In today’s fast-paced business environment, an efficient purchase order (PO) processing system is integral to an optimal sales cycle. The quicker a business can process purchase orders, the sooner it can prepare invoice requests for payment to ensure a faster purchasing process and better cash-flow management.
Most enterprises receive purchase orders for goods or services via email attachments. The files mainly come in a digitized or scanned PDF format, so extracting relevant data like item descriptions, quantity, quality, and other specifics can be tricky and time-consuming.
In this blog, we’ll delve into the importance of purchase order processing and learn how automated data extraction can help businesses seamlessly capture data from PDF files. Let’s get started!
Why Is Automated Purchase Order Processing Important?
Purchase orders differ in terms of their design and layout. Even though all purchase orders outline the same information, such as PO number, vendor information, order details, payment terms, delivery date, etc., every business uses a different template, making it difficult for machines to capture the data.
For visual proof, simply open a spreadsheet and search for “purchase order.” You’ll come across a variety of templates that can be edited and personalized to include elements specific to your needs.
An automated data extraction solution allows companies to capture the relevant datasets from different types of purchase orders without manual intervention.
By leveraging an automated solution, businesses can design a seamless purchase order document flow, where unstructured data is captured, transformed, validated, and stored in a database.
How Does It Work?
- Import: Purchase order documents, typically available in a PDF format, are imported from a defined source, which can be a folder or an email server.
- Extract: Important data fields are captured through intelligent document processing and converted into a structured format.
- Verify: Pre-defined data validation rules are applied to identify inaccurate or missing fields to ensure accurate and high-quality data.
- Export: The extracted, transformed, and validated information is loaded to a target destination, typically a data warehouse or an ERP system, for reporting and analysis.
Top Benefits of Automated Purchase Order Processing
Automating PO processing allows businesses to handle order requests from different vendors and seamlessly manage major accounts that provide regular business. In contrast to manual purchase order processing, it offers several key benefits, such as:
By removing manual interventions, finance teams can process purchase orders faster. Automation saves precious business hours that can otherwise be used in other high-value activities to provide a richer customer experience.
For instance, Ciena Corporation, a global telecommunications provider started using an automated solution to extract key data from purchase orders. By switching from manual data entry to the automated solution, the company sped up the processing of sales order transactions by 15x.
Faster purchase order processing offers greater cost savings. Automation eliminates the need for inefficient manual purchase order data extraction, where business users must hand-key purchase order details to the ERP system.
Advanced AI can quickly identify key fields and import all relevant data into data pipelines. This reduces transaction costs severalfold, especially when processing large volumes of files.
Better Data Quality
For transactional data like that in purchase orders, high data quality is paramount to ensure a seamless approval process. Removing human intervention also eliminates the possibility of human errors, such as mistyped information and transposition errors (e.g.,18 vs. 81).
Therefore, the extracted data is highly accurate, which helps avoid potential delays in generating purchase requisition, thereby, improving the sales cycle. Business users can also add pre-defined validation rules to ensure maximum data relevancy.
3 Signs You Need a Purchase Order Automation Solution
Here are some signs that you must consider replacing manual purchase order processing with an automated solution:
- Your business spends too much time looking for information: Your account managers find it difficult to reconcile inventory and invoices when they don’t have timely access to purchase order information.
- The purchase order records contain inaccurate or missing details: Inaccurate purchase order records result in missing and wrong orders, which are hurting your reputation and bottom line.
- Your employees spend most of their time in manual data entry: Your employees spend most hours of the day on tedious and repetitive data entry tasks.
How to Choose the Right Purchase Order Automation Solution?
Once you’ve determined that you need to automate purchase order processing, it’s time to find the right solution. A purchase order automation solution should :
- offer functionalities like data transformations and workflow setup to orchestrate the various data extraction processes across your system.
- be scalable to meet the growing needs of your business. Ideally, you should pick software that is code-free and supports on-premise as well as cloud deployment.
- have data validation capabilities to identify blank fields, missing values, and typo errors ensure data accuracy.
- integrate with your existing business modules like email servers and ERP systems to facilitate seamless data extraction from multiple data sources.
For example, in addition to data extraction from purchase orders, an automated solution may allow you to create a data pipeline to further clean and enrich your extracted data before loading it into your data warehouse or ERP system.
Purchase Order Automation Using Astera ReportMiner
Astera ReportMiner is an enterprise-grade data extraction platform that can help you process large volumes of purchase orders seamlessly. Our zero-code solution combines the power of an enterprise-grade ETL engine and pattern-based extraction templates to enable business users to process complex business documents available in different types of files and formats.
Using our data extraction automation solution, you can create custom data quality rules and validate extracted information to ensure maximum accuracy. Moreover, you can design workflows for repetitive extraction tasks and schedule jobs to run at specific intervals.
Astera ReportMiner in Action
Here’s how Eric, a financial analyst, uses our code-free platform to extract data from purchase orders:
Would you like to experience the power of Astera ReportMiner? Contact our team to schedule a free demo, where our technical team will answer all your questions. We also offer a 14-day free trial, so test-drive our enterprise-grade data management solution and see if it’s the right fit for your organization.