A purchase requisition is a document used as part of the accounting process to initiate a merchandise or supply purchase.

Today’s challenges

A purchase requisition is an internal document sent from employees to a central procurement department, who help to find/vet suppliers and oversee the ordering process. The purchase requisition acts as a control tool to ensure full scrutiny of requests before payment is made. It starts a paper trail which holds everyone accountable. A broad description of the process includes:

  1. Creation of requisition: the team with the requirement fills out a requisition form.
  2. Internal approvals: after approval from the supervisor and head of department, the requisition is routed to the purchasing department.
  3. Purchasing department review and approval: the purchasing team may approve or reject the request after review. In case it is rejected for lack of information, it is sent back to the requesting team for changes.
  4. Purchase order creation: once the purchase requisition is approved, a purchase order is created with specifics such as quantities, types, and prices previously agreed upon.

Many purchase requisition processes are completely manual, relying on printed out forms. As such, these forms are word/excel documents where information needs transcribing across to an ERP system.

How can automation support?

Throughout the lifecycle of the purchase requisition process there are opportunities to save time and effort through the effective use of Robotic Process Automation. When the requisition form is created a bot can be utilised to copy the data across to an ERP.

The great advantage of using RPA is that it can work across systems. Therefore, it can open a document and copy the text across directly, or where a document is hand-written it can use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to scan the document, determine the words and then copy this directly across with a high level of accuracy.

A bot can also be used to identify whether a document has had approval from the appropriate person and, where that is missing, flag the request as incomplete to the purchasing department.

RPA can also be utilised in order to send automatic emails to each of the stakeholders involved to let them know if their request has been approved, rejected or is missing key information.

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