Check out our New Book: Red Cloud Road, How Strategic Process Management Drives Competitive Advantage. LEARN MORE >

Procurement Automation: Top 8 Key Challenges

Procurement managers have numerous hurdles in today’s competitive and rapidly changing world of technology in order to maintain a flawless end-to-end procurement process. As a result, procurement experts are increasingly focused on the growing issues that businesses encounter in the procurement automation arena.

To reduce procurement issues, businesses must concentrate on leveraging the procurement process by using innovative tactics such as supply chain management with a larger number of interactions to avoid management errors. Also, the purchasing department and the accounts payable department can be integrated using procure to pay process technologies.

Procurement managers should concentrate on making the process error-free in addition to cost reduction and delivery of procurement services. Because procurement’s importance is growing at a rapid rate, businesses should concentrate their efforts on the problems that must be overcome in order to successfully complete procurement operations.

In this post, we’ll look at the top and most prevalent procurement automation difficulties that businesses face, as well as how to address them in order to accomplish perfect procurement management.

Seller Selection and Management

Vendor selection is one of the most difficult aspects of procurement automation for businesses. It’s not just tough to identify high-quality suppliers; it’s also crucial to qualify them through the most stringent procurement procedure possible. To establish a long-term partnership, a vendor should be picked based on their amount of flexibility.

Vendors should be aware of your company’s requirements as well as their role in generating revenue. So, before you choose a low-cost vendor, it’s a good idea to look into your other negotiating possibilities.

After you’ve chosen a vendor, the next step is vendor management, which can be hard and difficult. The procurement manager’s job is to establish open channels of communication between vendors and businesses in order to drive them into profitable territory. As a result, the procurement management team must keep track of the vendors’ output based on the quality and consistency of the goods they produce on a regular basis.

Outside Purchase

Cutting procurement expenses and maximizing savings are two well-known procurement challenges that many businesses face. To save money on procurement, purchasing departments should discover the organization’s hidden or indirect spending so that they can outline the whole budget. This will assist management in identifying potential cost-cutting possibilities and eliminating unnecessary spending. Additionally, when negotiating with vendors, purchase teams must concentrate on how to obtain items at a reasonable price in order to accomplish significant procurement cost reductions.

Review the following aspects before final approval for better decision-making:

  • On a monthly or quarterly basis, how many orders are placed accidentally?
  • Is the timing of your order accurate? 
  • How often do you have to hurry an order and pay a premium to keep your vendors in the warehouse?

Returning to the acquire-to-pay process flow and revising the conditions listed above will help you save even more money, resulting in significant procurement savings.

Insufficient Data

Management can make better inventory decisions when they have access to accurate and up-to-date data. Procurement managers should concentrate on deploying new solutions that aid in obtaining the most reliable data as Big Data and AI become more prevalent. Inaccurate data is a major problem that can hurt a company’s bottom line.

Manual procurement solutions will not be able to trust the data used. Upgrade the process and apply procurement automation best practices, such as leveraging e-procurement services for online data analysis and reporting. It allows management to stay up to date with real-time data, which improves the planning and procurement quality.

Management of Risk

Risk management is critical, and it has a significant impact on procurement and supply chain management. One of the issues in procurement is identifying potential risks and adopting necessary measures to mitigate them. Order fulfillment risks, cost and quality risks, market risks, and the possibility of fraudulent conduct are some of the potential hazards in procurement. Organizations should consider risk mitigation while developing a procurement management strategy to minimize assaults and assure security.

Compact Procurement

Focusing on moving toward centralized procurement management is the best strategy to organize the centers of excellence structure and job assignments. A comprehensive e-procurement system that goes beyond MS Excel’s capabilities and provides a centralized procurement approach for tracking center of excellence activities is needed.

Unsuccessful Establishment of Internal Policy

While flexibility is crucial, your procurement approach must be guided by a defined policy. Employees in purchasing have no instructions for the best approach to accomplish everyday purchasing chores or how to deal with problems if there isn’t a clear policy in place.

Establishing a procurement policy for your firm keeps things running smoothly, standardized purchasing methods, and educates your personnel to avoid or rapidly deal with problems. It’s also simple to automate your purchasing software to enforce corporate policies automatically. Just bear in mind that you should examine your standards on a frequent basis to ensure that they are still relevant to your company’s current demands.


In today’s fast-paced corporate world, rigidity might be detrimental to your procurement system. If one of your suppliers runs out of an item you need or if another supplier offers you a better bargain, a procurement system that is too lean and rigid will prevent you from responding promptly.

Of course, too much supply chain flexibility can have drawbacks. While an agile, flexible strategy is adaptable, it can also be difficult to manage and forecast. You’ll need to strike a balance that works for your firm between lean and agile procurement.

Not Negotiating

The majority of the time, you assume the price you see is fixed. And you’re usually correct. However, if you expect to keep a long-term connection with a supplier, it’s worth asking whether they’ll negotiate discounts on repeat orders.

It nearly goes without saying that you should conduct yourself professionally when making your request. Keep in mind that you don’t want to annoy your providers by bugging them. It’s one thing to work out a deal that benefits both sides, and it’s quite another to try to haggle the price down every time you order anything.