Purchasing departments: how to optimize and secure your Procure-to-Pay process within your group?

24 June 2021

Business Insight

The procure-to-pay process is a major performance lever for companies. Also known as purchase-to-pay, it refers to the purchasing process from the search to the payment of the good or service. It covers all types of B2B purchases: raw materials, IT equipment, office supplies, etc. Orders range from the most strategic purchases to those with low added value. So that purchasing departments can dedicate their time to strategic actions, it is therefore essential to optimize and secure the procure-to-pay process. But how can this be done? Our answers.


Optimization of the procure-to-pay process: a performance lever for companies

Corporate purchasing departments face many challenges in their procure-to-pay process. These major challenges include:

  • Reduction of processing times,
  • Group-wide visibility and control of expenses,
  • Saving time so that employees can focus on more strategic missions,
  • Error reduction,
  • Better supplier management.

Optimizing the procure-to-pay process also aims to solve these issues. Knowing that in 2019, only 1 out of 3 purchasing departments was digitalised (Opinionway study), the digitalization of the procure-to-pay process seems to be the ideal solution to gain in performance.


Procure-to-Pay: how to optimize and secure your process?


1. Standardize the process to gain efficiency

The first step to optimize and secure your procure-to-pay process is to standardize your method:

  • Identify the needs and define the constraints
  • Select suppliers that best meet the company’s needs
  • Draw up supplier contracts and carry out negotiations
  • Transmit the purchase order to the supplier
  • Receive and control orders to ensure their conformity
  • Reconcile invoices and purchase orders
  • Proceed with the payment of the invoices according to the predefined modalities.

It is then up to each structure to adapt its procedure to the specificities of its activity. The key is to identify the challenges of its procure-to-pay process, to establish a sequence of standardized and efficient operations. Once the procure-to-pay process is standardized in accordance with the company’s needs, it can identify the steps to be digitalized.


2. Automate and digitalize the process with an adapted tool

To start the digitalization of its procure-to-pay process, there are several solutions:

Rely on your ERP

Many companies are already equipped with ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning, so it can be interesting to explore their functionalities. ERP systems allow you to manage all the processes of a company and therefore include, for the most part, functionalities related to procure-to-pay. Relying on your ERP can be a good way to optimize your process, by managing activities such as supplier management or electronic invoicing for example. Finding out about the possibilities of your ERP in terms of procure-to-pay can thus be a first step towards the digitalization of your procure-to-pay process.


Using procure-to-pay software

Many specialized software applications are available on the market. Thanks to specific technologies and functionalities, they allow dematerializing the procure-to-pay process at the group level, to gain efficiency. Automation of certain steps in the process, dematerialization of invoices, budget control, information security, analysis of high value-added operations… Depending on your needs and your IT environment, it is up to you to identify the specialized procure-to-pay software that best suits your needs.


Create an e-procurement marketplace

An e-procurement marketplace connects corporate buyers with referenced suppliers. By creating their marketplace, companies can make their purchases quickly and easily from the catalog of products available on the platform. This centralization offers a double advantage: in addition to saving precious time, purchasing departments can easily compare offers to get the best price. Thus, the e-procurement marketplace allows to optimize and secure the procure-to-pay process: reduction of administrative costs related to purchases, control of expenses and stocks, simplification of sourcing, data security, better management of supplier relations… In fine, the creation of an e-procurement marketplace revolutionizes the management of the procure-to-pay process by allowing groups to :

  • Standardize and secure their purchases by digitizing their activity;
  • Benefit from a centralized offer;
  • Reduce costs and increase margins;
  • Focus their resources on strategic purchases.


Read also: Why create a marketplace for e-procurement?


The creation of an e-procurement marketplace is within the reach of all companies and offers many advantages. However, certain characteristics need to be taken into account before starting, especially in terms of payment flows and regulations. B2B purchases specific to the procure-to-pay process of companies have indeed specificities that should not be neglected. Adapted payment methods, credit insurance, billing mandate… all these elements are essential for the model to work.


Lemonway is a certified payment service provider that manages your marketplace’s payment flows. Are you planning to launch your marketplace to optimize and secure your procure-to-pay process? At Lemonway, we offer a multitude of services to adapt your payment platform to the specificities of your procure-to-pay process. Want to know more? Contact us now!