Automating Your Vendor Onboarding with BPM + RPA

Katherine Manning May 6, 2021 BPM

automate-vendor-onboarding

Vendor onboarding is a systematic process known as supplier relationship management (SRM) that uses various systems to research, qualify, approve, partner with, manage, and make payments to current supply vendors. 

It resembles employee onboarding in some ways. For example, new partners are trained on your organization’s processes, systems, compliance protocols, and expectations.

In the digital era, managing vendor onboarding is also prone to risks such as third-party data breaches. For instance, some vendors may have direct access to specific system components. Managing your vendors via outdated spreadsheets and other manual processes is not only time-consuming and error-prone; it is also vulnerable to breaches.

However, a combination of BPM and RPA can be utilized to automate your vendor’s onboarding process’s most critical components to keep access secure and compliant.

The Benefits of Automating Vendor Onboarding

Market Competitiveness

Market competitiveness is determined partially by effective vendor management and the ability to purchase the supplies you need when you need them and at the right price point. Consider the benefits of adding BPM and RPA bots working as virtual assistants to optimize vendor onboarding.

Performance Data

Automating vendor performance data collection gives your company the information you need to manage expectations, align your purchases with your business objectives, and eliminate redundancies. Automation streamlines vendor onboarding to decrease startup time and reduce waste. Ultimately, it can drive a higher ROI.

Reducing Compliance Risks

There is also an essential aspect of vendor onboarding that revolves around local, state, federal, national, and global regulations. Your vendors must meet your internal policies and requirements to ensure compliance risks in the future.

Vendor Vetting Processes 

Fortunately, you can automate the vetting process. It’s critical to note that poor vendor relationships can disrupt your supply chain. Therefore, it is vital to start on the right foot by making the vendor onboarding much more straightforward for each party by automating communication, reviews, approval, and training portions. As a result, you can create a strong foundation for an essential and long-term relationship.

Vendor Selection

Another component of vendor onboarding is ensuring that you pick the right vendors. Why? Well, the wrong suppliers can induce damage to your reputation. Your brand is an extension of your organization’s products and services. When you can automate and effectively manage vendor onboarding and performance, you can also elevate your overall reputation.

As you can see, taking a strategic approach to vendor onboarding while using the right tools such as BPM and RPA are essential if you manage more than one vendor from more than one location. Adopt a company-wide mindset of using automation to eliminate quality failures and costs associated with duplication.

Selecting a BPM + RPA Solution for Vendor Onboarding

There are several considerations for determining the best BPM and RPA solution for vendor onboarding, including: 

  • Built-in cyber security
  • Self-service options
  • Frictionless integration with your current systems

The size of your organization and number of vendors it manages matters.  If you are planning for growth, as most companies are, then it’s critical to use an automated platform that can scale. 

To illustrate, if you are a young E-commerce company searching for an optimized method of managing your supplier relationships, then you may want to have the ability to add features down the line that include inventory management, stocking, packing, shipping, and backorder management.

Here are some questions to ask of your automated system:

  1.  Can it streamline review and approval processes?
  2.  Will it send alerts on compliance issues, process tracking, workflows, deadlines, or low supplies?
  3.  Does it offer the right tools to organize supplier contracts and payments? 
  4.  Can it automate routine tasks such as payments, automated forms, quoting, and invoicing?
  5.  Does it provide a system for data validation, electronic signatures, collection, and routing?
  6.  Can it provide an interactive portal for open communication and sharing? 
  7.  Does it have a search function?

Remember, as remote work becomes permanent, it’s also vital to ensure the ability to access a mobile application for both your vendors and your organization to automate and manage every essential vendor function with easy setup and configuration. Additionally, it’s important to use a platform that integrates and streamlines processes to prevent silos. Not to mention, it’s critical to implement a platform that creates audit trails necessary for compliance management. Finally, it should incorporate centralized cyber security features to protect your data and trade secrets.

Initiating Discovery

Consider the number of vendors that can access your systems continuously. Which accounts are important for ensuring their processes are executed? Do they require privileged access? Unfortunately, shadow IT can complicate vendor onboarding. On the other hand, manual processes and in-person meetings are neither reliable nor efficient.

It’s also time-consuming to comb through manual records and spreadsheets to find the information you need for discovery, payment configuration, and payment processing. Thankfully, you can use RPA bots to search for vendors within your network and automate vendor discovery to determine where vendors keep your data. Discovery is essential if your organization is subject to global data privacy regulations.

Automate your vendor onboarding with BPM and RPA

In the always-connected marketplace, vendor onboarding can be complicated and time-consuming. Vendors are taking on more prominent roles, and your oversight should be highly detail-oriented. The regulatory climate is on the rise, and you are responsible for stringent protocols with your company and your vendors. As a result, manual management is neither feasible nor competitive. However, you can integrate multiple onboarding processes with BPM and RPA for end-to-end process orchestration. 

Automation will not only make your systems more compliant, but it will also make vendor onboarding easier. With ProcessMaker’s intelligent business process management suite (iBPMS), you can take process automation to the next level and leverage RPA bots within your vendor onboarding processes.

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