Using Procurement Automation to Reduce Order Cycle Time

Spend Matters welcomes another guest post from Kevin Turner, Director of Dell’s PremierConnect program.

This is the final post in my series on how automating the procurement process with your supplier provides important benefits in four key areas: streamlined order processing, increased contract compliance, increased order accuracy, and reduced cycle time. The last topic is the one I will discuss today.

Automating your procurement process with your suppliers can significantly reduce the time it takes to receive the ordered product. According to industry research, a B2B ecommerce solution can cut cycle time from seven days to two. Not only does this mean you receive product for key projects sooner, it can also increase invoice-to-pay efficiency.

We had a customer come to our office after we finished their integration process so we could assist in training his department managers on the new ordering process. During the half-day training session, he placed a live order as he needed a new laptop. Once the order was placed, the newly implemented, integrated ordering solution took over, and the order went from his “submit” to our manufacturing floor within seconds.

All of the acknowledgment and confirmation notices were received and this concluded the training session. The customer traveled back to his home office the next day and upon arriving, he noticed a box in his office. He called to tell me that the live order he placed the previous day during the training session had actually beat him to his office. He had been accustomed to the several days it normally takes to get the order through his workflow process, but with the new automation, expectations can be higher.


As mentioned above, our research suggests automating the procurement process can reduce the cycle time by up to five days. With the reduction in cycle time, buyers can receive their products much sooner and begin to use the ordered products for strategic projects and start to realize the benefits of the ordered products quicker. Overall, not only does procurement automation streamline the order process, increase contract compliance, reduce order errors, and cut cycle time, it also allows buyers and suppliers to enhance the business relationship. Time normally spent on mundane tasks can be freed up to focus on more strategic opportunities, and that can equate to a significant impact to profitability.

So don’t let the task of integrating your strategic suppliers into your ERP system overwhelm you. Rely on the knowledge and experience of your suppliers to help you along the way. In the end, the positive impact achieved will overshadow the effort.

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