In retailers’ quest for increased visibility and efficiency, digitization has been a godsend. Advancements like machine learning, automation and artificial intelligence have begun to seep into multiple facets of the supply chain, from sourcing to purchase management and every step in-between.
As a result, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find an area of the supply chain that organizations aren’t reinventing with newfound technology. In recent years, companies have even found ways to reinvent their payment and financial systems. While the process doesn’t get a lot of attention, digitized purchase-to-pay (P2P) solutions allow retailers to make payments to suppliers faster, cheaper and more efficiently than ever before.
P2P processes reduce the need for manual labor, allowing brands to save time and money on tedious paperwork that could easily be done digitally. As a vendor begins work for a brand, creating their packaging list and commercial invoice, P2P allows retailers to generate all documents that are required for the movement of the goods. Those documents are then sent to the freight forwarder and carrier, allowing retailers to bypass loads of manual paperwork and focus on what really matters: their product.
Think of P2P as a crystal ball that offers retailers much-needed, early insight into when their products will be shipped (often up to eight weeks before the shipment occurs). Retailers understand it’s easier to negotiate with a supplier before a shipment has left the factory to ensure the company is getting precisely what it needs, rather than after the shipment is out of their control. P2P proposes an easy way to enable greater visibility to all teams that are impacted by order processing and shipment management process.
Truly, the benefits of the approach are vast: P2P optimizes supplier relationships by automating the payment process and offering a single point of contact for procurement and payment. Through digitizing the payment process, it also improves compliance, control and service levels with all vendors, allowing all parties involved to see the status of payments and products in real time.
Retailers are transforming their businesses at alarming rates, investing in retail technology to stay competitive with peers. P2P is another step in that process, simplifying operations with a seamless payment solution. All supply chain processes begin with a purchase, and without a solid, reliable system in place to complete that transaction, most retailers are unnecessarily burdened.
As digitization continues its sweeping force across the supply chain, P2P adoption rates will also undoubtedly rise. New tech is inserting itself into the supply chain conversation, and P2P is the next revolution.
Like P2P, artificial intelligence and machine learning are changing the way retailers think about supply chain. Here’s how new technology is transforming the retail industry.