RPA and Smart Automation
Engineering Firm Automates the Vendor Research Process to Streamline Procurement
The Procurement Team of a Global Technical and Engineering Services Client receives purchasing requisitions for products and parts on a daily basis. To perform the Vendor Research Process, the Procurement Team’s buyers access these new part requisitions in the company’s Internal Catalogue System, then log into and manually navigate an Inventory Locator Platform to search for part pricing and availability from different vendors. The buyers gather this information from the Inventory Locator to compare pricing, capability, part status, and availability, then download reports of the vendor data to complete the requisition and make a purchasing decision. To relieve the buyers of this navigation-heavy process and reduce the time spent completing requisitions, Accelirate developed an automated solution capable of executing the task.
Incoming requisitions are housed in the client’s Internal Catalog System. When a buyer checks the system and sees that a new requisition has been placed, they send an email to the Bot with the requested part number in the subject line. The Bot periodically checks its inbox for emails with the subject line containing “Inventory Platform Search Part Number [¬part number]”.
After “reading” the requisition email, the Bot accesses the Inventory Locator Platform and searches for the requested part number. The Bot ¬finds all vendors that supply the requested part and downloads reports for each to compare supplier data, including a capability report, parts availability report, and a parts status and pricing report.
The Bot merges the vendor data into a single PDF report and emails the report to the buyer. If an exception occurred, the Bot will report the exception to the Procurement and Purchasing team.
The Bot then uploads the final merged report into the company’s Internal Catalog System.
Applying automation reduced processing time by 50%, with the Bot taking 2.5 minutes to perform a vendor search that previously took a buyer 5 minutes to perform on average. The buyers can now continue their high-level work while the Bot collects vendor information. The automation also helped create additional capacity: since the Bot uploads the merged vendor reports into the company’s Internal Catalog System when finished, the Procurement Team is able to access all part data in the same application. Automating this process also standardized the way vendor data is gathered and streamlined the way the team receives bids and proposals.