, human error and schedule delays. Traditional P2P systems often lack real-time visibility into order status, inventory levels or delivery schedules, leaving all parties unaware of critical information. The lack of transparency can negatively affect P2P efficiency and lead to procurement delays, over-stocking and order inaccuracies. These issues are exacerbated by disparate system data integration challenges, making it difficult to synchronize data, exchange information and maintain data accuracy.
To improve P2P processes, we must bridge the order-to-cash (O2C) gap, a lack of visibility caused by the lack of data during this step. The solution? Labels. Labels can provide visibility into a supplier O2C process by categorizing and tracking O2C activities through every stage. Modern label management solutions bridge the O2C gap by adding visibility, compliance, workflow automation, streamlined payments, supplier management and data integration.
Visibility. Technology silos between companies and suppliers prevent companies from having real-time visibility into critical order fulfillment data. Adopting modern technologies that offer real-time tracking, order monitoring and inventory visibility can eliminate silos, enabling accurate forecasting, proactive issue resolution and improved customer satisfaction. Integrating a supplier’s shipment process with a common labeling platform improves visibility across the supply chain. Labels are key as they can be used to tag and track shipments and deliveries from suppliers to warehouses. Unique RFID tags or other labels on each shipment provide full visibility into the movement of goods, including the shipping process, estimated delivery dates and transportation delays. Using this information, companies can address transportation issues and develop efficient receiving dock management schedules.
Compliance. Labeling also plays a crucial role in ensuring internal policy and external regulation compliance. By working with a single cloud-based labeling platform, companies can confirm that all supply chain partners are using a single source of truth and accurate, approved labels. Companies can create compliance rules that are automatically enforced on the supplier side to ensure that all necessary data is printed on the label.
Workflow automation. Labels can be used as triggers or conditions in workflow automation systems. By defining specific label details, organizations can automate corresponding actions or routing decisions. For example, an invoice labeled as urgent can be automatically escalated for fast processing, streamlining the P2P process and reducing manual intervention.
Streamlined payments. Linking an enterprise P2P to a supplier O2C can create streamlined payment processes and receiving processes with shipments pre-validated by the labeling platform.
Supplier management. Labels also enable data analysis and reporting on suppliers’ O2C processes. By aggregating label data, organizations can generate reports and insights regarding supplier performance, order fulfillment, payment patterns and other key metrics. These reports provide visibility into supplier efficiency to help organizations make data-driven decisions and identify areas for improvement. Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs), implementing performance measurement mechanisms and conducting regular performance reviews can facilitate transparent evaluation, identify areas for improvement and drive continuous performance enhancement.
Data integration. Last but not least, the integration capabilities of a cloud-based labeling platform play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between P2P and O2C. By connecting with a company P2P system and supplier O2C system, the labeling platform facilitates real-time data exchange for accurate, up-to-date information sharing. This integration eliminates manual data entry, reduces errors and ensures data consistency throughout the supply chain. For example, you can ensure that a supplier is only shipping products for approved purchase orders (POs) with the correct quantities and items.
Implementing a well-designed labeling strategy can significantly contribute to addressing P2P challenges and achieving constructive outcomes. For instance, modern cloud labeling platforms enable organizations to gain actionable insights, improve compliance, optimize spend and streamline operations. As mentioned in the previous article, labels are the oil that keeps an organization’s engine running. WMHS
Amin Sikander is Co-founder & President of Synkrato. He has more than 25 years of experience in supply-chain solutions and was one of the original architects of Oracle WMS. Synkrato harnesses the power of AI and AR to bridge the gap between the physical and digital world. Its four core components, Digital Twin, AI-Driven Logistics, Mobility, and Digital Labeling help make supply chains reliable, resilient and scalable (www.synkrato.com).
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