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When organizations hit Advanced or Level 3 on the Spend Matters e-invoicing maturity scale, 100% enablement is typically the goal. Getting to this level may require engaging in multiple enablement options inclusive of machine-to-machine connectivity, supplier portals, email and even scan/capture/conversion services to capture the tail-end of small suppliers (although we would argue that scan/capture should not really count as electronic invoicing because of the latency involved at different stages of the process). Perhaps most important at the Advanced maturity level is that procurement and AP organizations do not tolerate supplier fall-out in the process. To achieve such a high level of supplier enablement success, it is common for organizations to begin to dangle carrots to suppliers for participation. This could range from the basic (e.g., visibility into invoice and payment status) to the more sophisticated (benchmarks/KPIs provided back to suppliers).
Spend Matters' Lead Analyst Thomas Kase authored a Perspectives paper early in 2011 titled: Developing and Maintaining Accurate Supplier Data: Lessons from Personal Hygiene to Overcome Dirty Supplier Information in Finance and Procurement. In it, he argues that one of the advantages of a rigorous and thorough enablement process is to create an undisputed single point of reference for suppliers. This is why an automated registration process that directs all vendors in a way that collects and validates details is so important. Level 3 organizations often become more focused on the accuracy of supplier data as well, insuring that typos, transpositions and other errors are nearly be eliminated, or at least addressed in an automated manner. Workflow and automation steps to improve enablement accuracy may include supplier notifications, reminders, data validations, follow-up communications, data entry, data entry corrections, approval and internal notifications.
When it comes to supplier management costs, Level 3 also tend to analyze metrics that may consider the typical cost to maintain and keep current supplier profile information on an annual basis, percentage of supplier profile changes/updates requiring manual (AP/procurement) intervention, cost to gather new information from suppliers related to regulatory (or related) requirements impacting AP, etc. Organizations may also track metrics pertaining to supplier satisfaction (overall) and supplier satisfaction with the payables process.
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