A leading procurement exchange platform provider that offers full procurement exchange solutions for customers in the healthcare industry.
The customer provides a procurement exchange platform for hospitals and suppliers (vendors). They take the purchase orders issued by the hospitals and invoices raised by the suppliers, and transform these documents through their online procurement platform. The platform allows the buyers and suppliers to transact business seamlessly.
- In spite of the available electronic solutions, around 80% of all invoices, remittances and payments continue to be on paper.
- Often 40-60% of purchase orders and invoices come by fax or email and the rest come in paper format.
- Multiple document formats are followed by each hospital or vendor. This required normalization.
- Difficult to track and review invoices raised by multiple vendors.
- Suppliers were unable to get the status of their invoices at the hospital payable’s process.
- Paper documentation causes processes to be inefficient and expensive to both hospitals and suppliers.
- Vendors found it difficult to track early payment discounts due to the lengthy payment processing time.
To tackle the above challenges, the client wanted a cloud-based platform that facilitates safe, seamless, and end-to-end procurement exchange between hospitals & vendors. The requirements included the following:
- Feature to normalize the invoice and purchase order data that come in different formats.
- Provision to validate the details and convert the documents into a standard format.
- Each time a new participant is on-boarded to the system, the normalization process needs to be set up.
- Functionality to convert documents from the standard format to a specific format required for the hospital or the supplier.
- Module for handling exceptions that are specific to the hospital’s workflow. The hospital should be able to review, approve or reject invoices.
- Feature to validate purchase orders against the corresponding invoices.
- Vendors should be able to check the status of their invoices, whenever required.
- Provision to quickly find out the Facility ID/ Vendor ID, Invoice Correction etc. from the documents.
- An interface application for analytics, dashboard and reporting such as Purchase Order Delivery Tracking, Reconciliation, acknowledgement, shipping details etc.
- Feature to set configurable alerts and on-demand alerts.
We developed a cloud-based solution to enhance the procurement platform using IBM Integration Bus. This tool allows business information to flow seamlessly between disparate applications, across multiple hardware and software platforms. It is easy to set and apply rules to the data flowing through the integration hub. The following diagram gives an overview of how the procurement platform functions:
The procurement exchange platform handles invoices, purchase orders, purchase order acknowledgments, Advance Shipping Notifications, Price Catalog, Remittance Advice etc. Additionally, the system supports the following functions:
- Suppliers can submit their invoices in the respective document format that they follow.
- All invoices and purchase orders are converted into a standard format for quick processing and are routed to the respective hospital or supplier.
- Provision to validate invoices against the respective purchase orders. After validation, the documents are converted from the standard format to the desired format, before sending them to the hospital or the supplier.
- Validation process includes checking for duplicates, invoice issue date (age of the invoice), any mismatch between purchase order and invoice etc.
- Option for hospitals to track their purchase orders, review, approve or reject the invoices.
- Seamless data feed into the ERP system of customer
- Both vendors and hospitals gain total transparency on the day-to-day status of all invoices and purchase orders
- Deliver all documents in a consistent format
- Easy to track payment discounts and other privileges on purchase orders
- Considerable drop in the vendor calls inquiring about invoice/ payment status
- Complete automation of invoice and purchase order processing
- Streamlined the approval protocol
- Procedure to handle exceptions that are specific to hospital workflows
- Instant transmission of Purchase Orders
- Option to scan and send invoices in minimal time
Results at a Glance
- 100% capture of existing supplier discounts for early payments
- 80% savings on invoice processing costs
- 100% visibility at both ends of the supply chain