I recently led the implementation of a procurement system at one of my clients. Overall, the project went well, but, like all system implementations, there were some unanticipated challenges. Teams implementing a new purchasing system should plan and anticipate for these three challenges:
- Updating contact information and communicating with non-enabled vendors: the procurement system distributes approved purchase orders (POs). For this to work, the team needs to provide the distribution email for POs. Gathering these will take time if not already available. The procurement system allows vendors to send invoices through a supplier portal. Both you and your supplier will benefit because invoices are processed electronically into the system without accounts payable touching the invoice. Communicating and training vendors about this feature will take additional time.
- Email notifications getting caught in spam filters: the procurement system will send several email notifications, including requisition, form, and invoice approvals. If the system is using the same email for distribution to end-users, have your IT department permit all emails from the distribution email address. Monitor transactions in the production account because this can be hard to test in a test environment. This will ensure there is not an unnecessary buildup of unapproved transactions.
- Converting old POs into the new system: in the busy life of a finance team, the open PO report can spiral quickly into a mess. When converting purchase orders to the new system, take the opportunity to update CRO studies with applicable change orders and close any old projects. Once on the new system, keep the old system active for a few months to limit moving POs over. Another potential challenge will be vendors not including the new PO number on future invoices. This will make it hard for accounts payable to apply the invoice to the new PO.
Moving to an enterprise-level purchasing software is an exciting milestone for an early-stage biotech organization. To ensure a successful transition, teams should be prepared for common challenges that arise from changing procurement systems. Having a team that is experienced when dealing with these challenges is critical for success. intheBlk’s consulting team has experience implementing purchasing software and can help manage your project. Contact us at info@intheblksoftware to find out more.