Procurement | Finance | Lab Efficiency

Simplifying R&D Accounting with a Lab Supply Marketplace

How many software tools do you juggle that are supposed to simplify your workflows? A recent report found that “53% of R&D respondents… personally use 5+ unique scientific software applications in their day-to-day work... At larger companies, 40% of IT professionals manage more than 20 unique scientific software applications.” Each new application requires incremental time and focus, as well as comes with its own pain points. Often, tools meant to increase efficiency actually do the opposite, with a major example being procure-to-pay (P2P) platforms. Many labs add P2P in an attempt to streamline and automate the purchasing process but fall short of full automation due to the absence of several key features. One way biotechs and pharma companies have been able to simplify and automate is by integrating their P2P systems with a lab supply marketplace.

How a lab supply marketplace cures the pain of managing multiple PunchOut catalogs

Does your lab manage anywhere from dozens to hundreds of PunchOut catalogs within your P2P system? Do your end users have to navigate through hundreds of clicks to find and order needed products? Are you handling just as many purchase orders (POs) and invoices as before? How manual is your receiving process?

P2P alone does not bring about lab supply consolidation or strategic supplier management benefits. They are powerful platforms for standardizing purchasing and streamlining workflows at scale, but lack the vertical supplier scale needed in the lab supply space.

By contrast, lab supply marketplaces serve as a catch-all PunchOut catalog, where purchasers can build a single cart from millions of different SKUs from thousands of vetted suppliers and receive one consolidated invoice per month. There are many benefits to using a lab supply marketplace as your “final” PunchOut. Here’s how it works:

  • PunchOut catalog consolidation creates a single, streamlined user experience for scientists and a single purchase order for procurement.
  • Utilization of a single catalog provides a central hub in which to compare different supply options for the same product as well as find related or alternative products to maximize choice and transparency.
  • Users don’t have to log in and out of multiple PunchOut catalogs to compare prices and product options. Instead, they have one place to ensure they're getting the best product, for the best price, and with the best shipping time.
  • When users can’t find an item or need to add a brand-new supplier for an item, lab supply marketplaces can find an alternative product or add a new supplier within one or two days. In comparison, it can take months for procurement teams to review, sign, and integrate a new supplier, which not only adds operational workload, but paralyzes experiments.

Carrying many PunchOut catalogs equates to many direct supplier relationships, which increases labor costs and may not fit the longtail needs of many scientists. Prior to integrating a lab supply marketplace, companies should undertake a thorough analysis of the suppliers from which their scientists are ordering to determine which suppliers are strategic, and which can be consolidated. A comprehensive supplier analysis can spotlight the sources of frequent free-text and off-catalog orders. Consolidating spend with a lab supply marketplace unlocks an endless longtail of supply options for scientists.

Must-have lab supply marketplace features

To simplify the P2P experience and increase efficiency, you need to partner with a true lab supply marketplace. Many lab supply industry players are merely software platforms with service teams behind them, but do not function as true lab supply marketplaces. When evaluating lab supply marketplaces for integration into your purchasing process, make sure they have the following features:

  True lab supply marketplace features   Other lab supply marketplaces
✔️ End users have direct access to build a single cart from millions of different SKUs from thousands of vetted suppliers ✖️ Service teams do bulk of lab supply procurement
✔️ Marketplace suppliers are pre-qualified, pre-vetted, and pre-negotiated ✖️ Labs must bring and maintain their own supplier relationships
✔️ Suppliers are onboarded by marketplace customer service team within one or two days, removing burden from procurement or operations teams ✖️ End user must establish, onboard, and integrate with new suppliers
✔️ All purchases are consolidated into one monthly invoice with the lab supply marketplace as vendor of record ✖️ Number of existing suppliers is not consolidated
✔️ Single creditor model enables three-way matching and streamlines accounts payable ✖️ No single creditor model
✔️ Serves as final PunchOut needed to fully automate lab supply spend ✖️ Does not fully automate lab supply spend

How lab supply marketplaces integrate with common accounting software platforms

Another critical lab supply marketplace feature is the ability to easily integrate with the other relevant software tools you are currently utilizing.

ZAGENO offers seamless integrations for multiple P2P/S2P and ERP platforms.* These integrations cover the ability to punch out and add items to a cart, return them to the system as a purchase request, which, when approved, returns to ZAGENO as an approved PO. When items from a PO are shipped, ZAGENO transmits invoices back to the user’s environment. ZAGENO acts as a single remit-to/creditor, simplifying and standardizing accounts payable processes, as well as eliminates the need to upload spreadsheets, parse PDFs, and manually enter data.

On the horizon, ZAGENO will be offering new integrations to enhance the pre-purchase experience. These integrations will help embed more data into ZAGENO, as well as help embed existing workflows to make purchasing and keeping inventory even easier.

While you might not be able to reduce the number of software tools you juggle each day, you can make your life easier by integrating the right lab supply marketplace with your P2P platform. Simplifying your accounting workflow can free up you and your scientists to devote time and energy to mission critical functions. Contact ZAGENO to discover how integrating a lab supply marketplace with your P2P and other platforms can help streamline, automate, and increase efficiency.

*ZAGENO platform integrations

P2P/S2P platform integrations ERP integrations Accounting integrations
SAP Ariba SAP ERP Intuit Quickbooks
Coupa Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sage Intacct
Jaggaer Oracle NetSuite Xero
Tungsten Network Oracle NetSuite
Oracle Business Network
Point Purchasing


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