Purchase order automation software is the solution of choice when it comes to the repetitive job of processing purchase orders. The software uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology to tackle many tasks associated with identifying, extracting, and exporting information from one of the key documents in the procurement process.
If you work in the purchasing or AP department of a company across any industry, then we’re sure you can just about imagine how time-saving it would be if you could delegate some of your daily paperwork-related work to someone else.
And it just so happens that we also think you should (and can) save time on such manual tasks, though we don’t recommend trying to talk your colleagues into doing that work for you.
Let’s say our solution is going to be far better than that.
A specialized tool created for the sole purpose of document processing that can deal with the entirety of your data extraction work.
Today, we’ll take a look at that in the light of purchase order automation.
How To: Automated Purchase Order Processing
So, the specialized tool we just mentioned is, in fact, Alphamoon’s platform powered by IDP (Intelligent Document Processing) and OCR. Its work revolves around deploying Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Optical Character Recognition technology to scan the document uploaded by you and to capture text information within it.
What once was a paper document containing valuable but unstructured PO data can now be processable and ready for you to use further.
In real-time, the tool contextually analyses and extracts the document text, identifying and linking data fields under the right category, i.e., purchase order number, date, seller address, quantity, buyer’s name, etc.
Following human validation, that is, a stage when you can simply check if the tool identified and extracted all the text it should have. The data is available to be exported and fed into your software of choice, whether that’s software for invoice generating or your company’s ERP, meaning you just introduced automation to purchase order data entry.
The great thing about all this is that automating purchase order processing in your company means simply repeating the above process for all the PO sent into your inbox, whether that’s 20 POs a day or 20,000. Actually, to make this even more of a streamlined experience, you can just connect your inbox directly to Alphamoon’s platform, so the incoming Purchase Orders land straight in the IDP platform itself, ready for processing.
As you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re already identifying some of the most significant benefits of the tool. Time-saving for one, scalable, process optimizing… and you’re completely right, so let’s get straight into it and take a closer look at all 9 benefits of using a PO automation software.
9 benefits of automating data extraction
Thanks to the introduction of an automated PO data extraction tool, you can reduce the risk of errors that, let’s face it, is hard to avoid when looking for data and then retyping it by hand during manual document processing.
This is especially important because in life, and certainly in business, errors can be costly to fix and so avoiding them is simply the better option, especially when it comes to a potential error in, e.g., seller details that could land not only in the invoice but enter a seller database. Even the thought of that brings to mind all the time wasted retracing that mistake, taking away from other work you could be doing.
With high PO data capture accuracy thanks to advanced OCR technology, trained to read text even on damaged or stained documents, the risk of error is significantly smaller. As you’ll read later, the tool even puts work into learning from all your input to avoid future mistakes.
Continually improving tool
As we just mentioned, the big benefit that is connected to AI and Machine Learning solutions is that algorithms, in this case, used for performing the task of identifying and extracting data, have the advantage of what we can call continual self-improvement. If, while extracting data from a purchase order, the OCR does not have high enough certainty of what a particular data field stands for, you don’t need to worry about it being mistaken for another data field or losing track of that mistake by it being brushed under the carpet.
The tool will highlight that particular field and either ask you to verify that the label suggested for this data is correct, or let you correct it yourself. The tool will only ask you about the same data field once, saving your input and learning from it.
Improved efficiency, faster PO processing time and redistributed labor
With automated data extraction in place, the need for time-consuming manual data entry is removed. What’s more, the software significantly reduces order processing time, meaning you and your team benefit from increased productivity, that is, getting your work done much faster. This allows you and your team to redistribute the time saved towards focusing and working on other vital tasks.
Strengthened data management
A purchase order OCR tool can reimagine how you manage large volumes of processable data and purchase order documentation, allowing you to quickly access the information you need.
By keeping your documents in a digital format and all in one place, you are no longer at the risk of completely losing access to important data if the physical copy of the document gets damaged, misplaced, or lost (and you know how it is with not being able to find the one thing you’re looking for).
Data extraction automation software means you can search the purchase order you’re after by name, number, or other information via the search box. It doesn’t really get easier than that.
Improved data consistency
When relying on automation software trained to continually learn and improve with each extraction you perform, it means a consistent inflow of accurate order data. For one, this is important in further procurement processes where purchase order information will be used in generating a corresponding invoice. The data is captured in a consistent and standardized format, resulting in improved quality and coherence. This is an aspect that any AP teams will appreciate as they benefit from improved decision-making and data analysis, key in further procurement steps such as three-way matching procedures and procurement forecasting.
Enhanced process automation and integration with other RPA systems
Procurement is in itself a sum total made up of many smaller but equally important processes. From purchase requisitions to POs to invoices, shipment notes, and three-way matching, each part needs to function well so that the entire workflow can perform in seamless synergy. This is why the Alphamoon automation software benefits firms because it streamlines the processing associated with POs and seamlessly integrates the extracted data into your other existing order processing systems (RPA).
System structurality and scalability
Structure and scalability are important factors to consider when establishing a workflow for processing; they’re one of the benefits that come as a result of Alphamoon’s automatization tool for PO. As we’ve mentioned in the earlier part of the article, an automation tool can benefit businesses at different growth stages.
Start-ups or SMEs can establish a good foundation for processing systems before the number of incoming documents for processing comes with further development of the firm. At the same time, this scalability is also important for a large firm, as processing thousands of POs requires a tool that can meet such demand.
Move towards digitization of processes
It is evident that many sectors, including finance, logistics, insurance, real estate, and healthcare, to name a few, are undergoing a remarkable digital transformation. In day-to-day work, such a blanket term of ‘digitization’ breaks down as the introduction of AI-based tools into all the smaller steps and processes involved in any business.
Automated data extraction software for purchase orders is just one of the ways in which this is reflected in the procurement department of numerous sectors. Therefore, introducing an AI tool into your PO processing workflow benefits the business because it aligns with the global digital transformation trend.
More efficient energy usage
A cloud-based document processing solution can reduce power consumption by 80% compared to manual document processing. This is not just a cost-saving benefit but a significant effort in reducing a firm’s carbon footprint, which is an essential step toward more sustainable and environmentally conscious business operations. We dedicated an entire article to show you just how much of a difference automation can make in the area of environmental consciousness, so instead of trying to summarize it all into just one sentence, here is where you can find it.
So, 9 benefits later, let’s recap. A purchase order processor is the right solution regardless of your firm’s size; it can automate purchase order data entry and integrate with other procurement systems, save time, standardize processes, improve data management, and even help your firm make more environmentally sustainable choices.
What’s more, Alphamoon’s IDP is a no-code tool that can be introduced to your workflow without much hassle or setup necessary, meaning you can get into extracting data from your POs right from the get-go.
Do you have questions or would like to speak to one of our Alphamoon experts?