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What is Intake-to-Procure? Definition and Benefits

What is Intake-to-Procure? Definition and Benefits

Procurement intake is much more than just helping employees get the goods and services a company needs. In fact, the process can be a lot more stressful than one might imagine. Between supplier onboarding risk, procurement policy compliance, and rogue spend control, there are a lot of pitfalls finance and procurement departments need to consider. For those who have a headache just thinking about it, intake-to-procure technology might be the solution you’re looking for.

Intake-to-Procure Definition

Intake-to-procure solutions provide a centralized interface for all stakeholders to request, approve, and collaborate on procurement processes. It’s a one-stop shop for all teams, enabling collaborative, cross-functional approval processes for procurement, IT, controllers, security, legal, and executive teams. With intake-to-procure, companies can see through their procurement processes from start to finish.

Finance and procurement departments are stretched thin, and now more than ever, all employees need to be able to view, monitor and approve purchase requests without relying on manual methods like email or Excel. Before intake-to-procure solutions, procurement was a slow and choppy process. Automating the procurement intake process enables all employees to compliantly add vendors and see their requests through to final approval, all while managing risk.

Why Businesses Need Intake-to-Procure Solutions

Many procurement organizations today already have systems such as procure-to-pay or contract lifecycle management in place to handle purchase requests. But these systems often come with usability and adoption challenges, especially for procurement stakeholders. When cross-functional approvals come into the mix, the problem gets even hairier.

Without an intake-to-procure solution, many businesses have a less-than-ideal employee experience for purchasing:

  • Nearly half of businesses require 6 or more cross-functional approvals for a new software or vendor purchase.
  • 32% of finance and accounting professionals say it takes 3 weeks or longer to secure approval for new purchase requests.
  • More than half (57.7%) of respondents make more than 50 new purchase requests for B2B software or services at their company on a monthly basis.
  • 48.4% of surveyed leaders said six or more approvals are required for a new software or vendor purchase in their company.
  • One-third of leaders surveyed (32%) said it takes 3 weeks or longer to receive approval.
  • For roughly 1 in 4 respondents (27.1%), more than 10 approvals are required for a new software or vendor purchase in their company.

Intake-to-procure solutions reduce purchase request cycle times by creating a single front door for procurement intake. They also address risk management requirements by integrating cross-functional systems like GRC and CLM into the approval process, saving time and improving visibility for procurement stakeholders.

Key Features of Intake-to-Procure Solutions

For many companies, procurement tends to focus on compliance. The stakeholder user experience of vendor onboarding and procurement intake tends to fall by the wayside, much to the detriment of the company.

Intake-to-procure melds procurement intake, vendor onboarding, and cross-functional approval processes under one streamlined view. Automation provides tangible metrics so that companies can focus on optimizing procurement.

Employees can track a purchase request from vendor onboarding, through approval, purchase order creation, invoicing, and contract renewal.

Intake-to-procure creates better visibility into procurement. It provides insight for anyone from the C-suite down — finance, IT, security, and legal monitor the process throughout, helping unblock purchase requests while saving companies time and money.  

Zips’ intake-to-procure solution is designed to be the “start button” for a company’s procurement process. Its solution is simple, user-friendly, and effective. It removes the headache from procurement intake, helping companies revolutionize their procurement process to fit their aspirations.

Steps to streamlining your procurement process with intake-to-procure 

Procurement intake is a comprehensive process that includes many repeatable steps. Automated intake-to-procure tools make for smooth and efficient processes.

Implementing an intake-to-procure solution at your company may look something like this:

Step 1: Create an intake form that is dynamic and comprehensive. It should include information like vendor, type of work, desired result, ideal completion dates, budget, contact points, and people available to approve.

Step 2: Design purchase request approval sequence to orchestrate the process to completion.

Step 3: Pull in the proper stakeholders by assigning tasks to different team members. Intake-to-procure automates the process of notifying as many employees as needed.

Step 4: Align the team on any details or questions that might arise so that everyone is on the same page.

Step 5: Confirm the launch of the process and roll out to stakeholders with executive alignment.

Step 6: Monitor intake processes for risk, approvals, and necessary roadblocks. Insert stakeholders to approve or answer questions as necessary.

Step 7: Finalize the process and look at the results. Intake-to-procure can offer detailed reports and summaries to confirm if the request was a success.

Benefits of a seamless procurement intake process 

By unifying the traditional fragmented request and approval processes, procurement intake solutions can help a company improve employee adoption of procurement processes, increase efficiency, reduce supplier risk, and control spend.

  1. Increased employee adoption

Intake-to-procure solutions allow all employees access to the procurement process from a centralized interface. When information is presented in a concise and clear manner, it becomes much more accessible. And having more employees on the platform will result in better oversight.

With an optimized user experience, your procurement team will find themselves capturing more spend. Companies will have better buy-in, giving employees more agency and buy-in for compliance.

  1. Increased operational efficiency

The automated systems within intake-to-procure let procurement teams sit back and know that things are happening behind the scenes. From start to finish, intake-to-procure will monitor and flag issues that may arise. It frees employees up to focus on other needs.

Intake-to-procure ensures companies are running efficiently and speedily. Nearly every aspect of the process happens on one platform – vendor onboarding, approval, oversight, risk management, IT/security checks. This makes for a strong and healthy procurement process.

