The virtues of going paperless have long been extolled: it saves money, maximises workflow, creates efficiencies, speeds things up and is a big win for sustainability. The challenge is how to do it, particularly in the paper-heavy world of procurement.
Three ways to go paperless
1. Choose electronic invoicing
Businesses can achieve up to 80% cost savings by using e-invoicing. It’s a highly efficient way to create and monitor transactional documents, removing the need to print, scan, match reference numbers and manually key in data. In addition, e-invoicing can help procurement teams increase accuracy and achieve economies of scale by processing large volumes of invoices quickly and easily.
2. Forgo ink signatures
Requiring ink signatures on paper-based documents is impractical and time-consuming for suppliers. Days or even weeks can go by in the pursuit of multiple or high-ranking signatures. The effort to scan and upload these to an otherwise electronic bidding system is also cumbersome. Electronic signatures, on the other hand, take moments and can be collected from any device – handy for the CEO on the move.
3. Choose e-procurement
A complete online procurement process is the best way to stay transparent and monitor the status of documents. It also improves the customer/supplier experience, ensuring a more collaborative process and saving time, costs and effort.
From 300,000 sheets to zero: a case study
Dubai Municipality recently reported the results of its strategic plan to reduce its paper consumption. A government organisation responsible for planning, designing, building and managing Dubai’s municipal infrastructure, in 2015 it became the Emirate’s first government department to automate their entire procurement cycle.
The organisation’s strategic goal to achieve environmental sustainability has been amply supported by e-procurement, reducing its high volume of paper consumption (300,000 sheets annually). It began in the contracts and purchasing department where integrated electronic systems were introduced. The automated, online process includes issuing requirements, collection and evaluation of supplier proposals and awarding contracts. The next step in the move to paperless procurement is bidding online and they report that the change has also reduced administrative pressure and expedited decision-making