Why AstraZeneca Transformed their Procure-to-Pay Process

The AstraZeneca Discovery Centre, Interior Laboratory (Credit: AstraZeneca)
What are the Benefits to AstraZeneca after Changing their Digital Procure-to-Pay Strategy

UK based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca spends around $14bn annually through their procurement function and changed their digital procure-to-pay (P2P) strategy to adopt a digital transformation that would be fit for the scale of their global operations.

The business was previously working with multiple versions of the same buying platform across its key global markets, in the  UK, USA, Canada, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Japan, Mexico and Brazil. These legacy systems were no longer providing the business with information and connectivity required by their procurement team. 

Because of the multiple systems operating, procurement was not getting a full picture of global purchasing data to optimise costs, finance teams were getting fragmented information about invoicing and technology departments were being asked to support different platform versions in different markets.  

Internal staff were hindered by a poor user experience, which made it challenging to quickly and simply bring in the goods or services they needed, and suppliers were also presented with barriers as they lacked full visibility in the status of their invoices.  


    AstraZeneca, Gaithersburg USA (Credit: AstraZeneca)

    Preparation for AstraZeneca’s digital transformation

    AstraZeneca partnered with KPMG and Coupa to transform their P2P system, and underwent an assessment of readiness to help prepare to implement the transformation.  It helped all parties understand the daily workings of the business, key priorities, costs of the programme and estimated returns on the investment.  The planning helped to establish five core design principles for the project.

    • User experience is paramount to the design
    • Supplier engagement and simplicity is a priority
    • Adopt not adapt- no customisation of best practice technology
    • A single standardised globalcore design
    • Enabling the value of world class procurement

    “This three-year programme demonstrated the value of bringing together the right technical solution, the right systems integrator and a client that had tested its own readiness for deployment of a new buying platform,” said former Chief Procurement Officer at AstraZeneca, John Dickson.  “KPMG, through its Powered Procurement approach, enabled a smooth transition to a Coupa solution that satisfies a more intuitive user experience whilst enabling enhanced data insights to support better commercial decision making.”

    Cambridge Biomedical Campus (Credit: AstraZeneca)

    Detailed planning to aid digital transformation

    KPMG worked with the company to develop a detailed programme plan that took into account how the solution and procurement process is linked to other areas of the business.  A data assessment and cleaning plan was also followed, along with the analysis of buying channels for 20,000 suppliers.  The project team also created a cross-functional governance structure to aid rapid decision making during the implementation.  

    To design the new way of working, 40 design workshops were held with all the stakeholders across the business along with risk assessments. Known pain points in the legacy system were also considered to aid in the adoption rates for the new solution.  

    “AstraZeneca and KPMG have delivered a world-class implementation of Coupa, that has met the business objectives and success metrics defined from the outset of the programme. They have set the bar high for delivering exceptional quality supplier and content enablement, which is some of the best we’ve ever seen. The team’s success was recognised at  - Coupa Inspire, where AstraZeneca received the Spendsetter Award for Business Spend Management (BSM) Transformation,” said Harold Cuppaidge, Customer Value Director at Coupa.

    Key benefits of AstraZeneca’s P2P transformation strategy 

    • Significant cost savings caused by more spend being directed through procurement
    • Over 98% of spend managed compliantly viaCoupa buying channels (compared to 50% in the previous system)
    • IT now has 1 standardised platform to manage (compared to 8 instances of the previous P2P system), with limited customisation or integrations, and a reduced risk profile
    • Improved buying experience for end users
    • Easier invoice submission channels for suppliers
    • 85% of Procure-to-Pay transactions are now fully digital compared to 47.5% in the previous system
    • The requisition to purchase order cycle time has reduced from 3 days to 1.5 days on average
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