Ops Digest #7: Solving Process Woes in Procurement Operations

July 19, 2023
March 21, 2023
min read
Ops Digest #7: Solving Process Woes in Procurement Operations

This is a preview of Ops Digest, our monthly newsletter for operations teams. This month, we're talking all things Procurement: how to reduce costly mistakes, increase efficiency, create guided buying experiences people actually follow, and make use of innovative tech, like automation and GPT. Subscribe and receive this newsletter in your inbox every month.

We’ve become somewhat obsessed with Procurement. An otherwise dry and frequently overlooked area, Procurement is actually critically important to every company, and it’s rife with opportunities for both risk and reward—not to mention process improvement.

Virtually everyone in an organization interacts with the procurement team in some form or fashion. (Need a laptop? Software license? Pencils? That’s all Procurement.) But almost nobody knows how to, uh, procure things. They don’t know what the policies and procedures are, so when they need something, they just kind of start asking around. Or they’ll go rogue (there’s literally a term for that) and find a way to get what they need outside of any existing systems, policies, and procedures. (And that’s if there are any existing systems, policies, and procedures to speak of in the first place!)

It’s a huge risk, legally and materially, when your company spend isn’t trackable. Not only do you lose insight into how much is being spent on what—an accounting nightmare—you lose the ability to audit. Fraud is all too easy.  

And of course, it’s also a woefully inefficient way to handle spending.

Companies need to make it so that following Procurement procedures is easier than not following them. It's all about removing friction.  

The more we learned about the stuff that keeps procurement pros up at night, the more we realized we have a solution for it.

Ops in the field

So, Procurement. It’s hard. It’s hard to coordinate supply chains; it’s hard to juggle the wild diversity of requests; it’s hard to track and control rogue spending; and it’s hard to tussle with things like siloed systems and databases, and the need for approvals from multiple stakeholders. 

It would be much, much simpler and easier if everyone would just follow the established guidelines. That would sharply curb risk and ensure better tracking, transparency, and auditability. 

But people don’t, because it’s usually easier and simpler to work around or outside of those procedures. Most processes suck. To get higher process adoption, you need to improve the user experience such that following the guidelines is easier than not.

That user experience—that’s the heart of the problem. Tonkean is uniquely great at making processes of all kinds easier, more efficient, and more trackable, by using no-code automation and AI. We created a product suite aimed specifically at Procurement. 

It’s called ProcurementWorks, and here are the highlights:

  • Monitors and wraps around your existing tools, meaning you can create processes that allow employees to submit requests from the systems they typically work in, such as Slack, Teams, and Outlook
  • Brings AI to procurement via ProcurementGPT, a tool that allows procurement teams to create processes that automatically triage and classify unstructured inbound business requests. Automatically identify appropriate purchase categories, analyze vendors’ websites, extract their benefits, suggest alternatives, and auto-generate RFx. Fully automate tail-spend processing, strategic sourcing, and “3 Bids and a Buy.”
  • Enables procurement teams to build guided buying experiences that are personalized for each requester and that intelligently automates the intake, triage, and coordination of every request, from tail-spend to strategic sourcing.
  • Provides dashboards for full visibility and tracking.

Super important to know: Tonkean doesn’t replace all your other apps; it just wraps around them all. That means you don’t have to blow up your tech stack. In this way, Tonkean enables you to get the most out of what you already have. 

And most stakeholders don’t have to learn to use Tonkean at all. They may not even notice it’s there, because Tonkean seamlessly connects with the apps they use. All they know is that they automatically get the right form or document or question at the right time. 

For more information on how this all works, read our Procurement 101 blog post and see our recent announcement. And head over here to try ProcurementWorks for free. 

Community Spotlight

Exciting news! Starting April 17th, our AdaptivOps community will officially be merging with Tonkean

What does that mean for you? Same awesome community, same content—new look. 

Our mission in building the AdaptivOps community was to create a place for operations professionals to grow, learn, and MAKE in their careers. Now, three years later, we have 600 members, bi-weekly events, an awesome slack forum, and a top-ranked podcast

With this merger, that mission remains the same, but with a closer connection to the Tonkean brand. This allows for larger stakeholder involvement from our parent company, meaning more attention and juice put behind making this an even better community for you. 

Curious to see the rebrand? Sign up for AdaptivOps.

Podcast: Modern Business Operations

Having a coherent culture is a key ingredient in helping new employees jump in beside seasoned veterans, says Jaclyn Berger, VP, Operations - Global Support at Adyen.

In this episode, Jaclyn and host Sagi Eliyahu discuss:

  • Why you should always be hiring for cultural fit.
  • The need for employees to grow from generalists to specialists as the company scales.
  • The value of anecdotal information, but the superiority of metrics and data to those anecdotes.

Subscribe to the Modern Business Operations podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Updates from Tonkean

  • In an upcoming webinar, Achieving Process Excellence: Tonkean's GPT and OpenAI Integration, we’ll discuss how Tonkean's workflow automation platform, powered by GPT and our OpenAI integration, can revolutionize your business processes. Our AI-powered automation solutions can streamline complex workflows, optimize efficiency, and enable internal service and operations teams to build processes people actually follow. Whether it's procurement, legal, or any other area of your business, our intelligent workflows can help you do more with less effort. We'll share best practices, use cases, and insights on how Tonkean's AI integration can improve your business operations, and help you stay ahead of the competition. Join us to learn about the future of workflow automation and how Tonkean GPT and OpenAI can transform your business processes. See you on March 30th from 10-11am PST!
  • This month’s Tonkean release notes are headlined by the Solution Studio’s Module Builder, again. New features include an Item Requester. The requester is a critical persona that’s served by your Tonkean workflows. To that end, we’ver added a new Requester field so you can see who the unique requesters are in your process. We’ve added new data sources, too: Dun & Bradstreet, Deel, Fountain, NextCloud, Oracle DB, and our own InvoicesGPT. We fixed a few bugs, too.
  • Be sure to check out our newest initiative aimed at making Tonkean even easier to use, all on your own: Tonkean 101! Step by step guides and quick, snackable videos.

Thanks for checking out Ops Digest! If you’d like to learn more about who Tonkean is or what we do, we have a few different kinds of trials that you can sign up for. They walk users through our most powerful solutions, including Legal intake, Customer onboarding, Employee onboarding, and Email inbox automation. Sign up for one here!

Subscribe and receive this newsletter in your inbox every month!

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