Count suppliers as LIVE only when they begin using the system
AP departments turn to e-Invoicing to save costs and improve downstream KPIs, such as days paid outstanding, discount capture, paid on time and exceptions. However, it is not enough to simply introduce technology and help suppliers sign up to the network. The benefits will not be achieved until suppliers fully transition to invoice submission on the network; it’s crucial not to lose sight of this.
As you embark on your e-Invoicing initiative, form your project team, assign the work and establish metrics, it is important to keep the transaction objective in focus.
You will talk about getting to a technical go-live, managing change and enrolling suppliers. While these are all critical enablers, they do not deliver results on their own. They provide the path to transaction automation, but your work isn’t done until your target suppliers move from enrolled to live and transacting, and, ultimately, 100% e-Invoicing.
Suppliers have a few additional steps to follow after enrollment. Depending on the e-Invoicing solution selected, they may have to update customer master records, train users, or work with the provider to build and test interfaces. But as time passes, it is natural for suppliers to lose focus or commitment and the longer a supplier sits in an enrolled (but not transacting) state, the less likely it is to move ahead.
Because of this risk, it is important to select a solution provider that is also focused on driving transaction volumes, to help ensure a smooth transition. Most importantly, project teams must work with the business-as-usual Procurement and AP operations teams to support suppliers until they are transacting successfully. Only then should the team count a supplier as live.
Even when your suppliers are live and transacting, your team should have established ways to take those suppliers to 100% e-Invoicing and maintain compliance with the e-Invoicing requirement into the future. The end result will be to maximize the impact on your AP-automated-transaction metric and the opportunity to impact your downstream KPIs.