Procurement is the purchase of all goods and services needed for a company to stay sustainable. A procurement management system streamlines the evaluation, selection, and authorization of contracts with all suppliers. It also manages ongoing supplier relationships and the transactional purchasing of goods and services. In essence, a procurement management system is the complete source-to-settle cycle solution for supplier invoice payments.

Having a Procurement Management software to manage the process for you can make all the difference for your business. Here are 7 must-have features of a good Procurement Management system in order to be effective.

Accessibility of data and analytical capability
A procurement management software should support retrieving of data when and where needed. Visibility and access to data are critical for the decision-making purposes.  Report generation of any kind should be on demand. Thus, the system should access, collate and organize data to create reports needed for future forecasting.  

Availability of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for each activity 
A standard operating procedure, or SOP, is a set of step-by-step instructions compiled to carry out complex routine operations. SOP’s aim to achieve efficiency, quality output and uniformity of performance, while reducing miscommunication and failure to comply with company policy. A good Procurement management system will have SOPs documented for all activities.

Smart contract management capabilities
The system should enable customization and viewing capability for each department based on its function and contract type. As an example, auto parts procurement users should have access to create, view and manage auto parts related contractual agreements. Likewise, Insurance users should have access to create, view and manage contracts related to insurance. 

Ensuring compliance with company policy
A procurement management system enables the contacts to be in one centralized location. A good procurement management system should make use of this feature to compare contracts against the set compliance regulation of the company. A good system will flag compliance issues and set up notifications for the expiry of contracts which will enable timely renewal. 

Ability to set delegated authorities
The system should facilitate the internal Key Result Areas (KRA) of individual employees. KRAs refer to the general metrics or parameters which the organization has fixed for a specific role. If the procurement made requires approval from a higher authority than the individual working on it, the system should escalate same to that particular authority level.

Easy sign-on & approval procedure
Key business users should get notifications on approvals that are pending. The system should present notifications in such a manner that they will be able to easily sign on and approve them.

Capability to analyze spending patterns
Detailed analysis of spending helps companies to find new areas of savings that previously went unnoticed.  Another must-have feature of a good procurement management system is that it will enable you to analyze the best deals you made in the past and negotiate better deals in the future.

It is imperative that the company should choose a good procurement management system that best facilitates improvement in the business process. Having a good solution will enable highly sophisticated supplier relationship management which will definitely impact the bottom line positively.