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The Paperless Supply Chain Comes of Age

Business owners know that over the last several years, everything has moved online. Not just with emails and virtual web conferencing, but even the way we do things like create and manage documents. If you’re hiring new employees, onboarding a new vendor or buying new property, you’ve likely used an e-signature to complete a document.

 The largest provider of this service is DocuSign, a San Francisco-based company that provides electronic signature technology and digital transaction management services for facilitating electronic exchanges of contracts and signed documents. In August of this year, the federal government approved the use of DocuSign, effectively communicating to the masses that e-signature technology is here to stay. This technology is now a “must have” for business leaders, not a “nice to have” like it was just a few years ago. So, what’s coming next in the world of digital transformation?

The digital signature market is expected to grow by more than 30% each year, and that growth will transform more than just the way we sign contracts. Mainly, it will have a profound effect on all aspects of the supply chain: production, distribution, procurement and more. Let me break it down.

From marketing to procurement, digital workflow has a place in just about any area of business. When we take a look at procurement departments within organizations, standardization of contracts is essential. Consistency is a critical element of any workflow. Internally, it provides the framework for a process than can be easily and efficiently replicated across your organization. Externally, it provides a seamless and consistent customer or vendor experience. It also greatly reduces the risk of human error. From brand messaging and service offerings to contract terms and pricing structures, standardizing your contracts and outbound documents eliminates the need to worry about anyone misrepresenting your offers or making promises that your company can’t keep.

Digital signatures provide a secure way to make the process of contracts, agreements, and the myriad of paperwork in the supply chain.

Digital signatures provide a secure way to make the process of contracts, agreements, and the myriad of paperwork in the supply chain.

Neither speed nor accuracy can be achieved without the right document workflow. That requires a template that provides a solid foundation for document generation, a tech stack that makes pulling data from disparate sources easy, and a central location to store each document after it’s been created. A reliable document workflow is important for companies of all sizes, but it’s especially important for the enterprise, where speed and accuracy can save valuable money and time.

Vendor conversations begin well before your first contract is received, and extend far beyond the signature line on your first deal. These supply chain activities represent a crucial turning point in the company and vendor relationship. Getting those initial interactions right not only makes or breaks the initial deal, but also wins or loses you the lifetime value of the opportunity. A workflow process that balances control with flexibility gives your organization an edge that can make a big difference to your long-term bottom line.

So if you haven’t already transitioned to a digital landscape, what are you waiting for? You need to transition from paper-based workflows to digital-first documents. Why is this important? Digital documents are easier to create, edit, share, sign and manage. This allows for streamlined document workflows for things such as templates, integrations with source systems and online document collaborations. And, of course, the implementation of e-signature services. 

Digital document platforms connects systems and data that your teams use every day – CRM, CPQ, ERP, ATS and HCM. By implementing these systems, you can eliminate multiple steps in the document workflow. This means more time back to your teams, and that means enhanced productivity, more resources, and often increased bottom lines. Making your organization more effective and efficient by employing faster and simpler working methods is key.

As technology has improved and become more integrated in every element of our life, especially the workplace, the way businesses create documents has also evolved and improved. Document creation, sharing, signature and storage in a single location reduces “paper” steps. And fewer steps means more time and productivity for teams across the entire supply chain.

1 comment on “The Paperless Supply Chain Comes of Age

  1. MarkSindone
    October 19, 2018

    Every company needs to have an SOP to follow. I don't think they will need to get ISO certified for their processes, but they will learn soon enough if their documentation isn't sufficient or robust enough. Of course there will be regulatory requirements too, but they are accountable for all the information they keep, and don't keep for that matter. When push comes to shove and a crisis arises and their documentation is found to be wanting, they'll learn that lesson quick.

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