Why purchasing should choose an AI-based automation solution

Cutting-edge technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionise procurement. In operational purchasing, there is still a predominantly manual process chain with many error-prone activities. The pressure on purchasing is increasing as the effort required for manual operational processes increases exponentially with the number of transactions and suppliers. For businesses to remain competitive and future-proof, operational activities must be automated. Manual tasks must be completed quickly and without error, so that team members have more time for value-adding tasks. Therefore, it has become increasingly important to implement automation solutions that optimise document processing. AI-powered software solutions automate document processing efficiently and reliably which enables a smooth electronic connection between business partners.  Read more about the benefits and the steps involved in choosing an AI-based automation solution in purchasing. 

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Step 1: Collect and evaluate data

In every company, data is collected on a daily basis. The first step should be to get an overview of where and how data is collected and what data is available. Find out here why clean data is foundational to efficient processes and how the Netfira Platform improves data quality through automation.  

Step 2: Identify and evaluate fields of application

This data is a prerequisite for identifying and evaluating fields of application in the company. AI technology can be used profitably in many areas – such as the purchasing department.  Moreover, AI technologies far exceed the possibilities of conventional Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and are therefore better suited for implementing sustainable digitisation and automation strategies in the long term. For more information on the differences between AI and RPA and the advantages of AI, check out the blog article “Which intelligent automation solution for procurement is better: RPA or AI? 

Step 3: Develop a strategy and select an automation solution

The vision of a paperless office with automated operational processes is shared by many future-focused companies. A strategy developed to achieve this includes the definition of strategic goals which includes the selection of suitable AI-based software. Doing that, some questions need to be answered: What resources are available? Which software provider do I work with? Which platform is used? Do I use a self-hosted cloud? Do I work with the company’s own IT or do I use the services of an external IT department? 

Netfira’s checklist for defining software requirements helps you to prepare and accelerate the software selection process.  Subsequently, the software selection checklist from Netfira supports you in defining goals that meet the SMART criteria and selecting a suitable software solution that meets your needs.  

Automating operational purchasing with AI

The use of AI-powered software solutions in operational procurement leads to automation, acceleration and optimisation. AI can support the exchange of information and at the same time relate content. In operational procurement, this applies to the extraction of data, the comparison of data and the validation of information. 

How the Netfira Platform uses AI to automate purchasing

With the AI-based solution from Netfira, B2B documents such as orders, order confirmations, advanced shipping notices, invoices and other documents can be automatically exchanged and processed between purchasing and its business partners. AI enables purchasing to connect business partners electronically. All significant suppliers, including the small ones, can be connected quickly and easily with the AI-based Netfira Onboarding App. Thanks to AI, unstructured data can be harmonised in free texts or in documents such as order confirmations and customer orders. Deviating terms in supplier documents, ambiguous units of measurement or rare languages are no longer a problem as Netfira’s AI is constantly learning. Manual intervention is hardly necessary. 

The Netfira Platform: A cloud-based SaaS solution

The Netfira Platform relies on AI to automate the bidirectional exchange of B2B documents and data. Automating document workflows in the cloud increases efficiency, optimises processes, and unlocks procurement’s full potential. SaaS solutions allow flexibility, scalability and low costs. In addition, the automation solution can be implemented without training and internal IT is hardly involved in the project. The central advantage is that IT teams, who are usually busy with existing responsibilities, do not have to be convinced of the automation strategy and do not have to deal with a work-intensive project. When implementing the Netfira Platform, there are only five tasks that require action from internal IT teams. The Netfira Platform is offered as a SaaS solution hosted in the cloud. 

The benefits of SaaS and AI

Artificial intelligence and the SaaS service model are two technologies with high future potential. Connecting the two with each other leads to even greater added value for purchasing. AI works more effectively in a web-based platform than in a locally installed solution, as a cloud solution offers frequent and free updates. Thus, AI-based automation solutions that operate as a SaaS model in the cloud bundle a multitude of advantages that enable purchasing to become future-proof: The flexibility of the cloud goes hand in hand with the flexibility of a learning AI, which can even process unstructured content with extremely high data accuracy. On top of that, there are low costs, a quick roll-out as well as uncomplicated and cost-effective scalability.

Why purchasing should choose the AI-based Netfira Platform

Thanks to its innovative AI, the Netfira Platform increases operational efficiency along the Procure-to-Pay (P2P) process by automating all documents, including purchase order confirmations, invoices, shipping notices, purchase orders, quotes and many more. With Netfira, the entire supply chain can be digitised and automated so that internal and external partners are seamlessly connected with one another. Manual and thus error-prone tasks are significantly reduced so that buyers have more time to concentrate on strategic and value-adding activities. The optimisation of the purchasing process with an AI-powered automation solution has positive effects on all downstream processes and involved departments.  

Syntegon case study

With a global roll-out of the Netfira Platform, Syntegon aims to automate and standardise purchasing processes at all locations. The Netfira Platform is used as the only automation solution for all existing ERP systems.

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