JTI’s P2P process is about customer-centricity & technology

Aleksander Hajdas, Lead of JTI’s Procure-to-Pay (P2P) programme, on why P2P is so much more than just integrating procurement with accounts payable

Aleksander Hajdas joined JTI (Japan Tobacco International) as Lead of the Procure-to-Pay (P2P) programme in 2021. His goal is to transform JTI’s ways of working by eliminating complexity and leveraging technology to build new best-in-class processes so its teams can excel. To this end, his key focus has been to encourage procurement and finance teams to closely engage with each other by streamlining end-to-end processes.

The current landscape of P2P at JTI

JTI started its Global Business Services (GBS) journey at the beginning of 2020. Hajdas says: “The whole team was ramped up under pandemic conditions. But now, 3 years after the pandemic took hold, we are already being perceived as a mature organisation with a wide portfolio of services – and our appetite is concerned with both evolving and bringing a world-class experience to our customers. Our value really lies in the knowledge that we’ve gathered into a single, comprehensive stream.”

As one of their first ever transitioned workstreams, P2P is at the very forefront of JTI’s GBS-led transformation. Hajdas says: “We are introducing self-learning tools and building process-mining capabilities. The coming years are going to be quite exciting for us.”

Driving the modernisation of P2P processes

Over the last few years, customer-centricity has emerged as a key metric for the entire P2P industry. “This includes not only the quality of service we offer to our external stakeholders, but also – and maybe most importantly – the experience we provide to our teams,” says Hajdas.

A common misconception concerning customer-focus is that it entails executing on everything that an organisation is asked to do. This was the classical approach to customer-focus. But that has changed. “Now,” says Hajdas, “we endeavour to discover improvements, together with all our partners. As P2P leaders, we ought to educate our customers on how things can be done differently and what excellence really looks like.”

In that regard, Hajdas observes that JTI’s P2P programme inspires the possibility of more complex decisions being made. Opportunities are not being greenlit based entirely on financials: “Non-quantifiable benefits are increasingly more important as we come to appreciate the actual quality of outcomes. We are able to prove that with better quality, comes added value. This approach will eventually lead to efficiencies that might have been otherwise missed.”

How organisations are leveraging technology to gain a competitive advantage in their P2P processes

The way JTI’s P2P programme gathers and leverages data is crucial. Hajdas says: “We all saw poor data quality being recognised as a high risk for countless projects. Enterprises that are able to flip the quality of data to their advantage through leveraging technology will inevitably get ahead. The next step is process automation, which is extremely data-reliant.”

The future of P2P – 2023 and beyond 

For Hajdas, the future of P2P rests unequivocally on further investments in new technologies such as machine-supported processes and insights from data. “However,” he says, “as we build our roadmaps and plan our budgets, I would pay special attention to legislative changes, especially downstream in Accounts Payables.

“Governments are looking to eliminate tax leakages by implementing strict e-invoicing regulations. Navigating between all the different platforms and figuring out how to align our internal requirements with those that are mandated by the authorities will be a challenge. For some countries this will have already materialised this year. For many others, these critical regulatory changes will take effect in 2024.”

Anticipated innovations and trends

When asked which innovations he expects to see emerge in the P2P space in the next year or so, Hajdas replies: “Perhaps not a specific innovation – but an innovative approach to how we invest across procurement and payables is likely.

“We are so used to looking for one-size-fits-all solutions that will solve all of our challenges. However, I think that’s not always the most optimal decision, and sometimes it’s just not possible to deliver on such expectations.”

At present, there are many start-ups which, rather than solving the inevitable cascade of problems, specialise in solving only a very few. On some occasions, a dedicated fix may just be the right approach. 

“If we sign up early enough,” says Hajdas, “we might just get the perfect solution, as start-ups are more flexible in accommodating clients’ needs. However, to maintain all of these integrations would require an increased demand for IT support. Whatever the case may be, I expect the trend in allocating a portion of the budget to smaller-scale companies and start-ups to only get stronger over the coming years.”

Another trend that Hajdas feels will most likely continue is the struggle for talent.

He says: “In the move from transactional organisation to transformation hub, further investment in technology or standardisation is going to trigger an increased demand for the right people with the right skills.

“As we mature in our journey to automate, capacity release should be re-invested in upskilling and retraining the teams. As a consequence, it’s possible that some organisations will choose to outsource extra processes in order to drive additional benefits, particularly if there is not enough scale inhouse.”
 

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