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Former Member

Do you know the three ways to plant onions?

If you said sets, transplants, or seeds, you would be an expert. You would also likely know that the longer days of late spring is the time when most onions transition from growing leaves and roots to begin forming bulbs.

Today, we’re in the early stages of fall, and the days are getting shorter. What better time to plant the seeds that shore up your source-to-settle operations?

Just as I learned about onion planting with a little due diligence, you can quickly learn how to optimize your source-to-settle processes, end-to-end, from a recent webinar recording hosted by Shared Services Link: Empowering End to End: Three Ways to Close the Loop in Your Source-to-Settle Process.

In the webinar, I discussed findings from a joint Ariba-Shared Services Link survey on the four ways that companies leak money across the source-to-settle process, and the three actions you can take to stop it.

Data from the survey revealed areas of focus for global organizations looking to move from "outclassed" to "world-class." One key step involves letting automation handle the management of invoice exceptions. Without it, people in procurement and AP spend too much time on transactions, and not enough time on strategic activities that can help improve business performance.

Another area that requires more attention is contract compliance. Of the survey respondents, 51% stated that they require manual effort to systematically reconcile incoming invoices to contracts, while 38% said the process was partially automated. My sense is that the responses relate to some contracts, not all contracts, and that many organizations don’t have a systematic way to enforce most contracts.

So while two seasons will pass before onions begin to form their bulbs, you don’t have to wait and see where you stand relative to your peers in optimizing your source-to-settle operations. With the return on investment spanning many dimensions—from operational cost savings, better management of cash and working capital, and the ability to enforce compliance to contracts—this is a great time to kick off a savings leakage prevention program.