  1. Mitigates business risk

Along the process, intake-to-procure flags for risky situations. Whether in the early contract stage or near delivery, you can be assured that intake-to-procure is watching over your organization. As more employees have access to the platforms, it also allows for even more oversight of different processes while enabling hybrid procurement structures.

  1. Controls spend

Better efficiency and lower risk through intake-to-procure mean that a company will find better budgetary outcomes. Intake-to-procure solutions provide request routing to preferred vendor options, allowing companies to choose the best fit for their financial goals. The automated processes of intake-to-procure allow for turnkey results.

To learn more about how to enable these benefits, download the “Establishing Frictionless Intake-to-Procure as the core of procurement experience” eBook.

How each department benefits from intake-to-procure


  • Procurement departments struggle with long approval processes, lack of visibility, unnecessary processes, and confused end users. Many employees try to circumvent procurement because it’s easier this way.
  • Intake-to-procure offers one system for procurement — requesters get purchases faster, allowing for quicker delivery and value. It also allows for happier employees who buy in to procurement.
  • Procurement departments can better showcase their value as they are freed up to focus on strategic goals with intake-to-procure.


  • Before intake-to-procure, finance departments lacked visibility and control in procurement. When employees circumvent procurement processes, they wreck budget projections and introduce audit risks.
  • Intake-to-procure keeps all spend under one roof, allowing finance to have proper channels and reporting capability regardless of size, type, or need. With tighter budgets, finance can have better spend management and financial planning.
  • With intake-to-procure, finance can eliminate rogue spend and keep tighter budgets all under control.


  • IT departments are already stretched thin and lack bandwidth. They are especially concerned with the amount of software proliferation. Because of these issues, IT departments often wait to get involved in procurement until after the fact.
  • Intake-to-procure allows IT departments to eliminate shadow IT spend, allowing for better budget outcomes and time management. With oversight into all functions, IT can be involved much earlier in software requests, helping to improve predictability and foresight.


  • Standard manual processes have left data security professionals with no visibility into vendor onboarding workflows. This leads to purchases without approvals and a lack of audit trails.
  • Intake-to-procure provides automated solutions for security that reduces the time spent reviewing questionnaires. Digitalization improves metrics around security and compliance. It streamlines the processes, allowing for time freed up to spend in other security matters.
  • Intake-to-procure empowers security departments to find data and find a strategic value in procurement where they couldn’t before.


  • Legal can often feel like they are only involved when matters face emergency status. Legal departments are often using CLM and GRC tools but are left feeling confused with traditional systems.
  • By looping in legal from the start of procurement intake, legal has adequate time to review documents and eliminates last-minute reviews. Intake-to-procure allows businesses to search for legacy contracts by linking CLM tools. These requests can also have the proper security reviews completed to mitigate risk like a GRC tool would.
  • Intake-to-procure streamlines risk and allows legal to manage vendors and approvals from the start — eliminating the feeling of emergency and urgency that causes headaches.

What procurement KPIs does intake-to-procure impact?

Let’s say procurement has three main KPIs — quality, delivery, and cost-savings. Intake-to-procure can hit all three of these by delivering on some specific KPIs.

Quality KPIs

  • Intake-to-procure monitors vendors from start to finish. It ensures that only approved or qualified vendors are used, leading to stronger supplier relationships.
  • Suppliers are highly monitored and prevented from auto-renewing contracts, allowing for continuous supplier performance assessment.

Delivery KPIs

  • Intake-to-procure vastly improves supplier lead time by automating and quickening vendor approvals.
  • Intake-to-procure improves the end-to-end ordering process, which lowers purchase order cycle time.
  • With oversight from all stakeholders, intake-to-procure ensures there are fewer emergency orders.

Cost-saving KPIs

  • With intake-to-procure automation, the use of preferred vendors allows for supply-base consolidation.
  • Intake-to-procure controls spend under management, allowing for companies to optimize their budgets.
  • More stakeholders will see the effectiveness of procurement and adopt the process, allowing for better ROI.
  • Faster vendor onboarding and approval will allow for more price competition, allowing enterprises to strategize on category makeup.

Adopting intake-to-procure will result in quality, delivery, and cost-saving KPIs that will leave organizations much healthier.

How Zip’s intake-to-procure can help your procurement team

Zip is the world’s leading intake-to-procure solution, providing a single platform for any employee to initiate a purchase or vendor request. Zip’s seamless upstream procurement intake experience guides requesters to preferred suppliers while automatically routing the approval workflow for every new purchase or vendor to the right team, at the right time.

With Zip intake-to-procure, businesses gain full adoption of the procurement process. This leads to clear and timely visibility across all purchases, increasing operational efficiency, mitigating business risk, and controlling spend while dramatically improving the employee experience.

Zip offers one intelligent procurement intake process that acts as the front-end to ERP or procure-to-pay, which reduces redundant vendors. Approvals with Zip are quick – with configurable approval chains built for collaboration on a no-code platform where anyone can change workflows.

Ready to modernize your procurement intake experience? Request a demo so that you can see how Zip addresses your intake-to-procure needs.

Establishing Frictionless Intake-to-Procure as the core of procurement experience

Establishing Frictionless Intake-to-Procure as the core of procurement experience

Master the demands of decentralized purchasing with our new e-book

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Margin Makers is a newsletter for anyone responsible for spending at work. We curate practical guides and original ideas for finance and procurement teams to help them do their jobs better.
Nick Heinzmann
Head of Research at Zip

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