There's an old saying: Mind the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. Never a truer word has been spoken than when trying to cut supply chain costs. One measure that trims small costs is the use of electronic signatures, and the savings can really add up.
“There are tremendous applications for e-signatures in both direct and indirect procurement,” said Anu Gardiner, DocuSign's senior director of procurement in an interview with EBN. The company's solution has been used to sign more than 290 million documents in more than 188 countries, the company said.
Often, organizations don't realize the extent of the hidden costs associated with manually shepherding business documents through the necessary review and signature. “As consultants that help organizations quantify the value of technology, we've found enterprises slashing procurement processing costs by up to $50 per document and reducing contract turnaround by as much as 65 days with DocuSign,” Bob Foote, co-founder and managing partner at IntelliCap, a value engineering firm, said in a press release. “That's astounding ROI.”
By moving suppliers along the supply chain to the use of electronic signatures, OEMs can capture a variety of benefits, including:
- The simplification of business processes: E-signature systems allow users to create pre-set routing and approval workflows to keep managed service agreements, requests for proposals, purchase orders, vendor agreements, and other documents moving along the approval cycle.
- Reduction of costs: Eliminate the time and cost associated with printing, faxing, scanning, overnight, and mailing. By creating automatic routing, purchasing agents no longer need to chase down information and signatures.
- Faster contract execution: Contract documents may be routed, signed, and returned online quickly, and users can sign and give input from any device.
- Reduced risk and increased compliance: Automated document signature systems create an audit trail that allows organizations to prove that they are complying internal policies, signing levels and authority, and document retention. In turn, OEMs can reduce risk and liability and demonstrate that they are in compliance with industry compliance demands.
“Having these characteristics in the system speeds up the overall supply chain,” said Gardiner.
Further, being able to track the movements of business transactions enhances overall supply chain security. “Security in the supply chain is top of mind when it comes to component level tracking, even though contract manufacturers and their feeder suppliers may not be thinking about it,” Gardiner explained. “High volume OEMs will be very concerned about security in the supply chain though.”
As organizations start to adopt the use of e-signatures throughout the supply chain, they often discover use cases well beyond the originally intended scope. “All aspects of procurement, whether tactical or strategic, can benefit from this technology,” said Gardiner. “It can be used in a structured way for specific tasks or unstructured ways when something needs a signature. By thinking about the end-to-end process of documents, though, procurement organizations can achieve tremendous ROI.”
Let us know if your purchasing department is still pushing paper or has gone electronic. What's been your experience? Let's discuss in the comments.