According to Euler Hermès, the global credit insurance leader, the average Days Sales Outstanding is becoming longer: between 2007 and 2017, it increased by 2 days and reached a record level of 66 days! This year, the trend is expected to confirmed by an increase of one day in the average Days Sales Outstanding (1). It is therefore crucial for your company to maintain good relationships with your suppliers.

Fortunately, meeting payment deadlines is a legal obligation that can easily be honored by automating the supplier process. A major lever for improving both team productivity and the quality of relationships with your supplier. How can you guarantee the success of this type of project? ITESOFT supports business in their invoice processing projects. Based on more than 30 years of expertise in the field of automation of processes, we have listed the 5 key factors that will enable you to successfully implement your supplier process automation project.

Define clear, specific objectives

As with any project, the first stage consists of defining the objectives that you wish to achieve by undertaking this supplier process automation project. By conducting an audit of the current situation, you will identify the actions to be given priority. Indeed, even though there may be several objectives, having a clear guiding principle will enable you to guide the project teams. On defining them, bear in mind that they must be quantifiable so that you can then analyze the impact of your actions. Be consistent: if the objectives you set are too ambitious, you risk depleting your internal resources.

Sponsor a multi-disciplinary project by general management

The main benefits of an automation project are a reduction in costs and an increase in the productivity of your workers. It is therefore obvious that a project for automating the P2P process will lead to changes in working methods and organization. In order to gain support from your organization, highlight this project as part of a global change management process. A project like this leads to changes within a company, therefore it is crucial to obtain support from the General Management. It will be responsible for handling difficult situations by offering arbitration and fostering better support for the project from those involved in it. Talk about your project and involve all the stakeholders who will be affected. Finally, appoint “specialist users”: these project ambassadors will be the points of contact between you and the other employees.

Adopt best practices, adapting them to your organization

The best practices that we share with you are the result of more than 300 projects carried out in the field of automation of P2P supplier processes. However, you cannot simply apply them to the letter to guarantee that your project will be a success. Every company is unique: adapt them to the culture of yours. Make the most of automation to better the models that work in your company and standardize your practices as far as possible so that you can benefit from all the advantages of the solution that you have chosen. A solution that is too tailored is not necessarily the best one; a solution with a generic workflow based on best practices, but capable of being adapted to your specific requirements by configuring it will offer you more flexibility during and after the project. Finally, never lose sight of the targets that you have set yourself. Ensure that the solution that you choose is the one that will meet them most efficiently.

Manage your project in AGILE mode for an ROI approach

Agile methods have the advantage of working through repetitions, which makes it possible to test them quickly. In less than three months, your “specialist users” will be able to test the solution. To stop your project from running slowly, clean up your supplier reference systems, which will help to speed up automation. By involving your IT Manager right from the start in the digitization of the supplier accounts process, you will benefit from their technical expertise, particularly when it comes to ERP integration. So that all stakeholders can monitor the progress of the project and suggest any recommendations to improve its operation, set up dashboards based on KPIs defined before the start of the project.

Ask your suppliers for their opinion

Only 19% (2) of major French companies offer visibility to their suppliers regarding processing of their invoices. Use automation to improve communication with your partners. By allowing them to view the processing status of their invoices via a supplier portal, you are setting up a more smooth-running system. You will thus establish a climate of trust in the supplier relationship with proof of sending of documents that considerably limits the risks of disputes or omissions. Explaining the benefits that they can get from it to them rather than imposing this new practice on them is a guarantee of success of the project. Finally, make the most of this change to redefine the ground rules of your contractual relationship (systematic inclusion of the purchase order number on the invoice, specific references, etc.). You will thus have all the necessary documents available in the event of an audit.

(1) The global average Days Sales Outstanding reached a 10-year record level (66 days in 2017) - Euler Hermès article - May 2018 (2) Name and shame: and the award for the worst Days Sales Outstanding in France goes to... the Government - Article in Atlantico - March 2018